If you were on the internet in 2010, you might remember Greyson Chance as the 12-year-old singer who rose to fame overnight after his cover of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” at his school’s talent show. Chance uploaded the video of her performance to YouTube, and it quickly went viral – today it has over 71 million views.
A few weeks later, Chance is invited by Ellen Degeneres perform on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He made a second appearance on the show in May 2010, where DeGeneres announced that she was signing Chance to her new label, eleven eleven.
Today, 25-year-old Chance continues to make music under Sony Music Global and Arista Records – her most recent album, Palladium, was released on Thursday. in a new interview with Rolling Stone, Chance opened up about his experience working under DeGeneres, who he described as “controlling” and “incredibly manipulative.”
“It’s the first time I’ve been honest about it, and it’s the last time I want to talk about it,” Chance told Rolling Stone. “I have never met anyone more manipulative, more self-centered and more obviously opportunistic than her.”
Chance compared working under DeGeneres as a child to having a “hidden eye” on her career. He said she would control everything, including what he wore – for example, she would have banned him from wearing leather because it went against his beliefs as a vegan. “All my week, all my month, all my year could change [with] a text from her,” Chance said. “It was awful. If she had any opinion, everything changed. … She would walk in and look at a rack, yell at stylists, berate people in front of me, and say, ‘This is what you wear on the show.'”
Chance explained that DeGeneres wanted him to essentially follow in the career footsteps of Justin Bieber, who he was often compared to. 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 his mother to reprimand her.
In 2012, Chance’s music and ticket sales began to underperform, and the label dropped him and his publicist and management team. Then, Chance said, DeGeneres “completely gave up on him.” “I couldn’t reach her. I couldn’t talk to her,” he said. “Every time I came on the show, it was a fake smile. She wouldn’t even ask, ‘How are you? How are you?’ It was just like, ‘This is what we’re going to talk about. We’ll see you there.'”
Chance appeared on Ellen later in 2019 for a musical performance and maintenance. He said DeGeneres did nothing to address the lack of communication on his part. “She came out during the sound check and she looked at me, hugged me,” he recalled. “And she said, ‘How are you?’ And it just killed me inside because I was like, ‘What do you mean, how the fuck have I been? you has been?'”
During the 2019 interview, DeGeneres praised Chance for coming out as gay two years prior. However, the singer did not find it 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 haven’t spoken to her in years,” he said. “It’s so messed up, that you guys are now showing the world like we’re so close. We are so good. And behind the scenes, you’re this incredibly manipulative person.”
Chance was invited back to Ellen earlier in 2022, but has declined. He does, however, have a relationship with Lady Gaga, who he says “has been there for [him] in a way that Ellen never was.”
Ultimately, Chance said that while he got his start under 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 him and to this team,” he said. “But the reason I’m here today to talk about an album is that I don’t owe her anything. Because I had to pick myself up. She was nowhere to be found.”