When Chris Rene graced the "The X Factor" stage last season, he had no idea what the future would hold. But he did know two things: He wanted to make music and stay sober. He remembers those audition moments very vividly.
"L.A. Reid said, 'I want you on my team, but you gotta stay straight, man,'" Rene recalled during an interview with CBSNews.com. "What I said to him was: 'I'm right here. I'll always be just right here.'"
And "right here," he stays. Rene left rehab for drug addiction just months before his 2011 "X Factor" try-out. Not only was Reid behind Rene, but Simon Cowell later called him his "personal favorite."
Now less than a year later, Rene is out with his debut album, which he fittingly dubbed "I'm Right Here." For Rene, the message still rings true today.
"It means right now -- from where I started, when the world got a chance, a glimpse of me...When ["X Factor" viewers] were watching and saying, 'He's in recovery. He's been through some stuff. He's a father. He's changing his life.'"
And in the last year and a half, Rene, who has a 4-year-old son, says he's feeling great and remaining "spiritually fit."
The 29-year-old singer/musician said he channeled that positive energy into his debut release on Epic Records, with songs he hopes are both "inspiring" and "entertaining."
New tracks such as "Tidal Wave" and "Chains" speak to some of Rene's personal battles.
"It's a part of my life," Rene said. "It's part of a message I want to share because I've been through it. And I know what it's like, and I know people who are going through it. As they see there's a way out of that darkness -- that if I can do it, anyone can do it."
Rene wrote, or co-wrote, most of the tracks on the album, which also includes "Young Homie," the song he performed during his "X Factor" audition.
"It's just a feeling," Rene said about writing songs for the set. "Music is an emotion. When I pick up the guitar or something, it depends on what's going on in life."
Rene has a lot going on in his life today between the album release this month, a headlining show at The Roxy in Los Angeles and batch of other appearances.
Looking back on the last seven months, Rene says his life has been "insane."
"I'm just making the music. Capturing the moment," he said.