Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. No one’s life is moving faster than that of 12-year-old YouTube sensation Greyson Chance , who has gone from an unknown middle-schooler to a worldwide sensation in just a few weeks thanks to his masterful viral cover of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.”
On Wednesday (May 26), “American Idol” judge and talk-show queen Ellen DeGeneres revealed that she’s launching a new record label, eleveneleven, and her first signing will be Chance. According to an announcement from her spokesperson, the musical prodigy from Edmond, Oklahoma, will join Ellen on Wednesday’s “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” where just a few weeks ago he got props from Gaga herself for his emotional solo piano cover of her hit single.
Like his 20 million other fans, DeGeneres spotted Chance on YouTube performing the song at a sixth grade music festival (back when it only had 10,000 views) and then invited him to reprise the performance on her May 13 show, when he got a special call from Gaga.
“Greyson … inspired me to start a record label called eleveneleven. He is my first artist and we are making a record together,” said DeGeneres in the announcement. Chance will perform one of his original songs, “Broken Hearts,” on Wednesday’s show. The preteen has already secured one of the most high-profile management teams in the music business in Guy Oseary, Madonna’s manager, and Troy Carter, Gaga’s handler, who have agreed to co-manage the sixth grader.
DeGeneres, an avowed music (and dance) fan who started her first year on the “Idol” panel amid questions about her musical expertise, said she will continue to use her daytime talker as a platform to discover new artists for the label. The move comes at a pivotal time, as Wednesday night’s “Idol” finale marks the final appearance by original panelist and lead judge Simon Cowell, whose long tenure as a music executive and label runner will leave the judges’ table lacking someone with that experience.
On Wednesday’s show, both Chance and DeGeneres will talk about how quickly the record deal and signing have come about. “I’m so excited to have you back,” the host said in the pretaped interview, according to a transcript released as part of the announcement. “This is moving so fast. When I first met you, I said things are going to change. Now [the hits] are over 30 million views. How are you feeling about it all?”
Chance responds, “It’s crazy thinking about 30 million people. It just makes me happy. It really just hasn’t sunken in yet. It has been two weeks and it still hasn’t sunken in yet. It’s awesome.”’
Joining Chance on the show will be his entire school, Cheyenne Middle School, who will appear via live satellite to watch his performance. Ellen will also present Chance with a new Yamaha piano and a $10,000 check for winning her “Ellen’s Wonderful Web of Wonderment” contest.
What do you think of Greyson’s signing by Ellen? Are you looking forward to his debut album?