Following the success of his phenomenal album portraits, released only last year, Greyson Chance celebrates with the release of his exquisite new single “Dancing Next To Me.” The track beautifully combines bewitchingly atmospheric production with Chance’s remarkably impassioned voice to stunningly showcase not only his awe-inspiring talent but also a boisterous and bold confidence that’s absolutely energizing.
He also once again demonstrates his unparalleled ability to condense authentic multi-faceted emotions into music that’s both deeply personal and easily accessible. Reflecting on the release of “Dancing Next to Me,” Greyson shared, “It’s a special song for a few different reasons. It was the first song that I wrote with Teddy Geiger, who’s the executive producer of this next record. We actually wrote this song the first day we ever met so that it was sort of our entrance into not only our friendship but also kind of our relationship as we were then starting to work on the album. It was also coming after a time where I had a really horrible fan of laryngitis over the summer. So, I had been mute for two and a half weeks.
So this was like the first day that I was allowed to sort of be creative again, and the song happened. I woke up in the morning, I went to the piano. I immediately started playing that line went in and met Teddy, and it just kind of happened really naturally. I think it’s cool that ‘Dancing Next To Me’ was the first song ever wrote together and now it’s the first song being used as an introduction to the album. I think there’s, there’s sort of a nice overtone to that, that I really like.”
While many of his peers aim for success by creating streaming-friendly bodies of work, at massive detriment their own artistry, Greyson thankfully firmly holds onto the importance of an album. Reflecting on his first few days with Teddy, he shared “we really just sort of spoke to each other honestly about that we were interested in music and what we felt like was kind of missing from pop music right now. Also what it meant to have an album, not only as an artist but also just as a human being. To have the body of work that can really sort of survive as a reminder of, during this period of time.”
With Teddy, it seems that Greyson immediately found a kindred spirit. So much so that it just within a week that Greyson was certain that Teddy was the person to help him shape the next stage of his career. Given the momentum that he garnered with portraits, it’s not hard to imagine that the stratospheric heights that his upcoming material could take him to.
Reflecting on the transformative effect of portraits, Chance shares, “to me, it was really sort of my redemption record. I think that’s the energy that I kept going into writing it. I knew that I wanted to make an album, not only to show the industry that I could make something that was credible and that I could show the world that I was an actual artist. But I think I needed to prove that for myself too. Everything with portraits was just very instinctual – it’s just what I felt like was right.
When we got into tracklisting the record, I just remember putting it quickly together in the way that I saw it in my mind, and it worked. With the videos, I was writing treatments that felt like the first thing I wanted to act on. That was the first time that I had that chance to do something like that as an artist because, in the past, I’ve been so regulated and so sort of glued to the socks. portraits gave me the ability to really kind of break free from that, and creatively do whatever I wanted. So I just made an album I really love. the response and the way that it’s changed my life thus far, it’s been really incredible. And it’s very also very surprising too.”
Each track on portraits was a depiction of the all-consuming nature of different perplexingly complex emotions. Further delving into the inspiration behind the album, Chance explains, “Right as I was writing the music that the whole theme came together. Because at the time I was modeling for a lot of my friends and doing a lot of photography work and kind of experimenting in that medium, which I’d kind of never really had done in the past. As I was writing the music, it felt in so many ways similar to the photos that I was shooting.
Each photograph that I was looking back to in all of 2018, you could see on see from my face what I was feeling. I’d just gotten out of a relationship where I thought I was going to get married. I just left college to pursue music again; there was just a lot happening. These photographs were serving as snapshots of emotion and story and the songs were the exact same thing. Again too though, I just remember writing the word down and seeing it. I remember calling my friend and saying I know what the record is going to be called and I’m pretty sure my friend was like “you don’t even have a fucking record yet, what are you talking out?” But it ended up working out in the end.”
Even the given exposing nature of the emotions embodied within his music, he remains unfazed about releasing his vulnerabilities out into to world through his songs. “There’s no apprehension at all. I think there maybe would be if I wasn’t inspired by their songwriters that I am inspired by. Right not I’m listening to a lot of Donny Carlisle, Tanya Tucker, and Johnny Cash. This record isn’t going to be country, don’t worry, but I what I love about that more traditional music is the storytelling that’s really authentic and honest. For me, if that’s the type of music I love as a fan, that’s what I want to get.”
