Glass speaks to singer-songwriter Greyson Chance

Boy wonder grows up – Glass speaks to singer-songwriter Greyson Chance who made his debut single 10 years ago at the age of 13 and continues his meteoric success story


A lot changes in a decade. People grow, discover passions, travel the world. Ten years is plenty of time to experience the depths of self-doubt. It’s also just enough time to find a way back to yourself. For 22-year-old Greyson Chance, the 2010s were all of the above and more.

After electrifying the internet (and Ellen Degeneres) with a rendition of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, the young teen singer spent the next year or so signing a major deal with Interscope records, releasing a debut album and guest-starring on a popular Disney show. It wouldn’t be a far stretch to say he lived more in that first year than most do in an entire lifetime.

Greyson Chance. Photograph: Monroe Alvarez

But disillusionment stirred within him as he increasingly felt like just another cog in a self-destructive industry. Eventually, it became too much. He left LA and the life of musician to study history at the University of Tulsa in his home state of Oklahoma. For a brief moment there, it seemed like the spark that the little boy set alight when he sung Bad Romance to more than 65 million viewers on YouTube was fading away quietly.


But it didn’t. Like a magnet, Greyson found himself drawn back to the piano. In 2019, he released his independent LP, Portraits. Equipped with maturity, a new-found energy and the confidence of an adult, Chance returned to music fully prepared to call the shots.

So now, on the backend of an incredible international tour, Greyson Chance talks to Glass about truth, honesty and what the next decade has in store for him.

Greyson Chance. Photography Monroe Alvarez

A massive congratulations on completing the final leg of the Portraits tour. In six months you’ve travelled four continents and played more than one hundred shows, all in front of thousands of people. How do you feel about it? 

Thank you so much. I honestly cannot believe that the tour is over; it is very surreal. I wasn’t too sure of how I was going to feel after closing this chapter of my life, but I am incredibly proud of how far the album has taken me. Had you told me just two years ago that I would be working on what I am now, I would have told you that you are crazy; I feel perfectly placed for the next chapter.

One of the most wonderful aspects about Portraits is how vulnerable and intimate it comes across. Considering how much you prioritise your private life, you’ve struck an amazing balance. When you write, are you constantly conscious of how much of yourself you really lay out on the line?
For me, songwriting has always served as a way to process everything that comes into my life, whether it be positive or negative. In those first immediate moments of a song, there is no conscious moment within me that acknowledges exactly what I am exposing or how vulnerable it is; I just follow my instinct to tell the story to the best of my ability. As a listener, I crave honesty within the music I listen to. It only seems right to deliver that level of truthfulness within my own work.

You’ve often spoken about how limiting the music industry can be to the creative voice of young artists. How has having a support of family and close friends helped you navigate the turbulent waters of this industry?
The only thing that has kept me grounded within myself and my purpose has been my friends and family, and in many ways my life back in Oklahoma. I still have a place in Oklahoma City and I always will.

It reminds me of where I come from and the blessings behind the life that I live. Where I am from, if you are happy doing what you do and you can pay your rent doing it, then you’ve won.

The music industry is a horrible place, always has, always will be, but I’ve learned to focus on my principles and my foundational beliefs within it all. The industry cannot break me at this point, I am confident of that.

Greyson Chance. Photography Monroe Alvarez

I think it would be safe to say that a majority of your fan-base has grown up with you. Have you ever felt pressured to meet their expectations?
Not at all, actually. If anything, I think I have felt encouragement from my fans to be honest and to be happy within my work; they want to see me fulfilled in what I am doing after all of this time.

And that truly is the best part about them. I know that every artist says they love their fans, but I know and understand mine on a deep and personal level. I strive to be the best I can be for them ­– in many ways, they are my rock.

Aside from your growth personally and musically, you’ve had somewhat of style evolution in recent years. Playful, eclectic and unafraid to blend masculinity with feminine notes, where do you draw your fashion inspiration from?
For Portraits, I was very inspired by the 1990s and the power behind a starch piece of cotton and the right piece of denim. There’s an American classicism within that look, which will never lose style; I love it. For this next album cycle, I am exploring rockabilly, but I want to modernise it. I wear what inspires me at the moment, it’s that simple.

You’ve been teasing an upcoming album. Could you talk a bit about the themes and topics you hope to explore?
I have just started to put my finishing touches on the next album. There is not much that I would like to say about it now, besides the fact that I think it correctly portrays my current stage of life. As with Portraits, the album is very honest.

The theme of this issue of Glass Man is “Fresh”. How important is this concept to you and the way you approach your work?
The word itself carries a few synonyms with it, right? Fresh also means clean or new. In relation to my work, I want my music to evolve with me and feel new or grown. I want each album to represent a particular period of my life; I want each album to be a detailed description of what was happening in my personal life during that time.


by Maria Noyen


Published in the spring 2020 issue of Glass – Fresh

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