A huge part of Greyson Chance's dream comes true today. Bigger than the two successful concert tours he's completed, a performance at the White House, national TV appearances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and “Good Morning America” — which is more good fortune than most musicians twice his age will ever know.
Today, the 13-year-old pop star from Edmond celebrates the release of his debut album, “Hold On 'Til the Night.”
“My biggest thrill?” Chance considered the question during a recent phone interview from his new, other home base in Los Angeles.
“I think it had to be 'cause we just had literally wrapped up everything for the record. We did all the mixes, the packaging, everything. And when I was listening to the whole record I broke down and I cried, and I was like, oohhhh . ... So that was the moment where I was like, I did it. I made a record. That was very substantial to me.”
Chance had already gained millions of pop fans before he was 13, thanks to his explosive popularity on YouTube and his first appearances on DeGeneres' talk show. Since DeGeneres plucked the former Cheyenne Middle School Student out of Edmond and set him on the road to greater fame as the first artist signed to her new eleveneleven record label, Chance has returned home for several special occasions, performing at his brother Tanner's fraternity at the University of Oklahoma, an inaugural event for Gov. Mary Fallin and for two concerts at Edmond Santa Fe High School benefiting the Children's Miracle Network.
“My friends really don't treat me any differently but, you know, of course when we go to the mall it's not like it used to be anymore,” Chance said. “There's always those people who are a little rude sometimes, but I really don't mind it. My friends still treat me the same.”
While his friends have gone on with their normal lives, Chance has had to finish the seventh grade taking Internet classes while toiling away on his album, working with all-star producers such as The Matrix (Christina Aguilera, Avril Lavigne, Jason Mraz, Britney Spears), Billy Steinberg (Enrique Iglesias, Katharine McPhee, Miranda Cosgrove) and Ron Fair (Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas).
Chance has already premiered the video for his new heartbreak-anthem hit single, “Unfriend You,” on MTV and MTV Hits. The video co-stars “Victorious” star Ariana Grande. Another track that's getting lots of play is “Waiting Outside the Lines.”
He admits the recording of the album did not go smoothly at first.
“I had some bad experiences in the studio with some of the producers when I started,” he said. “I think a lot of people didn't understand what I was trying to do. I was trying to make this really open album, and I wanted a pop-rock record. And so when I first started it was really hard. But then I found some producers that I really loved, and they really respect me, musically and creatively.
“I really put my creative opinion and thought into this record, and that's why I think it turned out so well, is it's real. It's not a fake record.”
Chance credits Journey as one of his biggest influences in the writing of the songs for “Hold On 'Til the Night.”
“When I was in the studio constantly I was listening to these big rock ballads that Journey did so well,” he said. “And I was thinking to myself, Steve Perry can make such a big chorus. When you listen to that music, it's the biggest chorus you can hear. I mean, who comes up with the idea, ‘Don't stop believin'? Like, it's genius.
“And so, when I'm listening to it I'm thinking I want to make these huge choruses, and I wanna make them in pop music. I think I successfully did with this project. Every song on the album has a very big chorus, and I was very inspired by Journey that way.”
Chance will tell you honestly he sometimes gets homesick and longs for his former life as an ordinary school kid. But he's still where he's always dreamed of being. He's looking forward to his upcoming tour with Miranda Cosgrove and his headlining show back home at Frontier City on Aug. 19, three days after his 14th birthday.
“You know, there's some moments when I miss home a lot,” he said. “What I did when I had these feelings and I was sad, I went to the studio and wrote records. Music has always been my escape when I have these feelings. It still is today. But you know I've always wanted to do this, and I just love what I do and I love having these fans. I can see myself in them when I put on a show. I've been so lucky and blessed for where I am right now.”