OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — Greyson Chance rocketed to fame when his 2010 performance of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” at Edmond’s Cheyenne Middle School went viral on YouTube. Within days, Chance was featured on The Ellen Degeneres Show and was regularly appearing on the daily talk show.
“You know, I will say, in the long run, that video changed my entire life,” said Chance, who spoke with this reporter in 2019. “It changed every aspect of my life. I quickly signed my very first contract with Interscope and immediately started to live as a full-time artist. From 12 to 16 years old, I was on the road probably nine months out of the year.”
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But as he got older and the industry’s controlling tendencies grew more constraining, the headliner of this year’s Oklahoma City Pride Alliance Festival, who will perform at 9 p.m. Friday on the Love’s Main Stage at Scissortail Park, began to resist the gold-plated shackles that the music industry places on its performers. He wanted to write his own music, not sing songs crafted by nine different songwriters in a virtual writers’ room.
That did not sit well with Interscope/ElevenEleven, which parted company with Chance when he was only 16 years old.
Before he could even vote, Chance was forced to reevaluate his life goals. He came out to his family, which was a major step toward an artistic honesty that could dovetail with his honesty about himself. He built up a body of work he was proud of by 18, but the music industry had moved on.
Chance enrolled at University of Tulsa, convinced that his shot at success as a singer-songwriter was over. But his musical impulses would not let go. He began to write prolifically, building confidence in his ability as an evocative, provocative voice in pop music.
“I think the most important thing was that there wasn’t any more pressure on me,” Chance said. There was no one calling me to say, ‘Hey where’s that song we really need you to deliver?’ I had told myself that I was done, so there wasn’t that pressure anymore. I was able to go to shows once a week, you know, to listen to music and see what my friends are really listening to — sort of be a normal college kid for once.”
The initial result of that freedom was 2019’s Portraits, led by the masterful single and video for “Shut Up,” which featured a wide range of LGBTQ+ and straight people encountering bliss and disaster in their relationships. Not long before Portraits, Chance came out publicly, and around that same time, he was close to getting married. It did not work out.
“I went through a very terrible heartbreak,” he said. “I don’t want to be melodramatic but, like, wow that actually really fucking sucked.”
And yet, Chance emerged with a trove of honest material. His new EP, Trophies, released Friday, is buoyed by some of his most honest and exciting music to-date, including the instant earworm singles “Holy Feeling” and “Hellboy.” His efforts even resulted in a new record deal, in which his music is licensed to Arista/Sony Music.
“I’m doing everything on my own terms,” he said. “So, anything that you see that has my name on it now. You can make a very good bet that I had my hands on it.”
And … this!
Oklahoma City’s Festival of the Arts concludes this weekend with visual arts, food, and performances by Kat Lock, Talk of the Town Orchestra, Lucas Ross, Stephen Salewon, and Short Dogg. Visit artscouncilokc.com.
Last Updated June 24, 2021, 8:15 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor