Greyson Chance is back after a two-year break, releasing a bolder, more confident album called “Portraits”
We first discovered the talented, young musician when he was just a 12-year-old boy. He went viral online because of his cover of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.” It was all uphill for him from then on as he got featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that launched his music career.
After working in the industry for six years, he decided to leave music completely and headed back home to Oklahoma to attend University. He said it was creatively exhausting and we understand why.
It’s easy to be disheartened when everyone around you tells you that you’re just ‘the kid who went viral’
Greyson Chance never wanted to be known for just one story. At 18, he left the industry to get away from the pressure and the technicalities that come with being a musician. With everyone telling you what to do, how to act, what to wear, what to sing, you tend to forget who you are and why you’re doing the things you’re doing. And as a teenager who was still discovering himself, Greyson had to take a step back and take a break from his first love to find new things and new people to fall in love with.
“Once I was able to just sit back at my piano again and have an intimate moment with just me and the music, I was able to kinda re-own my craft, and in that way, the album just came out really naturally,” he said.
‘Portraits’ is his latest album that he considers his “debut” because it finally reflects the real him
The album, he states, is an insight into his year in 2018. From experiences of a failed relationship with a boy he thought he was going to marry to the leap of faith that he took when he dropped out of school to make music again.
Greyson also wrote about being only 21 years old; how he was experiencing things for the first time. Like how he finally got the chance to get a little crazy with friends without the worry of being in the public eye.
The full-length album is mixed with slow songs such as “white roses” that showcases Greyson’s undeniable talent on the piano. It’s one of the many songs that will tug at your heartstrings. The songs “yours”, “shut up” and “black on black” are also some of the tracks that easily became crowd-favorites.
The vulnerability of his songs give him power, but he admits that there is a difficulty in releasing stories that are very personal
Creating an album that contains honest lyrics, Greyson Chance reveals to us that there were hesitations in putting some of it in the album. He specifically talked about “seasons nineteen”, which is a reproduced version of the last song he wrote before leaving L.A. to go back to school. It is, according to him, a song that packs an emotional punch. He treated the added verse in the track as help towards the fans, to catch them up on what he has been going through, saying “it’s the most personal that I have ever been on a verse and there’s a lot in there that even when I play it live, I’m kinda emotional about it.”
The lyrics, “that night of 44, thought it was the end. I wish he would love me in the way that I loved him,” hit too close to home for him. He was hesitating on putting it in the album, knowing that he would have to sing it live, but in the end, he just committed and decided to do it. Later on, he claims that “seasons nineteen” is now one of his most important songs.
He has grown up to be an artist who takes creative control on how the pages of his career are written
As an artist that has been in the industry for years, there is a clear difference between where he is now compared to his earlier career. He talks to us about gaining experience on how he makes decisions for himself and his music. He shares that when he was younger, he would just say ‘yes’ and ‘okay’ to what people told him to do because there’s that tendency to get amazed by the glamour of it all. But working in the industry for 10 years, he has finally learned to get things his way.
“You can do it in a nice way,” he explained. “You look people in the eye and say, ‘hey this is what I want. I am an artist and this is my vision.’ People respect that most of the time.”
During the MEG exclusive photoshoot, Greyson was hands-on with everything: from the clothes he was going to wear to how he wanted his hair styled
And in all that time the MEG team spent with him, there was no doubt in our minds that Greyson Chance remains to be one of the most humble and genuine artists we’ve ever encountered.
He collaborated well with our photographer at the shoot, commended the stylists for the looks, and made everyone at the studio feel at ease with his charming conversations. Greyson even had us laughing over his newfound love for McDonald’s hash-browns and his mini-me keychain that a fan gifted him.
He states that his hometown, Oklahoma, plays a huge part in keeping him grounded as an artist
“I just retain a clarity [when I’m] there and I’m just able to sit down and be like ‘okay truly, there are no rules. So what can I do, what am I inspired by?’”
He compares it to living in the cities of Los Angeles and New York where he can get caught in the bubble of things, whereas in Oklahoma, he’s constantly reminded of the simple life he had.