“So it just feels natural for me to wear my heart on my sleeve with the music, but you asked too how I feel before a song comes out – I feel a constant state of nausea. I feel like I’m nervous, scared, excited, ready to jump off of something. It’s a lot. But once the song comes out, I’m hoping I’ll feel a bit better, but knowing that it’s introducing the album is a bit of pressure.”
The anticipation for “Dancing Next To Me” is perhaps heightened by the success of Chance’s memorizing track “Shut Up.” Reflecting on that track’s success, Greyson shared, “I think people connected with it because it was the first time in years, I came out confidently with a release. But I think the song resonated too, because, in my opinion, it’s relatable.
Like how many times have you been with somebody that you really like, and you just cannot stop talking. You don’t want the conversation to end because you’re so infatuated by them, right? I think that was just a really common thing that was happening to me so much in 2018. So, I think that’s why it connected but honestly, I’ve been doing this for f**king 10 years, and I have no idea what I’m doing. You kind of just go forward and just hope for the best.”
Chance’s millions of streams are a shining testament to his ability to create relatable music. Explaining whether reliability is ever something he aims for, Chance explains, “It really depends on what the song is about. If I’m writing about a specific event that happened to me then I’m very much in a way kind of selfish in the studio – I’m really focused on what am I feeling. Like, what was I doing at the time? What do I want to say? How do I want to portray this? I’m focused on that.
“But I have a song on portraits called ‘Black on Black,’ and with that, I really wanted to create a record that the fans can really kind of just let loose on and really have fun too. And so with a song like that, I’m thinking hearing certain drums, how I want certain things to sound and, you know, obviously thinking about what the gays are going to think at all times. It just does depend on the type of song.”
Greyson hasn’t always been afforded that level of control. After finding fame with his cover of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” at his sixth-grade talent show, his initial musical destiny was controlled by executives, not his own artistry. “One of the things that I really a rule I set for myself when I came back to doing music was that I was going to be involved in everything. I wasn’t going to surrender my creative integrity. Because, you know, maybe I don’t know how directing works or maybe I don’t know how cover edits are done. This entire thing I started taking in Photoshop classes immediately when I left college and was going back to the music because I wanted to start learning graphic design.
My friend Bobby Hannaford, who directed some of the portraits videos and I co-directed a few too, immediately started calling him and started asking about what kind of what his process was. Like what equipment is he using? Who’s he talking to? With the Merch, I wanted to know what materials we were using – whether they were recyclable or not and how are they feeling on the skin?
It was all because in my past I just wasn’t allowed to have a hand in any of that. So coming back into music now, I’m gonna have to keep my hands and everything because it’s that important to me. Yeah. So anything you see on a visual aspect or anything that you see around this song around or this next album, you can know that I had a hand I probably have the files on my computer.”
The passion exuding from Chance is palpable when he’s detailing any part of his artistic process. When questioned how he doesn’t get burnt out by the all-consuming nature of his hob, he immediately replied “It’s exhausting. But I don’t know. I think Gaga is such a good role model for artists because she’s like, oh, you’re going to complain about being tired. Oh well, that sucks. Welcome to your job. If you want to be a good artist, and if you want to have a real connection with your fans, your fans want every part of you. They want to know your opinion on everything. And they deserve that. And so, you know, any days where I’m complaining about the workload, I always try to catch myself and take a minute to say let’s erase that pity party and get some work done.”
His work ethic unsurprisingly extends to his live performances too. “Touring is a really hard part of the job, just physically. But, it’s my favorite part of all of this. There’s something so fulfilling about writing a song and then kind of like flash forward on stage and people suddenly singing it with you. But you can tell that they’re feeling it and resonating with it in their own way. It’s just truly, really incredible. But also for me, the live show is another part of the job. I spend a lot of time on it. I rehearse like a crazy motherfucker to make sure that it’s all sort of well-prepared because again to like as a music fan when I go to a show I really try to escape into it, and that’s what I try to give my fans with our concert.”
Reflecting on his journey of so far and the future, he shared, “I think the big stand out from last year was that I learned the purpose. For the first time in a long time in my career where I wanted to be. Through so many ups and downs in music, it took a minute to get there. I think my goal for this year is to now find peace within that. Just continuing on, and keep on pushing, and keep on wanting to be better. Just keep writing, and just be happy with life.”