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Chris Rene's 'Young Homie' on iTunes: No. 1 in New Zealand, Top 40 in U.S.

By Carla Hay, The X Factor Examiner

The 2012 studio version of Chris Rene’s “Young Homie” has become a Top 40 hit on iTunes in the U.S., while the song has rocketed to No. 1 on iTunes in New Zealand.

The 2012 studio version of “Young Homie” (which was released on iTunes on March 13, 2012) is the first single from Rene’s first album for Epic Records. The album is due out sometime in 2012 on a date to be announced.

Hip-hop artist Rene, 29, signed to Epic after coming in third place on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2011. "The X Factor" U.S. judge Antonio "L.A." Reid (who is chairman/CEO of Epic Records) was Rene's mentor on the show.

Rene performed “Young Homie” (an original song that he wrote) at his “X Factor” audition. His “X Factor” audition clip racked up millions of views on YouTube within its first week, and it has since become the most-watched “X Factor” U.S. audition clip on YouTube.

Rene also performed “Young Homie” on “The X Factor” U.S. Season 1 finale in December 2011, and that live version of the song became a Top 40 hit on iTunes’ Top 100 Songs chart.

As of March 15, 2012, the 2012 studio version of “Young Homie” is No. 38 on iTunes’ Top 100 Songs chart in the U.S., which is similar to how the live “X Factor” version of the song fared on the chart in December 2011.

As previously reported, Rene performed “Young Homie” on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on March 13, 2012 in an episode that was televised on March 14, 2012. Reid was on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to introduce Rene.

Before signing to Epic, Rene released his music independently, including a 2009 album titled "Soul'd Out."

Rene has been recording his first Epic Records album in Los Angeles with producers J.R. Rotem and Marty James.

The "Young Homie" single (produced by Rotem) has already been released to radio, and Rene has been doing a promotional tour of radio stations, mostly on the West Coast.

Rene also filmed a music video for "Young Homie" (directed by Jeremy Rall) in Rene's hometown of Santa Cruz, California. The premiere date for the "Young Homie" video is expected to be sometime in March 2012.

Most “X Factor” artists who get record deals only find success in their native continents, but, as previously reported, New Zealand has been especially supportive of “X Factor” artists from different countries.

So far, “X Factor” artists who have had Top 10 hits in New Zealand in 2012 include Reece Mastin (“X Factor” Australia 2011 winner); One Direction (“X Factor” U.K. 2010 finalist); and Cher Lloyd (“X Factor” U.K. 2010 finalist) featuring Astro (“X Factor” U.S. 2011 finalist). Rebecca Ferguson (“X Factor” U.K. 2010 finalist) has reached the Top 40, but not the Top 10, in New Zealand.

Teen rapper Astro (who came in seventh place on “The X Factor” U.S. in 2011) is the first artist from “The X Factor” U.S. to have a Top 10 hit on the New Zealand singles chart, but he is a featured artist on Lloyd’s “Want U Back” single. Rene could be the first “X Factor” U.S. artist to have a Top 10 hit in New Zealand as the main performer (not featured artist) on a song. Based on the iTunes New Zealand sales for “Young Homie” in its first few days of release, the song will likely debut in the Top 10 on New Zealand’s official single chart when the chart rankings are announced on March 19, 2012.

Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart in the U.S. is based on sales and airplay. So far, the 2012 studio version of “Young Homie” has not debuted on any Billboard chart that tracks airplay, but the iTunes sales for the song could propel it into a Billboard Hot 100 chart debut when the Billboard Hot 100 chart rankings are announced on March 21, 2012.