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Greyson Chance opens up about Ellen DeGeneres, Gaga and new album


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Speaking to Rolling Stone last month, Chance wants to get something off his chest: the trauma he says he felt as a teenager after being discovered and later “completely abandoned” by Ellen DeGeneres. “I’ve never met someone more manipulative, more self-centered, and more blatantly opportunistic than her,” he says.

 

After interviewing Chance on her show in May 2010, DeGeneres gifted the singer $10,000 and a new piano. And inspired by his prodigious talent, she co-created eleveneleven, a record label that was distributed by Interscope Geffen A&M Records, and signed him as her first act. It was her chance, as Variety put it, at “out-Bieb-ing the Bieber,” the biggest teen pop star at the time.

 

As Chance’s career intensified, so, too, did his bristling against DeGeneres’ control. Chance says she was like a “hidden eye” over his career. “My whole week, my whole month, my whole year could change [with] one text message from her,” explains Chance. “That was horrible.” There was one time, he says, DeGeneres was sent a video of a scheduled performance for a different network. She didn’t like what she saw, he says, and made him and his team redo the entire thing. “If she had an opinion of any sort, the whole thing changed,” he says.

 

On another occasion, Chance had performed in Cleveland, the third of five consecutive stops opening for Miranda Cosgrove on tour, and DeGeneres, back in L.A., had gotten an advance copy of Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never documentary. She wanted Chance to watch it, but Chance says he was exhausted from touring and didn’t make viewing it a top priority.

 

DeGeneres then called Chance’s mom. “I’ll never forget this,” Chance says. “I just remember hearing on the other side of the phone, just yelling [and] beratement: ‘What type of mother are you? Do you realize that I went out of my way to get this for you, and he can’t sit down and watch it?’”

 

“People forgot how old he was. [Ellen] was not very happy that he hadn’t watched it because she thought that it was important for him to guide his career based on what Justin was doing,” says Chance’s mother, Lisa. “I don’t remember exactly what she said, but she was berating.”

 

Then, Greyson says, DeGeneres asked to speak to the singer. “Disappointed isn’t even remotely what I’m feeling right now,” Greyson remembers her saying. “It was clear that, ‘OK, I’m a pawn in your game.’ So I watched the movie.” (Through a rep, DeGeneres declined to comment on Rolling Stone’s detailed list of questions about Chance’s allegations.)

 

Lisa says there were several times that DeGeneres “would go through his clothes” and be “a little controlling” about what Chance wore. He was specifically never allowed to wear leather, due to DeGeneres’ commitment to veganism at the time. “She would come in and look at a rack, yell at stylists, berate people in front of me and say, ‘This is what you’re wearing on the show,’” he remembers. “She was just degrading to people.” 

 

Though they don’t recall witnessing any negative behavior from DeGeneres around Chance, a former production employee of The Ellen Show tells Rolling Stone that there was “absolutely no surprise” that he may have experienced that sort of controlling behavior. The former employee, who worked on the show during Chance’s rise and was fired after a year, also felt that DeGeneres was “manipulative and opportunistic,” and that working with her was a “wake-up call to not always follow the money,” they say, adding that their experience working on the show “was literally hell.”

Being dropped by Ellen:

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When Chance’s music started to underperform and ticket sales dropped in 2012, Chance says DeGeneres disappeared. The once-controlling savior who Chance says had promised him and his family the world became “completely removed.”

He released his second project on DeGeneres’ label, Truth Be Told, Part 1, in November 2012. After it tanked, he says, the TV host “completely abandoned” him. Interscope soon dropped him and key people on his team, including his agent, publicist, and management team disappeared. Chance says he tried calling DeGeneres and never heard back. 

 

“I couldn’t get ahold of her. Couldn’t talk to her,” says Chance, who returned to the show several times after 2012. “Whenever I would come on the show, it was such a fake smile. She wouldn’t even ask, ‘How are you doing? How are you holding up?’ It was just like, ‘Here’s what we’re going to talk about. We’ll see you on there.’”

 

Chance would return to The Ellen Show to promote Somewhere as an 18-year-old in 2015. “I’m just so proud of you,” DeGeneres would tell Chance on TV. Backstage, though, he says the two didn’t speak. 

Returning to the show years later:

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Chance returned to Ellen in 2019 to perform “Shut Up,” and sat down for an awkward chat in a “place of active trauma for me.”

 

“She came out during soundcheck and she looked at me, hugged me. And she said, ‘How have you been?’ And that just killed me inside because I was like, ’What do you mean how have I ******* been? Where have you been?” Chance remembers. Chance’s mom adds that DeGeneres had become “pretty distant.”

 

During the interview, DeGeneres would share how proud she was of him for coming out as gay two years prior. To Chance, the praise felt “cheap.” “She had nothing to do with that. … [When I came out,] I hadn’t spoken to her in years… That’s so messed up, that you’re now showing the world as if we’re so tight. We’re so good. And behind the scenes, you are this insanely manipulative person.”

 

“When I look at the interviews and I look at my eyes, I can see so much anxiety. I can just see so much PTSD because I’m there holding on for dear life going, ‘I need this TV gig,’“ Chance adds. “I was 100 percent faking it, and [I felt like] she’s 100 percent faking it with me, too.”

 

After that day, Chance vowed to never return to the show. His career would continue to rise as he toured Portraits around the world, performing at nearly 120 concerts in a year. But he’d get through it by latching onto bad habits. After most shows, he’d down a small bottle of Tito’s vodka. “I still felt like a puppet. It was like, ‘Who am I doing this for?’” he says. Chance says therapy helped him develop better habits as he continued to release new music.

