Greyson Chance Opens Up About Life on a Tour Bus, How Past Heartbreak + Journey Influenced His Forthcoming Album ‘Hold On Til the Night’
PopCrush recently sat down with (a very sunburned) Greyson Chance backstage on his Waiting 4 U tour with Cody Simpson, where he dished on his forthcoming album, ‘Hold On Til the Night,’ what touring is like at 13 years old, and admitted that, yes, his mom does his laundry.
The Greyson Chance story is an unthinkable one — he performed Lady Gaga‘s ‘Paparazzi’ at a school talent show last year, and before he knew it, he was hobnobbing it with Ellen DeGeneres and reveling in 40 million views of the cover video on YouTube.
Greyson recalled for us his last trip through Atlanta, where he opened for Miranda Cosgrove to a mostly empty room. Just three months later, he returned on his own headlining tour, and told the packed crowd the same story — only he added, “And now we FILLED IT UP!!!” — and the whole room erupted in screams.
The Oklahoma teen idol informed us that he is very involved in the creative process of his career, and dished that he’s actually working on a video treatment for his next single. We can’t tell you what song that is just yet, but just know that Greyson is very excited about it.
For someone who rose to fame so quickly, Greyson remains humble and unscathed … Though, he did ignore a call from his mom on his cellphone during our chat! From the dark ‘green room’ at the House of Blues in Houston, the young-yet-rising artist opened up about leaving Edmond, Okla. for Los Angeles, Calif. — where he recently found himself in the same VIP room as Lady Gaga. Somebody pinch this kid, he must be dreaming!
What did you think when you heard that Ellen had seen your YouTube video?
You know, it was a mixture of shock and a little bit of shock and nervousness. I was thinking, ‘Ohh, what was she thinking when she watched it?’ You know, thinking that I was going to go on to the show, it was a little intimidating but I was very excited.
Watch Greyson Chance Perform Lady Gaga’s ‘Paparazzi’
Tell us — how did you and Cody Simpson get paired up for this tour?
Well, you know, me and Cody met and thought, ‘Why don’t we do a tour together?’ We got along very well, it just seemed like the right thing to do.
Do you and Cody hang out a lot?
Yeah, we hang out a lot, and we’re sharing buses as well, so we’re somewhat forced to hangout. [Laughs]
Do you have any family on the road with you?
Yeah — Cody has his whole family, and I have my mom or dad with me at all times.
Are you in charge then, since it’s your tour — your career?
No, not really. [Laughs] My mother lets me stay up as late as I want, though.
So since your mom is on the road, does she do your laundry for you?
Of course! I don’t even know how to do laundry.
Tell us what your daily schedule is like when you have a show.
Usually I wake up in the morning and do school for a couple of hours. Then, I go get lunch, I take a shower, it’s around like 1 … Then I have a couple of interviews, then around like 3 or 4 I do soundcheck. Then around 5 I’m doing more interviews and then I start prepping for the show, I get ready, I listen to some hard rock n’ roll to get pumped! And then we have the show. After that I do about an hour-long meet and greet with everybody, and then maybe a couple more interviews, a phoner, and then I have to finish up my day — I have a couple videos I have to do, a couple journals I have to type out, and then I go to bed and do it all over again!
Aside from the obvious things like clothes and a toothbrush, what three things did you bring along that you couldn’t have lived without on tour?
My iPod, my record player, and my Blackberry. I can’t live without my Blackberry. I’m a Blackberry guy — it’s strictly business. I can’t do the iPhones, just ugh. I need the Blackberry.
Do you guys eat a lot of junk food and stuff on the road?
It’s not your choice, you have to!
What has been your favorite city so far?
I always love performing in New York. It’s my favorite place because I have somewhat of a New York personality. I’m kinda like that; I’m pale, and I fit in very well there.
So you’re living…
I live in L.A. now. Well, I still have my house in Oklahma, and my dad and my sister and sometimes my mom are in Oklahoma. We still have our house, we still have everything there, but I’m always in L.A., constantly.
That’s a huge change in such a short amount of time! What’s that like?
Well, it’s fun! I don’t really have a home anywhere, I’m on a tour bus most of the time so I’m almost constantly traveling.
What do you think has been your coolest experience on this tour so far?
I think it’s just, every night — and I say this about every tour — to be on tour is another mountain in its own, it’s another adventure. In every city we have different girls, we have different experiences, and it’s just so much fun seeing all of the fans performing all of the music — it’s just a blast.
How do you keep busy on the bus when you’re driving between cities?
You know, it’s not too hard. We’re usually either watching movies or sleeping, because we’re always traveling at night. I listen to my iPod a lot and just chill out.
