Greyson Chance was in Malaysia over the last week for his first showcase in what feels like forever in conjunction with the release of his latest EP, “Somewhere Over My Head”. As expected, his showcase in Sunway Putra Mall, Kuala Lumpur was met with great response from Malaysian Greysonators and Enchancers (Greyson’s fans), who rocked up to the venue as early as noon to claim the “best seats in the house”.
Talk about dedication!
Now, we last spoke to him back in November 2012, when he was only 15 years old and fresh off releasing his last known EP, “Truth Be Told Part 1”. So it’s safe to say that with that many years in between his previous tour and this one, a lot has changed for Greyson since then.
We sat down with him for a one-on-one interview the day after his showcase and had a little heart-to-heart about his return to the music industry.
Here’s what went down:
Welcome back to Malaysia and the music industry! Lots have changed since we last saw you. Tell us what happened that led to your hiatus.
Well, I sort of..in the United States I was dropped by my label in 2012. It was after I started in the music industry and after having a lot of stuff and a lot of heat. Some bad things happened but I took that time to go back to Oklahoma, where I’m from, and kinda fall in love with music again and figure out what direction or where I wanted to go. And how I wanted to say the things that I was thinking in my head as an 18-year-old now. It was something really negative that happened at first but now, looking back, I’m glad that what happened..happened because it gave me some time to focus and come back with this EP.
How did it feel to have been dropped by your label at such a young age? I personally would’ve been crushed..
Yeah! It was super hard at that time because I was 15 years old and after having this sorta team by me, whom I developed really good friendships with and was kinda my basis of support, they said, “Hey, we’re kinda backing out from this”..that was really tough. But you learn from stuff like that and it makes you a better human, a better artiste. So I just used it as fuel to jumpstart this new EP and get me into a new chapter as a musician.
Between your music and school, how do you strike a balance and still emerge with a 3.9 for your GPA?
I was doing pretty well even though I was travelling. My parents instilled a big emphasis on school to make sure that I was doing all my classes online and get everything together. And I just graduated from high school last week. I don’t know how I got a 3.9 for my GPA. I think I gave myself a really hard work ethic. I told myself, “Hey, this is important to you so make sure that you really put a lot of time and effort into it!” I also actually kinda liked school because it gave me an opportunity..like sometimes when I was a bit stressed with music..to take a step back and focus on something that was way different from music like history or something.
What were you most afraid of prior to making your comeback with “Somewhere Over My Head”?
I was really, really worried. I was worried that we’re going to put out the EP and the old fans were not going to appreciate it, or maybe not like it as much, or maybe miss my old voice. I was nervous. I was worried that maybe they were going to be kinda over it before it even came out. But luckily, we’ve put out the EP and it seems like it’s going pretty well so far, and it seems like the fans are still with me so I’m very appreciative of that.
Now that you’re older, do you feel like you have more control over the kind of music that you make?
Yeah, the bulk of the work kinda starts and stops with me with everything. I’m writing the records and in terms of creative content, I’m kinda the one who’s always orchestrating that and working with my team. It’s very much..I’m very in control of everything and anything that you see on stage is gonna have my eyes and ears on it too.
We’ve noticed that “Somewhere Over My Head” isn’t actually a song on your EP. And that’s unique! What does “Somewhere Over My Head” mean?
It’s an ending lyric to one of the songs on the EP titled, “More Than Me”, it’s in the tail end of that song. I just..the line is basically like, “When I thought you were looking at me, you were looking instead at somewhere over my head”..it’s one of my favourite lyrics that I’ve ever written as a writer through the EP process. And so I was just like, uh, kinda selfishly it’s just one of my favourite lyrics and I thought it was cool enough to get the EP together and name it that.
“More Than Me” is kind of an emo song though, right?
Oh yeah! It’s extremely emo, yeah. That’s my saddest record but hearing the fans sing it last night during the showcase in Kuala Lumpur..that was awesome. They did really well!
What were some of the most important lessons that you’ve learnt from being in the limelight when you were younger?
What was great about that break..if you’re in that situation at that age, it’s terrible and it sucks..but looking back, it was so beneficial for me because I think that the biggest thing for me was that I was able to fall in love with music again in a completely new way. It’s not about how many people are going to be at a show or how many retweets we’re getting or all that stuff. I’m looking at it in a pure state again, I’m really concerned about having a connection with the fans and what they think about my music. I would say that the biggest thing I’ve learnt is..what this is all really about.
If you could go back in time and change one thing about growing up in the limelight, what would it be and why?
I don’t think I would change too much. Oh, I probably would get rid of my old wardrobe for sure! Just burn a bunch of stuff, yeah. I’d go through the old closet and wipe everything out. I don’t think I have any regrets in terms of what I did as a kid. I don’t see any regrets that are apparent on my mind.
What has surprised you most about the reactions from your Malaysian #Greysonators and #Enchancers? You have 2 fandoms!
Yeah the #Greysonators and #Enchancers are rivals! No, I’m just kidding. But wouldn’t that be funny though? I’d like that (laughs) But really, every time I come back to Kuala Lumpur, I’m always just blown away by the support, the excitement of the fans, and how into it they always are. It really warms my heart and makes me feel good so..I’ve an immense gratefulness for them. I’m really excited to be back and it’s always a good time.
Speaking of #Greysonators and #Enchancers, we got Greyson to answer some of the questions that were submitted to us by his Malaysian fans. Did he get scared when his voice changed? Now that he’s back, will he up and leave again? Find out:
Special thanks to our friends from Universal Music Malaysia for making this interview happen :)