Many remember Greyson Chance as the precocious middle-school marvel who wowed the Internet with his talent-show interpretation of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” — a video that quickly erupted into a YouTube phenomenon, earning the then 13-year-old artist with a record deal (and a lot of love from Ellen Degeneres). But the onset of Greyson’s viral fame is just the beginning of his story.
“When you start off young in the industry, it’s really hard to prove yourself,” says the now 18-year old, six-foot-one baritone. “A lot of people are just like, ‘Oh, you’re just the pop kid. That’s cool, [but] you don’t have a voice.’ I want people to know I do have a voice.”
Five years after his initial rise to international fame, Chance has re-emerged as an independent artist with a set of thoughtful new tunes that reflect a matured perspective on music, life and love. Chance recently debuted songs from his upcoming EP, Somewhere Over My Head, during a run of intimate shows in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Billboard caught up with Chance during his stay at The Patch in Brooklyn (one of three houses established by SOUR PATCH KIDS to support touring artists), where he performed his latest single “Hit & Run” and discussed his sonic evolution.
“I think my writing is more mature because I’m a bit more mature,” says Chance of his new music. “It’s more honest. I really wanted to bring a lot of personal experience and narrative into this EP. That’s the fun thing about music, you get to live out your life and then go to the piano and drag it into song form.”
Watch the video above to see Greyson discuss his wild ride from viral sensation indie artist and to see him take the stage at New York’s Webster Hall during his recent tour.