On Ellen wanting him back on the show's final season earlier this year:

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In March of this year, The Ellen Show called. Show producers were planning the final season’s guests, which included superstars Jennifer Aniston, Kim Kardashian, and Bruno Mars, among others. They wanted Chance back on the show.

 

He could envision how the interview would go: He’d parade over to the show’s couch, hug DeGeneres, and look back at clips of his many visits over the years. “How in the world am I supposed to sit down and say I’m so thankful and let her take that moment,” Chance says. “‘Look at what I did for this kid. He’s now an artist. He’s now still performing, and it’s all because of me.’”

 

Chance says they asked him to return twice after that, even offering him an appearance during the show’s final two weeks, with peak viewership. “I couldn’t do that,” he says. “So I turned down a national-TV gig on the eve of an album release, which is probably not a smart thing to do, but I had to do it for my integrity.”

 

“The first part of my career, I owe a lot of thanks to her and to that team. But the reason why I’m here today talking about an album, I owe ******* nothing to her,” he says. “Because I was the one that had to pull myself up. She was nowhere to be found.” 

On his new record Palladium:

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Greyson Chance is ready to move on. 

 

Chance just released his album Palladium, which he wrote with producer Jason Reeves. It’s a full-length effort with a grittier sound and crisp Zayn Malik-like vocals that strays from the sounds of his past. It’s about “protecting your instinct, your heart, your soul, and making sure that that’s your priority,” Chance explains.

 

“As much as I would like to say that I could’ve made this album without my past, I just don’t think that’s true,” he says. “I just need to be more honest with myself moving forward because I think that’s how I become better from all of this.”

 

There’s no Auto-Tune on the record, and there are moments on the album when Chance’s rising vocals showcase that fight for freedom he’s sought for years. It’s a brutally personal listen, with some songs influenced by what Chance learned following the dissolution of his most serious adult relationship.

On Lady Gaga:

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Last month, Chance’s life came full circle when he saw another person who (indirectly) helped spark his career: Lady Gaga. The two saw each other backstage during her Chromatica Ball stop in New York — a decade earlier, they had met for the first time at her Monster Ball tour, where he says Gaga told him, “I need you to have fun while you’re doing this. You’re 12 years old.” 

 

Over the years, Chance says, Gaga has “always kept her door open to me. She looks at me every time and she’s like, ‘You’re a ******* man now. This is crazy.’ She has been there for me in the ways that Ellen never was.”

So much tea was spilled but wbk

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Edited by State of Grace.
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i mean, sounds like a record label exec to me 🤷🏼‍♀️

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11 minutes ago, magazine said:

I mean, he flopped :rip: What was he expecting?

This! I love some of his songs but it’s all about business and money 

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Yall forgetting that he was literally 13-15 when this happened. Ellen used him after he went viral because she thought she found the next Justin Bieber then threw him like nothing happened once he stopped being profitable. I understand that this is business and how the industry works, but this is so traumatic for someone his age wanting to become a singer. The least she could have done is stay in touch with him and treat him like a human, not full on ghosting him and acting fake on TV. :skull: 

 

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He flopped so she moved on. When u sign to a label u become a product. Him being 15 doesnt matter, this isnt twitter but real life. 

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There seems to be a lot of gray (no pun intended) area here and we won't ever know the real story from either party unless there's legal proceedings. I buy a lot of this veering into emotional abuse from Ellen towards Greyson given her backstory with other clients. Devil's advocate though, when you include the contract as well as the lent payment and piano, Ellen wanting her vision gets more leeway. Although to not try to invest or change your product after reaching out so intensely earlier seems odd. She clearly just gave up and broke contact, if what he's saying is accurate.

 

Between this, the #MeToo movement and the Nickelodeon scandal, hopefully there'll be some major reforms in the world of child stardom.

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oh grow up and stop whining ffs

 

just stay away from the showbiz if you don't have the balls for it 

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Terrible and we should all know that this is likely how every label exec acts, all the ones that are benevolent to yalls faves from Clive Davis, Geffen, Iovine, Jay Z etc. the only reason this is coming to light is because it’s cool to hate Ellen rn (she’s annoying af). This is the awful state of the music business to every artist that isn’t as successful as the same 15 women this site stupidly obsesses over. 

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Some of y'all are MISERABLE just like Ellen. Gross people. 

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Telling someone you'll always be there for them and then not actually doing that - hurts. Greyson not being successful should not have been a reason for Ellen to just disappear from his life.

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The responses in this thread are so awful. :biblio:

The gays are horrible to each other.

 

Anyway this was sad to read. Hope he’s doing better :heart2:

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It just sounds like she didn't know he was being sad behind all of this :rip:

not denying his feelings tho

 

but her leaving after him flopping, isn't something strange..when she has been in the biz for so long anyways

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Wow a lot of you are disgusting people. Have some humanity. Who cares if “that’s just the business” or “he flopped so she dropped the product.” These things being the NORM doesn’t make them ok? :rip: People are allowed to share their emotional struggles. If you don’t have any sympathy then just ignore the message and move on but don’t act like he’s being “ungrateful” or something.

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7 minutes ago, schnetzka said:

Telling someone you'll always be there for them and then not actually doing that - hurts. Greyson not being successful should not have been a reason for Ellen to just disappear from his life.

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I mean yeah he flopped but like... he's still allowed to say that he felt manipulated by her and that she was a horrible boss? Especially since she kept asking him back and was fake-nice to him on her cheesy talk show for years after, in order to congratulate herself for "discovering" him.

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