Christopher Michael is desperate to get his story out, because he wants to make sure nobody else has to live it.
"My story can actually really help somebody who's going through it and doesn't feel like they can, because I remember ... I used to want to check out," Michael said.
The 33-year-old burgeoning R&B singer is about to drop his first single "Disease," with album "Trust Da Struggle" to come between Sept. 18 and 23, when his fourth child is expected.
Michael said he had a rough childhood with strained family relations, and was a target of bullying. That led to gang life and drug use.
His single, "Disease," at first sounds like a song about spurned love, but a closer listen reveals it's about his "mistress" -- meth.
"It was to the point where I looked bad -- it wasn't me," he said.
Michael is in a 12-step program and that keeps him clean, he said. But before that, he spent about 10 years in and out of prison on mostly drug- related charges, he said.
"When I was in prison, music was the only thing that kept me sane," he said, adding he would make a beat by thumping the wall and coming up with lyrics as he went.
Michael has lived through a number of reinventions, from professional rollerblader to model to account manager. He makes a living now by picking up odd jobs and freelancing in his music career, he said.
The singer has played some Modesto shows and he's working with musicians in Livingston, Modesto and Los Angeles. He said he gets inspiration from artists like D'Angelo, Raphael Saadiq and Tupac Shakur.
Michael said Los Banos was supportive of him in his days on the rollerblading circuit, and he hopes to find that support thrown behind his music.
"I need my town to get behind me," he said. "They love me here.
"I could be the mayor of Los Banos someday," he said.
To see the video, search "Christopher Michael Disease" on YouTube or go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=FisY7pfDp3A.
He said the single and album will also be available on iTunes.
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.