A next album is currently in the works
Already onto his next journey, he talks to us about writing his next album and how he’s been listening to old country music such as George Strait and the classics. He is also taking inspiration from his hometown by going to bars in Oklahoma. Not necessarily to drink, but to observe how his hometown exudes the music. He’s inspired by the way they act, the way they dress, the way they treat their spouses and simply how his people are affected by the music.
Greyson has also been hinting about venturing into string instruments and we just had to get a confirmation!
He excitedly revealed, “Yeah, you will! There’s actually an acoustic version of ‘white roses’ coming out soon where I play the ukelele on it. I’ve been playing around with that a bit. For the next album too, I think I’m going to be playing a bit more with strings, so I’m excited.”
Adding Pride to his books.
Earlier this year, the artist came out publicly through an Instragram post. From then on, he experienced performing at Pride festivals in Detroit, Milwaukee, San Diego, and L.A.
He mentions how crazy lucky enough he was to be home just in time to attend his hometown’s Oklahoma Pride.
No stranger to festivals, Greyson mentions how he has been going to it since he was eight or nine years old. He speaks about how the festivals gave him hope. He remembers attending as a young kid–where only 30 people were there in the first year–and now, that number has evidently grown.
“To think about what the next generation of Americans is going to get to see when you walk around those pride shows and see kids there, it’s so cool because this is what they’re going to know, this is normalized.” He said. “They’re not going to feel different anymore and it really inspired me and I’m very hopeful of where I can see my country moving forward. I just hope it spreads. I hope a place like the Philippines, we can see more of this love.”
Greyson has a story that he aims to tell his fans now:
1. To create a safe space at his shows
The artist states that his first job will always be to get on a stage and create a show for his fans for an hour and a half where they can truly escape their problems. “I really do feel like a servant to our fans and some people in general…Where they can come in the arena, come into the venue and they can feel a sense of nostalgia, a sense of euphoria, a sense of ecstasy. Where they can get away from their lives for a second.”
Greyson achieved that on his recent show at Eastwood. He saw how the Filipino crowd created a rainbow flag by raising up coordinated colored papers. The fan project caught him by surprise and filled him with overwhelming love, he says.
He stopped in the middle of the song to grab the pride flag from the fans and waved it proudly on stage. “I don’t stop a song like that,” he explains. “I don’t do that. I was like, ‘this is so so so cool!’ It truly moved me and to know that we were able to inspire people.”
He is in love with the energy among Filipino fans. He shared a particular meet-and-greet experience during his show last July 28 that made him want to cry. He shared that a fan who lined up to meet him took a breath, looked at him, and said, ‘you’re the first person I’m coming out to.’
These safe spaces are vital to the youth of the LGBTQ+ community and that’s exactly what Greyson wants his shows to be: a safe space.
2. To influence everyone to live out their own individualistic and unique story
In our interview, he spoke about the pressure that is put on the LGBTQ+ youth across the world. The society is at a point where there’s a dominating series of steps that need to be followed in order to fit into the culture of the community, which he does not agree with.
He states, “it says this is how you have to do it, you have to like this show, you have to like this ‘Gaga’ record, you have to wear these clothes, you have to do all these sorts of things. The truth of the matter is that every person’s story is individualistic and unique to them.”
He explains that it’s not always about the culture, it’s about how you have to do for yourself; how you would keep yourself safe and better in the next steps of moving forward.
“I tell the fans all the time: it’s okay to be inspired and be influenced by people, but don’t let it dominate your life. Don’t say ‘this is how it happened for Greyson so that’s how it has to happen for me’.”
3. To constantly remind himself and his fans to give credit on how strong they are
Greyson keeps it frank and acknowledges the difficulty of living through life. However, he also wants to make it a point to remind people that they should give credit to themselves for keeping strong. Life is not easy and it won’t be for a long time but we are to endure and survive it, this what the artist wants to remind everyone.
“I have to remind myself about it all the time. Be confident and be bold in your life and lean on people that love you and recognize you are stronger as well.“
Greyson Chance is not “just that kid” anymore. He continuously grows as an inspiring artist who creates music with a purpose. Writing his own story this time, we’re sure this is just one of the many amazing chapters of his journey.