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Rene in 2012
|Birth name||Christopher René|
December 25, 1982 |
Santa Cruz, California, United States
|Genres||R&B, hip hop, pop, rock|
|Occupation(s)||Singer-songwriter, musician, producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, piano, guitar, bass, drums|
|Associated acts||Avril Lavigne, The X Factor U.S. 2011 finalists|
Christopher "Chris" Rene (previously René; born December 25, 1982) is an American singer-songwriter, musician and producer. He had been in a band called Diversion and also had a solo career, including the album Soul'd Out. Chris auditioned for the first season of The X Factor USA with one of his original compositions "Young Homie" and was one of the finalists during season one, with L.A. Reid as his mentor. He finished third overall in the competition, behind winner Melanie Amaro and runner-up Josh Krajcik. He is most popular in New Zealand, with his single "Young Homie" reaching number one in the New Zealand charts.
Christopher Rene was born to Joan René (née Sampson) and Rafael Leon "Googie" René. His father was a songwriter and jazz pianist in the 1950s and 1960s, and he has two brothers, Mike and Gabriel, and a sister, Gina. Gina is a singer featured on the Mean Girls and Step Up soundtracks, Gabriel is a record producer, and both are members of an electronica group called Soulstice. Chris' ethnicity is Creole, German, African-American, Native-American, and Swiss.
Prior to applying for The X Factor, Rene worked hauling trash in Santa Cruz, where he currently lives. A heavily tattooed man, he has a tattoo that reads "Believe" on his arm, and the tattoos "Love" and "Life" on his fingers. Rene says, "I've been influenced by every kind of music you can think of, from Mozart to Led Zeppelin to Outkast. I love Al Green, I love punk rock--just anything that's got that crazy passion."
Diversion was Rene's first musical alliance; an alternative pop band based in Soquel, California (1994–2002) composed of Tas Szemeredi (vox/bass), Chris Rene (guitar/vox), and Mike Rene (drums). They were only 12 or 13 years old when they formed the band, but still managed to perform at well known venues such as the Red Room. Diversion was one of the young alternative pop bands in Santa Cruz.
Diversion released a self-titled CD, Diversion, in 2000. The band recorded some more tracks for a second album, but they broke up in early 2005 without being able to finish it.
2003-2009: Solo career
The band continued working on music for their second album until 2005, but never saw the project through. After split-up of the band, Chris Rene began writing and recording music as an individual. He continued to work as a solo artist and in 2009, released the album Soul'd Out on an independent label.
2011: The X Factor
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On September 21, 2011, Rene auditioned by singing one of his original songs entitled "Young Homie" getting a standing ovation from the audience and four "yeses" from the judges. Judge Simon Cowell said of his audition "...always my favorite feeling in the world...is when I sit in this chair and I meet a star for the first time". Cowell was not the only judge to praise Rene; L.A Reid stated, "I've worked with some of the greatest hip-hop artists, from Jay-Z to Kanye West, and all of my boys, they would be proud of me today to tell you that you are the truth." During the competition, he performed two of his original compositions (lyrics and music). They were "Young Homie" (during auditions, week 5 of the live shows and his performance in the final) and "Where Do We Go from Here" (in week 7 of the live shows, on December 7, 2011). He also sang a mix of "Let It Be"/"Young Homie" on November 22, 2011 in Week 5 of the live shows of the series, and also in the Final of the show.
