Greyson Chance's entire world changed when he was only 12 years old. After he uploaded a video of himself covering Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi," the vid went crazy viral and has been viewed over 55 million times since its 2010 upload.
Chance was then flown to L.A. and appeared on Ellen DeGeneres's talk show, and she later signed him to her record label ElevenEleven. He released his first album, Hold On 'til the Night, and later the EP Truth Be Told, Part 1. Chance toured with Cody Simpson and Miranda Cosgrove and also went on tour in Asia.
Back in November 2015, the 18-year-old Chance returned to Ellen's show to catch up and play his new song "Afterlife" for her and her audience. Plus, he has a documentary coming out called Greyson Chance "One Chance." His new single "Hit & Run" drops today (February 5) on iTunes, YouTube, and SoundCloud. MTV News brought Chance into our office earlier this week to discuss the single and his upcoming EP, Somewhere Over My Head.
MTV: Obviously, your voice has changed from when you first started out. Have there been any big challenges from puberty making your voice deeper?
Greyson Chance: I think a lot of male singers like to just be like, "Oh, you know, it was no big deal." I’ll be the first one to come out and ... say that it really sucks and it’s not fun. You work through it. I, like, woke up one morning, and it was seriously just like that. It was like one night that it dropped. And you know, you just take your time and keep on singing. You find your way through it. And I liked my old voice back in the day, but I like this one better, so we’re all good.
MTV: What have the reactions been to your voice dropping?
Chance: I was really nervous about these shows [in L.A., Chicago, and New York City] and about the songs in general because I was worried that the fans were sort of going to be like, "Ah, man what happened? We miss all of the old stuff," but the response has just been really overwhelming.
I haven’t played in the States in like three and a half years, so I just did these round of shows and just sort of seeing people coming up again and being like, "Hey, you know like this music’s great, like we're still inspired by you and we still take influence from you." That’s what I do and that’s why I’m an artist, so [it's a] very humbling experience. I haven’t heard anyone say, "Your new voice sucks" yet so ... I'll keep on going and keep on singing.
MTV: You said years ago the moms are just as big of fans, sometimes even more so than their daughters. Is that still the case?
Chance: This is why I love the mom fans and the moms that come to the show because last night [in New York City] we were signing some stuff at Webster Hall after the show, and a mom was with her daughter. Her daughter was probably like 17, and I said, "Did you guys like the show?" And she was like, "Yeah, I loved it."
And I looked to the mom and was like, "Did you like the show?" And she said, "Yeah." And I said, "I'm sorry for the F words. You know, my mom doesn’t like them either" ... and [the mom] goes, "Eh, fuck you." (laughs) So the moms sometimes are even more risqué and even more crazy than the kids.
MTV: Tell me about your single "Hit & Run." What was the inspiration for it?
Chance: "Hit & Run" is an exciting record for me because it was a song that I originally had a lyric idea to say, "Don’t call me something I’m not, I’m a hit and run," so I ... was figuring out what that meant as the song was going on. So it was kind of a story of me ... almost like being mean to someone, saying, "Hey, like, I’m not really sorry I was mean to you because you knew what you were getting into," that sort of thing. So I like to think it's more of an alter-ego song because hopefully I’m not that much of a mean-spirited person.
MTV: What's your favorite song off the EP?
Chance: I would probably say my favorite song off the EP Somewhere Over My Head is probably a record called "More Than Me," which is like this piano ballad. It’s really gospel, the chord phrasings and stuff, which is the music I grew up on.
So it’s basically me saying to someone, "When I wanted more, but you wanted more than me." So I really liked that lyrical 180. It feels like a good, sad, Oklahoma song ... It brings me back to Oklahoma, it brings me back to my 1966 Mustang, just cruising.
MTV: What’s something you really hope fans take away from your EP, and what do you hope they get from you as an artist?
Chance: I started out really unconventional with video; I was a kid from Oklahoma. And I want people to know that I’ve been in music now for six years but I’m still just the same person. I’m just a little taller, voice is a little deeper.
From the EP, I want fans to take that and know that I wrote all the music, that there’s a story behind it. That it’s just not me going into the studio and searching for a hit record. It’s me writing these songs and wanting to portray stories. So I guess I would say I want my fans to know I’m transparent and the Greyson that you see online is the real Greyson.