Who is Greyson Chance?

Six years ago, he was the 12-year-old kid with the big voice who got famous when a YouTube video of him singing Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi went viral online. Now Chance – who turns 18 in August – is ready for another, well, chance at stardom, but this time, without the help of the Internet fame machine. He will be in Malaysia to promote the release of his latest EP Somewhere Over My Head, which he described as his reintroduction to the music scene.

“It reflects how far I’ve come since 2010,” he said during a phone interview from Los Angeles. In the meantime, here’s a list of 50 things about the singer that you may or may not know.

Greyson Chance At Menara Star showcase

Chance will be dropping by at Menara Star in Petaling Jaya, Selangor on June 21 for a mini showcase in conjunction with the Star Media Group’s 45th anniversary celebrations, and we’re giving readers a, er, chance to score tickets to the show.

There are 45 pairs of passes up for grabs – to find out how to get them, visit contests.thestar.com.my/greysonchance.

Greyson Chance performing in Kuala Lumpur in 2011. Photo: The Star

Greyson Chance performing in Kuala Lumpur in 2011. Photo: The Star

1. Chance was born on Aug 16, 1997 in Wichita Falls, Texas, but grew up in Edmond, Oklahoma.

2. He is the youngest of three siblings. His sister Alexa and brother Tanner are both musicians as well.

3. Chance began playing the piano at age 8, and carried on lessons for three years. He can also play the ukelele.

4. The recording of Chance performing Paparazzi while playing the piano at his elementary school’s music festival was first posted on his YouTube account (greyson97) on April 28, 2010.

5. Views were initially stagnant for two weeks, and Chance told Star2 that he had not expected the three-minute recording to create any sort of buzz.

6. It was his brother Tanner who wrote to television personality Ellen DeGeneres and suggested that she watch the Paparazzi cover video. That’s how DeGeneres first came to see the video.

7. At that time, the video only had about 10,000 views. That changed when DeGeneres shared a link to the video on her Twitter account (@TheEllenShow).

8. DeGeneres was not the only famous fan. American radio personality Ryan Seacreast tweeted: “u cant really go wrong singing @ladygaga with a @justinbieber haircut”. Cue various media publications calling Chance the next Justin Bieber (More on the so-called rivalry between Chance and Bieber later).

9. Chance made his first appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on May 13, 2010. At that time, the video already had eight million views.

10. During the show, he told DeGeneres that he has never had any singing lessons.

11. Why a Lady Gaga song? Chance is a huge Little Monster. “She’s probably my number one inspiration. She takes her individuality, and she takes the amazing talent that she has and she makes just great songs that are catchy and they make you want to dance and maybe throw out some Ellen moves,” he told DeGeneres.

12. The biggest surprise for Chance while taping the show was a phone call from Mother Monster herself. The pop singer congratulated Chance on his newfound fame and advised him not to be nervous about the show, saying. “You already won over everybody’s hearts.” She also told him to “Be focused and stay away from girls.”

13. Speaking of girls, Chance, who had written two songs at the time, told DeGeneres that one of them (Broken Hearts) was about two girls who well, broke his heart. DeGeneres quipped: “Look what’s happening to you now. Now they’re sorry!”

14. After his performance was broadcasted on television, more celebrities took notice, including Ashton Kutcher and American Idol 2008 runner-up David Archuleta.

15. After all the extensive media coverage, Chance finally set up his own official Twitter account (@greysonchance) on May 15, 2010. His first tweet was: “My first tweet! Thanks for all the support, follow me here so I can keep you updated on everything!”

16. Chance made a second appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show two weeks later. At that time, his Paparazzi video had garnered 30 million views, but he told DeGeneres that he hasn’t quite settled into his newfound viral fame yet.

17. During the show, DeGeneres surprised him by announcing that she is starting her own record label eleveneleven and signed Chance as his first artist.

18. She even posted this message on her official website www.ellentv.com: “I was so inspired by 12-year-old Greyson Chance that we decided to make a record together. I am starting my own record label called eleveneleven!”

19. Looking back at the moment DeGeneres discovered him and the media frenzy that followed along with sudden fame, Chance told Star2: “It was all happening too fast. I told myself to just live in the moment. Let’s just go with the flow.”

20. Chance was nominated as Choice Web Star in the 2010 Teen Choice Awards, and Favorite Viral Video Star at the 2011 People’s Choice Awards, but did not win either award.

21. Chance released his debut single Waiting Outside The Lines in Oct 2010.

22. His debut studio album Hold On ‘Til The Night came along in August 2011. The 10-track album peaked at No. 29 on the US Billboard 200.

23. Critics were not impressed though. Rolling Stone gave the album two stars with the review: “His handlers clearly hope he’s the next Bieber; sadly, there’s not an ounce of fun in him. Unfriend.”. New York Daily in its review said: “Chance fails to impress beyond YouTube Paparazzi video.”

24. Pop starlet Ariana Grande starred as Chance’s ex-girlfriend in the 2011 music video for his second single Unfriend You.

When he was 12, Chance performed his viral cover of Paparazzi on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

When he was 12, Chance performed his viral cover of Paparazzi on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

25. Bieber posted a link to Chance’s Unfriend You video with the comment: “keep it up bro.. voice sounds great bro keep it up”. Chance thanked Bieber for his the support in a retweet.

26. In Nov 2011, Chance was invited to perform at the Anugerah Industri Muzik, where he sang a Paparazzi duet with singer-songwriter/fellow YouTube sensation Najwa Latif, and also performed Waiting Outside The Lines.

27. Chance has a huge fanbase in Asia. He toured the region extensively throughout 2012, performing concerts in KL, Singapore, Jakarta, Manila, Hong Kong, and Bangkok.

28. That same year, he returned to Asia in November to promote his new five-track EP Truth Be Told Part 1.

29. After a whirlwind 24 months, Chance announced his departure from his label in January 2013. He tweeted: “It was a positive parting, for both of us, and I will always remember them as my first home and my first record label.”

NEXT PAGE: Another 20 things about Greyson Chance