If you were on the internet in 2010, you may remember Greyson Chance as the 12-year-old singer who rose to fame seemingly overnight after his cover of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” at his school talent show. Chance uploaded the video of his performance to YouTube and it quickly went viral – today it has over 71 million views.
A few weeks later, Ellen DeGeneres invited Chance to perform at The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He made a second appearance on the show in May 2010, where DeGeneres announced that he would be signing Chance to his new record label, eleveneleven.
Today, 25-year-old Chance continues to make music under Sony Music Global and Arista Records, his most recent album, PalladiumIt came out on Thursday. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Chance opened up about his experience working with DeGeneres, whom he described as “controlling” and “insanely manipulative.”
“This is the first time I’ve been honest about her, and this is the last time I want to talk about it,” Chance told Rolling Stone. “I have never met someone more manipulative, more self-centered and more blatantly opportunistic than her.”
Chance compared working with DeGeneres as a child to having a “hidden eye” on her career. He said that she would control everything, even what she wore; for example, she allegedly forbade him to wear leather because it went against her beliefs as a vegan. “My whole week, my whole month, my whole year could change [with] a text from her,” Chance said. “That was horrible. If she had an opinion of any kind, everything changed. … She would walk in and look at a rack, yell at the stylists, scold the people in front of me and say, ‘This is what you’re wearing on the show.'”
Chance explained that DeGeneres wanted him to basically follow in the career footsteps of Justin Bieber, to whom he was often compared. He recalled an incident where the TV show host got mad at him for not watching an advanced copy of Justin Bieber. Never say Never documentary, then called her mother to scold her for it.
In 2012, Chance’s music and ticket sales began to underperform, and the record label fired him, along with his publicist and management team. Then, Chance said, DeGeneres “completely abandoned” him. “I couldn’t get through to her. I couldn’t talk to her,” he said. “Every time she came on the show, it was such a fake smile. She didn’t even ask, ‘How are you? How’s it going?’ It was like, ‘This is what we’re going to talk about. See you there.'”
The coincidence appeared in Elena later in 2019 for a musical performance and an interview. He said DeGeneres did nothing to address the miscommunication on her part. “She came out during sound check and looked at me, hugged me,” she recalled. “And she said, ‘How have you been?’ And that killed me inside because I was like, ‘What do you mean how have I been? Where have I been? your condition?'”
During the 2019 interview, DeGeneres praised Chance for coming out as gay two years earlier. However, the singer did not find her sincere and felt that she was trying to take credit for her trip. “She had nothing to do with it… [When I came out,] I hadn’t talked to her in years,” he said. That is so complicated, that now you are showing the world as if we were so united. We are so good. And behind the scenes, you’re this incredibly manipulative person.”
Chance was invited back to Elena in early 2022, but decreased. However, he is in a relationship with Lady Gaga, who he says “she’s been there for [him] in ways that Ellen never was.
Ultimately, Chance said that even though he started with DeGeneres, he doesn’t owe the overall success of his career to her. “The first part of my career, I owe a lot of thanks to her and to that team,” she said. “But the reason I’m here today talking about an album, I don’t owe her anything. Because I was the one that had to get up. She was nowhere to be found.”
You can read the full interview with Chance here.