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How hands-on is Antonio “L.A.” Reid with the artists on Epic Records? In the case of “The X-Factor” finalist Chris Rene, very.

“It’s track by track,” Rene said of the Chairman and CEO of the label’s involvement with his forthcoming album. “It’s like, I’m not going to make a track that I’m not happy with or that I don’t think represents me fully. He wants the same thing.”

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From a technical standpoint, the formula worked because Rene is only a track away from the LP’s completion. The singer believes the album does represent him as a whole, for both better and worse.

“It’s not just all going to be one thing,” Rene said of the song content. “It’s going to be a mixture of all kinds of different things… the highs and the lows.”

Rene has experienced both during his career, which started as a young teen. His path took a detour when he became a trash collector in his hometown of Santa Cruz, California. Then, he battled a drug addiction that landed him in rehab. But just 10 weeks after exiting the program, Rene found himself auditioning for a show that would yield his big break.

“It’s been a trip,” Rene said succinctly. “Going on to ‘The X-Factor,’ coming off, signing with Epic… it’s crazy, it’s a whole another life.”

The singer isn’t trying to exit stage right from the lifestyle anytime soon either – his track “Young Homie” is gaining traction and available on iTunes now, and his almost-finished album should drop before the end of the year.

By the way, Rene plans on keeping his personal lifestyle intact as well. His one-year sobriety anniversary is April 20.

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Jessica called in to “The Ralphie Radio Show” and revealed that it was record exec L.A. Reid that sent her the track “Up and Running”, which also features a cameo from Gym Class Heroes front man Travie McCoy.

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RALPHIE RADIO SHOW EXCLUSIVE: Ne-Yo gets his 2-step on regarding his album, the postponement of its release, and who stood by it despite it being different from his previous works.



Ralphie & Ne-Yo – Syracuse, NY – April 2007.