Greyson Chance On His Rebranding, The Story Behind “Afterlife”, and the US Election

His third and latest single, “Back on the Wall”, has already garnered more than half a million views on YouTube. But more importantly, Greyson Chance is also back on his quest to slay the pop music industry after a hiatus of five long years.

Greyson rose to prominence when talkshow host Ellen Degeneres discovered his rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” on YouTube. Since then, he has been blessed with a bundle of musical opportunities – including a record deal under Ellen herself. Many may still see him as a baby-faced talent who graced the world with his mellifluous, pre-pubescent voice –through hits like “Waiting Outside the Lines” and “Unfriend You”, but that early version of Greyson no longer exists now.

Just like us, young celebrities do grow up and before we knew it, puberty hit Greyson like a massive truck. Just be mentally prepared when you listen to his new EP, “Somewhere Over My Head”, because his newer and deeper voice makes it sound absolutely nothing like his previous works. Let us also mention how he’s become much taller (currently 1.75m) and hotter (we shall shamelessly rate him an 11 out of 10) over the years.

We caught up with Greyson just before his acoustic performance at MyVillage’s annual “A Rooftop Affair” event with Inch Chua and Darren Espanto. Based on the answers he’s given us, we can also be sure that the little boy we used to remember six years ago has emotionally matured quite a fair bit.

DNM: Congrats on your new EP and also graduating in high school! How is it like juggling school work and career?

Greyson: Thank you, high school is a big one for me indeed! It was a little hard but what was good about it was when I started taking online classes since I was 12 or 13, when I got my first record deal. It was almost nice to have a bit of a break from music sometimes, escaping to my hotel room and be like “hey guys, I got to write a paper about something weird”. I mean, it was hard at some points. There were times when I was really tired but I had to do my calculus homework, but I got through it and I graduated and everything is all right!

DNM: Were you worried that you couldn’t make a proper comeback after taking a break for so long?

Greyson: I was definitely worried, I think I took a year or two off from music because I had some business things going on in the industry that I had to deal with. At that time, it was really bad for me. But then after looking back, it made me fall in love with music all over again in a whole new different way. So I was a bit worried, but a lot of this EP was me proving to people that I could come up with another piece of music.

I didn’t have to be this kid and sing these crazy high notes anymore. It seems that folks are liking it so I’m going to sleep happy.

IMG_8503DNM: Your new sound is more electronic as compared to the tunes you sang back in 2010, what made you decide to change into this direction?

Greyson: I think the EP is just the sound that I like now, and I think that changes as I get older and I listen to more things. This EP is just what I really wanted to hear at that time and what’s cool about it was that my voice is a bit deeper now with a larger range to work with. So I think the EP is just the music I want to create based on what I heard and the songs just gel really well with everything that is going on.

DNM: Who were your influences when you were creating “Somewhere Over My Head”?

Greyson: Aw man, that’s so tough let me think for a while! So it changes a lot for me, I like to change genres a lot. For example, in summer back home in Oklahoma, I just want to hear Willie Nelson playing the guitar. When I was growing up, my dad used to play a lot of Ray Charles records, which inspire me very much. Nowadays, I listen to Sam Smith. He’s such a massive inspiration. Lastly, M83’s past records were great because they tell really great stories (through their songs).

DNM: Do you plan to collaborate with artists like Sam Smith then?

Greyson: I would love that, he’s such a role model in the way he uses his voice more than some people might do in the industry nowadays. So I really want to be like that and I’d love to collaborate with him. I think he’s pretty busy though, so maybe we’ll have to wait. /laughs/

IMG_8501DNM: Let’s bring in your first single since your comeback, “Afterlife”! Do you believe that any kind of afterlife exists?

Greyson: Oh yeah, for sure I do! I’m a Christian, I was born and raised in church so I definitely believe in the afterlife. But this song in particular, at that time when I was writing it, I thought I was going to lose a friend to suicide. It just seemed like he was going through a really bad path and so the lyric “but you wanted to go higher, take a chance to explode, thought I was more than the afterlife” was kind of telling the friend that “hey, I thought we were doing good and I thought everything we had was better than whatever that was at the bad side”.

But anyway, yeah I do believe in the afterlife. If there’s isn’t one, then that sucks because heaven seems really cool.

DNM: How is that friend of yours coping now? Is he in a better state?

Greyson: Yeah, he’s good! He’s a close friend of my sister and I. We grew up together and he’s like a brother. I’m glad he’s good now, I haven’t told him that the song was about him though.

DNM: Now that you have a really huge fan base in Singapore and all around the world, are there any weird fan experiences you had?

Greyson: /laughs/ I’ve been bitten before, I think was by accident I hope. If it was intentional, it would be really weird! Basically, we were in the Philippines walking through a huge crowd and I just felt a sharp pain at my arm. I looked down and found teeth marks and some blood! That was super weird. But besides that, everyone else has been super sweet. Everyone in Singapore is so f***king nice, so so nice.

DNM: Ellen has been your mentor since she discovered your Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” cover on Youtube, does she like the new music that you’ve put out?

Greyson: She’s been super supportive about the project since day one. We went back on the show in November 2015 and I went on to perform “Afterlife” and she loved the EP! When she heard it and gave me a seal of approval, which meant a lot to me. So she’s been very incredible these past six years.

DNM: What is the biggest advice that she’s ever given you?

Greyson: She gave me the same advice as Gaga gave to me, which was to be authentic, be yourself and don’t be something that you’re not. I’ve taken it to heart because I can try to be like other artists, but I know that I’m really good at being me. So I should always just try to be me. I encourage everyone to do that.

IMG_8502DNM: We agree! So do you have any celebrity crushes?

Greyson: Um, no I like normal people. /laughs/ I did a radio interview just yesterday and the celebrity crushes I said were Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Jennifer Lawrence! And then they asked “why Obama” and I said “because he’s really dope”. If Barack and Michelle asked me to hang out, I’ll be like “I’m gonna hang out with the Obamas, hell yeah.”

DNM: Well if you could meet Obama, what would you tell him?

Greyson: I met him at the White House before once and I said “hello” and then I was shaking with nervous laughter. If I could see him again, I’ll thank him for what he has done and ask if he can stay in office longer because that would be really dope.

DNM: Regarding the next presidential election, who will you be supporting?

Greyson: Hillary Clinton, it’s no surprise because I’ve always been a Democrat. I don’t really like talking about politics that much because I think everyone should make their own decisions but I told all my fans in America to vote because it’s so important that you vote for someone that resonates with your views and you support them – as long as it’s not Donald Trump!


Listen to “Somewhere Over My Head” on Spotify here. Purchase the album on iTunes here.

Find Greyson Chance online: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Website

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