CMA Awards 2018

Ex-'Idol' Vasquez Readies Solo Debut

Season four "American Idol" contender Mario Vasquez will on Sept. 26 release his self-titled Arista debut. The disc boasts collaborations with Daddy Yankee, Scott Storch and Ne-Yo, among others.

Season four "American Idol" contender Mario Vasquez will on Sept. 26 release his self-titled Arista debut. The disc boasts collaborations with Daddy Yankee, Scott Storch and Ne-Yo, among others.

Lead single "Gallery," co-written by Ne-Yo, is currently No. 32 on the Billboard Pop 100. Describing the album as "a great collage of music," Vasquez tells Billboard.com, "It's everything I love -- a bit of R&B, hip-hop, reggaeton and pop ballads. I feel like people know me as kind of a crooner [or] a soft singer so I wanted to just remind them [of that]. Ne-Yo wrote a beautiful song -- [he] gave me a golden ticket."

Vasquez mysteriously dropped out of "American Idol" last March before the final round, citing family issues. "I feel like I've accomplished something major but I also feel like I have a lot to prove," he says. "With this record, I hope it answers people's questions of why I left, artistically."

The singer's next single will be "Cohiba," named after a brand of Cuban cigars. "There's a bit of innuendo and it's edgier," says Vasquez. "It's just showing another side of Vasquez."