You can still hear the faint echoes of “Durbin Day” down at the Beach Boardwalk, and here we are again, looking at yet another potential pop star shooting into the stratosphere out of Santa Cruz.
His name is Chris Rene, and he floored judges on the opening episode of the new show “The X Factor” on Wednesday. Rene is a rapper who performed his own song ‘Young Homey,’ getting a standing ovation at the end of the auditions broadcast.
The parallels between Durbin and Rene are striking right out of the gate.
Both are from Santa Cruz.
Both have had significant personal demons to wrestle — Durbin famously dealt with Asperger’s and Tourette’s; while Rene said he was 70 days out of rehab.
Both are fathers of baby boys.
Durbin was the son of a trash collector. Rene has worked with a trash collector.
And both Durbin on “American Idol” and Rene on “X Factor” were saved for last during the first audition show.
Also, both are talents that clearly stand out from the pack.
Yet, here’s another intriguing parallel. We learned that Durbin came from a musical family — his father was a talented jazz bassist and his grandfather was also a musician. It appears that Rene is part of a prolific musical family as well. His sister Gina is a fine R&B singer, who also sings with the band Soulstice, featuring brother Gabriel. And, on top of all that, the Rene siblings’ grandfather was Leon Rene, a songwriter famed for writing the hit “Rockin’ Robin” and “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano.”
Hold on for another ride, Santa Cruz.
Above is Chris Rene’s eye-opening audition on “The X Factor,” plus here’s a song from Gina Rene, plus a great song from Soulstice, and the Jackson 5’s version of Leon Rene’s “Rockin’ Robin.”