He's always loved the limelight and spent his formative years with all of New Zealand watching him.

But the former prime minister's son says he wants to be make a name for himself as a DJ or music producer, instead of just being known as "John Key's son".

"From a young age I was always like 'I want to be on stage', you know 'I want to be a pop star'," Max Key told Newshub.

"And then I sadly realised I couldn't sing very well and then one day I started DJ-ing and I was like 'that's actually a way I could do this'.


"At the moment when you search 'Max Key' it comes up with 'John Key's son' in the little [bio about] who I am. And so the day it changes to DJ or music producer is going to be pretty exciting I think."

The 21-year-old, who released his debut track Paradise last year and dropped his second single All The Way two weeks ago, says he'll begin a country-wide tour tomorrow.

He said he hoped the free gigs would give him an opportunity to prove himself as an artist.

"I think people should give me and my music a chance and take it for what it is not who I am. They can hate me and like the music - that's all that I care about."

Max's dad may have spent more than eight years working in New Zealand's biggest job, but the university student has his own big dreams - to be bigger than pop superstar Justin Bieber.

"It's the goal, you've got to reach for the top. Bieber - I think he's the perfect example. He made some mistakes when he was young. I've done the same thing being in the public eye my whole life," he told Newshub anchor Samantha Hayes.

"I want to be touring the world, [make] more tracks. I want to hit the Billboard top 100 one day, hopefully with this one [All The Way] even."

Making it big would be "crazy", Max said.

"I don't know how I'd describe it. It'd be awesome. I mean touring the world, selling out stadiums - it wouldn't really get much better than that."

Although Max's Instagram page features scores of photos of him on luxury holidays, he insists his life isn't all fun and games.

"I've grown up with my parents saying you've got to work, you've got to make your own money," he said.

Speaking candidly about the online bullying and death threats he's received from some social media users, Max said he was unfazed by the negative attention he sometimes cops.

"If 100,000 people know who you are and 1 per cent hate you, you're going to have a certain amount of people who really just don't like you. I don't think there are actually that many cold-blooded killers that are actually going to come out. I wouldn't say I'm worried by it now."

He'll soon graduate from the University of Auckland with a double degree in commerce and property, but Max says working in an office is his backup plan, in case music doesn't work out.

He also emphasises that his wealthy father hasn't bankrolled his music carer.

"He hasn't given me a dollar towards it all," Max said.

"It's all self funded. I took out some money, I got a loan for my last [music video] and I've worked to pay all that back."

Growing up with his dad as Prime Minister was tough, Max said.

"Every since I was a little kid I was like 'Can you come home more? I want to hang out. I want you to come to my baseball game'."

But the former pupil of the exclusive King's College said when his dad finally told him he was going to quit he told him not to do so just for him and sister Stephie.

"My point to him was simply you've been there for eight years, I'm finishing uni, I'm moving on with my life, you don't have to step down for us anymore."

When asked if he had any regrets Max said he didn't.

However, when Samantha Hayes asked him about the Snapchat video, of him yelling "real men ride women" to a cyclist, which went viral for the all the wrong reasons he said he wasn't proud of that.

"I think that was probably my worst. I mean on second thought that was probably dumb. I think I just genuinely made a mistake and I've definitely learnt from it. I'm sorry to whoever I offended."