Performances on The X Factor
|Performance||Theme||Song choice||Original artist||Order||Result|
|Audition||Free choice||"Young Homie" (original composition)||Chris Rene||N/A||Through to Bootcamp|
|Bootcamp 1||Judge's choice||"Sexual Healing"||Marvin Gaye||Advanced|
|Bootcamp 2||Judge's choice||"What's Going On"||Advanced|
|Bootcamp 3||Auditioner's choice||"Every Breath You Take"||The Police||Through to judges' houses|
|Judges' houses||Solo||"Everyday People"||Sly and the Family Stone||Through to live shows|
|Week 1||N/A||"Love Don't Live Here Anymore" ||Rose Royce||2||Saved by L.A. Reid|
|Week 2||Judges' choice||"Superstar" ||Delaney & Bonnie||2||Safe (7th)|
|Week 3||Songs from movies||"Gangsta's Paradise" ||Coolio/L.V.; Dangerous Minds||10||Safe (7th)|
|Week 4||Rock||"No Woman, No Cry"/"Everythings's Gonna Be Alright"||Bob Marley & The Wailers/Sweetbox||3||Safe (5th)|
|Week 5||Giving Thanks||"Let It Be"/"Young Homie"||The Beatles/Chris Rene||4||Safe (5th)|
|Week 6||Michael Jackson||"I'll Be There"||The Jackson 5||6||Safe (3rd)|
|Week 7||Dance Music Hits||"Live Your Life||T.I./Rihanna||5||Safe (2nd)|
|"Save Me" songs||"Where Do We Go from Here" (original composition)||Chris Rene||10|
|Week 8||Pepsi Challenge songs||"Fly"||Sugar Ray||2||Safe (2nd)|
|"Get Me to the Final" songs
(no specific theme)
|"No One" ||Alicia Keys||6|
|Final||Duet with invited guest||"Complicated" ||Avril Lavigne||2||Third place (3rd)|
|Audition song||"Young Homie" (original composition)||Chris Rene||5|
|Christmas songs||"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"||Judy Garland||2|
2012–present: After The X Factor
L.A. Reid has confirmed that Rene has started recording music for a post-The X Factor album.
On January 17, 2012, it was confirmed that Rene has signed with a joint venture between Syco and Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. Rene has re-recorded his original song "Young Homie", it was made available on iTunes on March 13, 2012.
Rene shot the music video for the song on February 16, 2012 in his hometown Santa Cruz, California and it was released on YouTube and Vevo on March 20, 2012. The song is confirmed to be the lead single of his debut album.
On May 22, 2012 Rene performed "Young Homie" at the first Q102 Springle Ball 2012 concert.
Rene is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, who revealed he had just been out of rehab at Janus Rehabilitation Center of Santa Cruz, and had been clean for just ten weeks before taking part in The X Factor auditions. His song "Young Homie" is "about learning how to be a grown-up," says Rene. "When you're young, you feel like there's no limit, no consequences to your actions. So it's me talking to my younger self and to all the young brothers out there, telling them that life's too beautiful to live like that." While the song contains a heavy subject matter, it is reflective of Rene's personal life. Rene plays piano, guitar, bass, drums, among others. He began writing songs and playing guitar at age 12, teaching himself the pentatonic scale and beyond.
Rene has a son, Ryan (born August 30, 2008), whom he fathered with his longtime girlfriend Melissa Sheree Stansberry. He also has another son named Elijah. For the first two years of Elijah's life, Rene didn't know about him. The child is in foster care, but was told Rene is his biological father. Rene talks to both of his sons everyday and sees them when he is home in Santa Cruz.
Rene is the grandson of Leon René, a famous composer of R&B and rock and roll songs in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s and a founder of a number of record labels including "Class" and "Rendezvous Record Company". He is also famous for writing "Rockin' Robin", a hit for Bobby Day and for Michael Jackson.
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- "LsstFm: Chris Rene biography". Last.fm. 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
- "Chris Rene Q&A: from Young Homie to superstar". TheStarScoop.com. 2012-04-11.
- "Digital Spy: 'X Factor' USA Chris Rene to release audition song 'Young Homie'?". Digitalspy.ca. 2011-11-23. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
- "The X Factor' USA Top 17 perform - Live Blog". The X Factor. Digital Spy. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
- on 10/26/2011 (2011-10-26). "The 12 Finalists Perform For Your Votes". Thexfactorusa.com. Retrieved 2011-11-16.
- on 11/04/2011. "Lights, Camera, Action...It’s Movie Night!". Thexfactorusa.com. Retrieved 2011-11-16.
- "Recap: Who Sang Their Way Into The Finale?". Thexfactorusa.com. 2011-12-15. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
- "Recap: The Finalists Compete For The X Factor Crown!". Thexfactorusa.com. 2011-12-22. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
- "Digital Spy: 'X Factor' runner up Chris Rene signs record deal with Epic -- EXCLUSIVE". music-mix.ew.com. 2012-01-17. Retrieved 2012-01-17.
- "Amazon.com: Young Homie: Chris Rene: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- "Chris Rene: I'm Right Here". Amazon. October 2, 2012.
- "Chris Rene says he'd use 'The X Factor' prize money to create rehab center". OnTheRedCarpet. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
- "''Daily Mail'': What a week! X Factor USA singer Chris Rene reunites with his long-lost son AND becomes a YouTube sensation". London: Dailymail.co.uk. 2011-09-26. Retrieved 2011-12-21.