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Chris Rene Releases New EP

The charming Santa Cruz native releases 'I'm Right Here' next week

by Jacob Pierce on Sep 26, 2012

Standing on the sidewalk in downtown Santa Cruz, Chris Rene could not possibly look more fly. The Santa Cruz native, who next week releases his first EP since his third place finish on The X Factor, is sporting a zip-up sweatshirt, leather jacket, chain wallet, an America flag belt buckle and “bullet crystal” necklaces—metal artillery shells with power crystals on the inside.

On his ears rests a pair of dark shades facing out from the back of his head, but he isn’t ready to name his lucky brand just yet.

“I’d tell you, but I’d have to shoot you,” Rene says with a laugh. “I’m trying get approved for a sponsorship.”

Rene is outside the Rittenhouse building, getting ready to perform at a fundraiser for city council candidate Pamela Comstock, who he knows through a mutual friend, and also to support the upcoming CD, I’m Right Here.

When that EP hits stores Tuesday Oct. 2, Rene will leave for the road once more. But touring doesn’t appear to wear down the natural extrovert, who poses in a fan picture about every minute, at all.

The recovering drug addict, now 17 months clean, feeds off the energy of his followers, or “Renelians,” as he calls them. Fans like Oksana Selavri, who drove from Mountain View to see him perform, love their rock star role model’s relentlessly positive themes.

“He’s going to be a major star,” Oksana says. “He just doesn’t know it yet. It just takes time for the universe to align itself with him.”

Selavri, an avid tweeter who moved to the United States from Russia in 1995, says Rene has a “prophecy” to fulfill, as he embarks on a career-long journey to spread his “Love Life” message around the world.

Rene’s connection with his fans is mutual.

“It’s just amazing to have so many great fans that believe me and love the music and love me as a person,” Rene says.

The new EP features “Young Homie,” Rene’s breakout single, which he performed at his X Factor audition just over one year ago, as well as some of his new material, most of which we wrote or co-wrote himself. It also features his hot new single “Trouble,” a poppy ukulele jam, reminiscent of Train’s “Hey Soul Sister” and Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” The summer hit, written by American Idol semi-finalist Adam Lambert, was suggested to Rene by his A&R people.

While he’s in Santa Cruz, there’s a lot of family and friends to catch up with. There’s also a mural of East Cliff he eventually wants tattooed on his back. And there’s even talk of getting a Zoccoli’s sandwich named after him—in the footsteps of James Durbin, who hit the big time with American Idol a few months prior to him. Rene expects to always base himself in Santa Cruz but doesn’t know how much time he’ll actually get to spend here in the long run.

“When I’m out working, doing what I love, I’ll be handling business,” Rene says. “But when I come back, I’ll be back.”