At 21, Greyson Chance has achieved more than many of us could have hoped for. He entered the spotlight in 2010 when Ellen Degeneres brought him on her show to perform a cover of Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi. Since then, Chance has gone on to release new music, attend college, and now, he’s at the start of a North American tour. I had the opportunity to speak with him about the release of his new album, portraits, and the upcoming tour.
Congrats on the new album, portraits! What were some of your inspirations for the new record?
Thank you so much. When I look back on portraits, I see three main sources of inspiration. The first being transition, or rather, transformation. I had been in university for two years before coming back into music full time. When I left LA I was 18-years-old. I thought it was truly my exit and that I would never come back to the industry again. As we were writing the album, I thought a lot about how I had changed and evolved as a person during those two years, in addition to the certain emotions that had led me back to my craft. The second source of inspiration for portraits was heartbreak. I went through a really hard break-up last year. It was really difficult and I didn’t take care of myself through it; I wrote a lot about that time. Lastly, I was really fixated on the idea of redemption during the months of writing the record. I strived to make a body of work that I felt other artists and my peers could appreciate and respect.
You are in the middle of a North American tour, how has that been going so far? What’s your favorite thing about being on tour?
The tour has been incredible. It’s not really the most exciting answer, but my favorite part about the tour is the show itself. There is so much lead-up to getting on stage, i.e. traveling, rehearsals, load-in, press, etc. All of that can get frustrating at times, but the second that I hit the stage, I feel a certain type of ecstasy and exhilaration. The show is an hour-and-a-half, a part of me wishes it was longer; I love performing it.
What are some of your on tour essentials?
Lots of tea, lots of honey and lots of Emergen-C.
You first came into the music scene around 9 years ago, what was it like growing up in the spotlight?
It certainly had its downfalls, but I have to say that I am quite blessed for my adolescence. Being a musician at such an early age gave me the opportunity to fill a passport by the time I was 14; not a lot of kids from Oklahoma are lucky enough to have that chance. I will say though that I think the whole thing could have gone off the tracks fairly easily. I owe it to my parents that that didn’t happen. They kept me grounded and always reminded me that my blessings were predicated by my job, which was to make good music and put on a good show.
Who are some of the artists that you’ve been listening to lately?
The Japanese House, Donna Missal, Dido, Big Wild and Toro y Moi.
You mentioned on Twitter that portraits isn’t your sophomore album, but your debut. What’d you mean by that?
My first real album wasn’t mine, I didn’t write it and it was essentially created for me by the label and handed over. That does not mean that I reject it, nor do I disrespect it, I just lack a feeling of connectivity toward it. portraits is the first body of work that I retain a full artistic and emotional ownership of. I also feel like it’s my first introduction to the world as a real musician and songwriter. A lot of people have seen my videos, sure, but they haven’t seen this version of myself, the true version of who I am as a young adult and individual.
What made you decide to put a pause on music and pursue your education? Why’d you come back?
My two years at university gave me a larger understanding of my purpose, which I truly do believe is to make music until the day I die; I had lacked that knowledge before. I also think that because there was no more pressure or deadlines to reach, it gave me the freedom to really think about what I wanted to say, and how I wanted to present myself as an artist. Lastly, college life showed me how truly special a musician’s life is. When you grow up touring and performing, that lifestyle is normalized very quickly. Once I stepped away from it, I was able to realize how extraordinary connecting to people through art was and is. I became newly impassioned for that expression.
What got you to where you are (musically and in life)?
My family, Amy Winehouse and Jack Daniels.
Anything else you want to add or say your fans and anyone who’s gonna see this article?
Thank you for sticking around. Thank you for listening to portraits.
Make sure to check out Greyson’s new album, portraits, available on all streaming platforms and check out his newest music video for “yours,” out now. And grab tickets to catch him on tour! You won’t regret it.
Featured Image via Twitter