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Chris Rene chats with Cherish

Updated: Friday, 06 Apr 2012, 9:45 AM CDT
Published : Friday, 06 Apr 2012, 9:45 AM CDT
Cherish Lombard

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He was a fan favorite on the first season of the X Factor. Twenty-eight year old Chris Rene from Santa Cruz, California knew he was destined to be a musician. His grandfather, Leon Rene, is a famous songwriter and record label owner. His father played piano, which helped Chris fall in love with music at a very young age. Chris says he just watched his dad and learned to play on his own.

Despite the serious R&B pedigree from his family, which he so respected, Chris chose a different musical path. Chris begged his mother to buy him a guitar when he was 12, promising her, he would never put it down. He, his brother, and his best friend started a punk rock band called "Diversion" when Chris was only twelve years old.

But soon Chris' rebellious ways grew beyond punk music and into the drug world, which derailed his band and nearly killed him. Chris says he was using for almost a decade. But the now father of two got clean in 2006 and with a new found sense of clarity started finding inspiration in music other than punk.

It was rap that made him want to pursue a life in music. He'd always enjoyed listening to music by Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, and Billy Joel and he quickly found a love for hip-hop and rap. Blending his favorite musical styles into one, he released his first solo record, Soul'd Out, in 2009.

Shortly after, he fell off the wagon and started using again. But Chris found recovery again as of April 20, 2011 and today works his program daily to stay clean. He auditioned for X Factor and was a finalist. He was signed and continues to work with the man who was his mentor on the talent show, LA Reid. His first single "Young Homie", which will be featured on his upcoming album is available on iTunes.

You can learn more about Chris Renee online at http://www.chrisreneofficial.com/home