What are you listening to lately?
I’ve been very inspired lately by old rock ‘n’ roll. I’m very into Journey, and AC/DC and lots of different things.
Do they ever let you drive the bus?
Absolutely not. I’ve tried, trust me.
Watch Greyson Cover Augustana’s ‘Fire’
Are you doing schoolwork and stuff while you’re on the road?
Yeah! I have a tutor on the road and me and Cody … She’s actually originally my tutor and then I introduced her to Cody and he loves her, so we share her now.
Are you dating anybody back home?
Not dating anybody. I’ve been heartbroken for a little bit of a time and I wrote a whole record about it, so I’m not dating. I wrote an album. It’s coming out around back-to-school time and it’s called ‘Hold On Til the Night.’
What do you think people can expect from it?
It’s a very good record. [Laughs] A lot of people that I’ve played it for … Everybody has been very surprised. I think that a lot of people think I’m a 13-year-old, so they’re like, ‘Oh, well we know what he’s gonna do, ’cause he’s 13!’ and it’s completely opposite. I think it’s going to surprise a lot of people. I think everybody thinks I’m gonna go down because of my age, and because of everything. They think I’m gonna go down the pop road — that teenage type of pop road. I’m really not. Everything that I do is very meaningful, and it has a background, it has a reason behind it. The music is pop-rock in itself, it’s like One Republic and Snow Patrol kind of.
Even me and Cody, we’re very different. And I think that’s another great thing about this tour, we season each other very well.
Naturally, people are going to want to compare you to Justin Bieber, with the hair and all, but you’re a completely different ballgame.
Yeah, of course. And I love Justin, Justin is a very good friend, but everything that I’m doing is very, very different.
What’s something that your fans might not know about you?
I love photography actually! I’m very into photography, I don’t think they know that…
Obviously you have met quite a few famous people in the past year and a half or so. Who would you say has been the nicest?
The nicest person? Gaga has been the nicest person and the most accommodating. I’ve met Lady Gaga several times and she’s incredible. It’s funny, me and Gaga share labels, and they had this party after the VMAs and so, you know, I’m sitting there and I’m in the same room as Gaga — the VIP section. I’m thinking, ‘I’m in a club … And Lady Gaga is right over there. What happened? How am I here? I’m a 13-year-old clubbing with Lady Gaga. NOT drinking.’ I think I could pass as 21, though. [Laughs]
Any maybe not so friendly celebrities?
No, no. They’ve all been very friendly!
What musician, artist, or band would you say you look up to the most? Just one!
I think it would have to be Journey, especially with this record. Journey has always been in my mind when I’ve been writing it, when I’ve been singing it, when I’m performing on stage. Journey. I’m always thinking about ‘Don’t Stop Believin’,’ and you know, ‘Faithfully.’ I’m always thinking about these records and how they perform as a band. I don’t do any covers by Journey, I do do covers in my set, but not by Journey.
What inspires you in your life?
I’m very inspired by just art itself. Simple things. I love physical art, I love music, I love photography, paintings — I just find I love theater, I’m a very artsy guy.
What kind of stuff do you do when you’re not on the road that’s not related to your music?
Usually when I go home I jump on my trampoline. This is going to sound so … Oklahoma is not a farm based place, but I go out to the woods and get fire for the fireplace. That sounds really, ‘Hay! I’m from Oklahoma!’ but I do, I go out to the woods and I get the wood and I bring it back to my dad to make a fire. I actually live in a very suburban neighborhood.
So, where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully still doing this! Hopefully at House of Blues, headlining, and hopefully making an amazing record.
Do you ever get recognized? Is it crazy? Do you get mobbed?
Yes, we get recognized a lot, especially because the bus is always parked outside of the venue and the fans figure out where it is. We don’t get mobbed … Well, there’s been a couple of times that we have, but, uh, it’s … Most of the time it’s just a couple girls.
What’s the craziest thing that’s happened in a meet and greet? Do people freak out on you?
Oh yeah. Probably the most interesting thing, and it’s kind of a funny thing, is a girl I guess just happened to have a bra in her purse and she was like ‘Sign it!’ And I was thinking, ‘Well, it’s not on …’ So I said, ‘Eh, what the heck.’ So I signed it and I said, ‘I am the only guy who is supposed to be seeing this! And she’s like ‘Oh yeah!’
What would you say is your favorite part of being on tour?
You know, my favorite part about being on tour is you know, there’s always something going on. It’s very action-packed. I love going to the venues, I love meeting all of the fans, I have so much fun on tour. I really do mean that, I have lots of fun.
See PopCrush Talk to Greyson Chance Backstage