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From "Young Homie" To His New Album, "I'm Right Here", Out October 2nd
Chris Rene
I hope to take people on a journey, and they get inspired and revved up listening to it, and it makes people feel okay about being themselves. People should take away what they take away from it. - Chris Rene
by Michael Shinafelt
Chris Rene

Four months after nailing his X Factor audition with a show-stopping performance of the self-penned “Young Homie,” Chris Rene released his fiercely personal anthem as a single. Signed to Epic Records, the rapper/singer/songwriter/musician came in third place on "The X Factor" and enamored audiences with his talent and then-recent triumph in overcoming addiction.

Masterfully capturing Rene's struggles with substance abuse and journey to recovery, the song that put him on the map, "Young Homie," now boasts a fatter beat and smoother groove perfectly suited to Rene's inspired fusion of hip-hop and soul-pop.

With his upcoming album, "I'm Right Here," and his current hit single, "Trouble," and legions of fans, Chris is in a good place and happy to be there. Time to check in with Chris Rene.

MS: Congratualtions, Chris. I did a post about your latest single, "Trouble," on my blog and it became the number one post this week.

CR: Oh, fuck yeah!

MS: That blog is a testament to your popularity, since all it was was me posting a photo of you, the lyric video for “Trouble” and alerting people to its release date and wishing them a nice weekend.

CR: That's so funny!

MS: You're popular.

CR: That's a beautiful thing. Honestly, though, I can't wait until everyone hears my CD.

MS: I was listening to "I'm Right Here" today. What is it that draws you to hip-hop/soul-pop?

CR: Well, I love music with a message, music that connects, it's all about inspiration, dude. Being an artist and being able to create basically anything out of nothing, it's like a kid playing with Play-Doh; that's where it all starts. Hip-hop, pop and R&B are my favorite gneres of music.

MS: You look like your taste would be more edgy, you know what I'm saying?

CR: Alright! Yeah! (laughs)

MS: How was being on “The X Factor”?

CR: Man, that was the experience of a lifetime! I was like, yes! My pals are going to see this! All the couches I slept on, all the things I did, which you will hear later because I am writing a book... all the people I've met are going to see me. I've been in jail two times because I made some wrong decisions and all those people are going to see me on fucking TV doing something positive and representing. That was all I needed. I didn't need to make it far, for me it was people seeing me do what I'm goood at.

MS: You were sober for a threeyyear period, then you slipped back; now you have been sober again for a year. What made it stick this time?

CR: A spiritual awakening. Having been in a car crash and realizing I could have left the earth, and leave my son without a father. It made me realize how selfish I was, my reality was nothing matters it was all about what I wanted. All I wanted to do was get high and mess up my life. For me to realize that woke me spiritually. I decided I don't want to be selfish anymore, I want to be a good father, son, brother and go with the gift that God gave me.

MS: You do need something like that, sometimes.

CR: Yeah, we all do, right?

MS: Right. Let's talk about tattoos. I only have three, not as many as you. (laughs)

CR: Tattoos are like Pringles, you just can't have one. (laughs)

MS: Yep! Mine all mean something to me, I'm sure yours do too. I have one for every decade since I turned twenty.

CR: That's rad! Every tattoo I have reprsents a part of life or something that I believe in.

MS: Your tattoos tell your story.

CR: It's true. I like that. It's like writing a song on your body.

MS: How much has LA Reid's support meant to your career?

CR: Everyone always asks me about him. Having his support is invaluable. It's a trip to have someone like him who is in the music business and knows what he is doing and has worked with a lot of major talent. He saw a spark in me, the potential, and I plan to blow him away the end of next year. I have so much more that I can do, that I can't wait to show the world.

MS: From what I've seen, he seems like a really cool person.

CR: He's a great guy.

MS: You write most of your own songs. What inpires that?

CR: Wanting to inspire other people is an inspiration in and of itself. Coming from that place, I can create so much. Inspiration is unlimited; bottom line, it just happens.

MS: Tell everyone, who would be your dream collaboration?

CR: Wiz Khalifa, the rapper. He worked on that new song, “Pay Phone,” with Maroon 5.

MS: Does anyone use pay phones anymore?

CR: That's the whole funny part about it. I've only seen one in a random spot in my hometown. But, Wiz Khalifa is who I would love to collaborate with. Great rapper, great pop artist.

MS: What do you hope people take away from your album, “I'm Right Here”.

CR: I hope to take people on a journey, and they get inspired and revved up listening to it, and it makes people feel okay about being themselves. People should take away what they take away from it. Yeah, that's it! Is that ok?

MS: Inspiration is a fine agenda and does not need to be specified, it's perfect! The best things in life are open for interpretation.

CR: Niiiiiiiice!

MS: You like that, huh? Anything else you think your fans should know about?

CR: Yeah, watch out for me on Ricki Lake coming up in October. Also look out for me on Nickelodeon.

MS: Oh, what are you doing on Nickelodeon?

CR: I'll be on the show, what's the name of it? “Figure It Out,” the show is called “Figure It Out”. I'm looking forward to people seeing that. I had a blast and it's going to be awesome!

MS: Wouldn't it be so cool to get slimed on the “Teen Choice Awards”? I would love it!

CR: Oh man, that would be so great!

Chris is busy! Keep up with him at www.chrisreneofficial.com.

Michael Shinafelt
Michael Shinafelt has covered pop & dance music since he first burst on to the writing scene, interviewing everyone from pop icon Olivia Newton-John to pop artist E.G. Daily. Not to mention the many dance divas (male and female) who he has crossed paths with. Other interviews of note are Pamela Anderson, Heidi Fleiss, as well as cover stories on Margaret Cho and Kathy Griffin. Peace.
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