R&B singer Mario Vazquez, the Bronx-born fan favorite who abruptly walked away from the fourth season of American Idol after making it to the top 12, will be releasing his self-titled debut album Sept. 26. Though rumors circulated that Vazquez abandoned the competition so he wouldn’t have to be tied down to a Simon Cowell Idol-specific recording contract, the singer ended up signing to Idol-friendly Arista Records/J Records, the same label housing Ruben Studdard and Fantasia Barrino. Vazquez’s says he has no regrets about dropping out of the running. “It wasn’t right for me,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I wanted to go in a grittier, edgier direction, but that’s not what they wanted.” The first single off of Vazquez’s album is the R&B-flavored “Gallery” written by Ne-Yo. Before the Idol, Vazquez worked as a backup singer, lending vocals to Michael Jackson’s 2001 album Invincible. He just wrapped up Teen People’s Rock ‘N Shop Mall Tour and is preparing to tour in support of Mario Vazquez, the album.
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