Greyson Chance: Reborn
Sticking to my brand here at UIC Radio, let’s talk about an artist you should ALL be listening to: Greyson Chance. Greyson is a twenty-two-year-old singer, songwriter, and pianist. Every time I bring him up, my friends always look at me like... wait a second... that name sounds familiar. Well, here’s the thing: you probably saw his cover of Paparazzi by Lady Gaga around 9 years ago. His video went viral and eventually got him to perform on the Ellen show, which was only the beginning for him. As of currently, the video stands with 65 MILLION views!
The thing about Greyson is that he didn’t follow the traditional route that most “discovered” artists go by. Yes, he did immediately go into the music industry to pursue a career. However, being thrown into that lifestyle at 12 years old wasn’t as fun as it sounds. By the age of 18, he recalls being tired and creatively exhausted. The reason his story is different is that instead of staying in the industry that clearly made him unhappy, he decided to go to university back where he grew up. He went to Oklahoma thinking his music career was a done deal and it was for a while. His first year of college just included him being a normal college kid.
It wasn’t until the following year that Greyson got around to playing music again. He recalls thinking it might’ve been because he wasn’t pressured into it like he had been years prior. He eventually got another record deal offered to him and so he decided to give music another shot. His current music career is one that is now run by his own terms, contrary to the one he had when he was 12 years old.
Besides changing the way his music went about, Greyson also had another somewhat major change in his career path: a coming out story. After coming out to his family at the age of 16, he publicly came out to the world at the age of 19 via an Instagram post which he recalls being “definitely overdue”. He decided to come out after a fan DM’d him about how his music has helped him even though Greyson was “straight”. He wrote the post out and sent it out into the world before a flight which left him in the dark for a couple of hours. Now, more than 2 years after his coming out post, he’s thriving more than ever.
After a couple of singles, his most recent album Portraits officially came out March 15th. I can easily say it’s one of my favorite albums of all time. I mean it. NO SKIPS!!! As hard as this was, here are my top 4 songs off Portraits and why:
Shut up is Greyson’s personal story about a boy who he was completely head over heels for. However, with lyrics like “I cannot hold my tongue, you give me much to say. I’m sweating bullets, nervous that you’ll push away”, he expresses being scared that the boy might not feel the same way. It’s not until the other boy kisses him, does he “shut up”. The thing about Portraits is that each song is an individual story about Greyson’s life. Regardless of the details in the lyrics, there’s enough room for the listeners to be able to apply their own stories, and I think that’s beautiful. This story might not apply to me 100%, but I resonate with the feeling which is why it’s one of my favorites.
Seasons Nineteen is a remake of Greyson’s 2017 song Seasons. Coming back around two years later with a new story to tell, Greyson adds in some new lyrics and a different beat to the already beautiful song. Seasons Nineteen tells the story about moving forward in life – like the seasons. With lyrics like “I’m still chasing me, finding who I am. I am 21, feel like I’m over and done” throughout the song, he expresses not being completely sure of who he is. One thing he is sure of though is the fact that he isn’t going try to rewrite his past. His life – and all of ours – should be lived moving forward considering that’s the only part of our lives we could somewhat control. I know I have personally caught myself looking back and obsessing over things that could’ve been and I hate it. It takes time away from my future and my present. It’s relieving to know that others have difficulty looking forward too.
West Texas is a song I hold so so close to my heart for various reasons. To start off, it’s a song dedicated to his mom and how he is the man who he is today because of her. I’m a momma’s girl and I’m not afraid to admit it! Lyrics like in the bridge: “it’s so hard to imagine what I’ll do without you here. As you gaze your eyes towards mine, tell me to wipe away those tears” are what attracts me towards his music.
White Roses are a symbol of true love, or so the people say. I’ve never been one to believe in that but for cases like these, I’m a sucker for symbolism. In this song, Greyson tells the story of a relationship he had where he had to keep secret – whether that was a mutual choice or not. Instances like these are pretty common within LGBTQ+ relationships which obviously sucks. In the music video (and the song), the boy Greyson was in a relationship with, wasn’t publicly out which affected how they acted around each other in public. He sings: “Holding glances, but we’re tongue tied. I’m with my friends, and it’s hard to smile”.
Honorary Mention: Black on Black
Aside from my top 4 from above, Black on Black is the song I mainly to recommend anyone who asks about Greyson and his music. I think it allows listeners who don’t know him – or only knew him when he was younger, to just hear his growth in both style and lyrics.
And hey, if this blog actually makes you a Greyson Chance fan (which it should), you could catch him at the Chicago stop of his Portraits tour: Friday, November 29th at 8pm at the Bottom Lounge. Tickets are only $20!