Here’s something you might not know about Greyson Chance, the 13-year-old Oklahoman whose YouTube covers of artists like Lady Gaga are so popular: He’s a big fan of ’70s rockers KISS.
“I actually watched the Glee episode where they did Gaga and KISS,” says Chance, who just stopped by EW’s office. “I was like, ‘Wow, I’m going to start getting into this.’ I bought the KISS biggest hits record on iTunes, and it just started blowing my mind.”
His favorite KISS tunes are the two performed by the Glee cast this May: “Shout It Out Loud” and “Beth,” both originally released in 1976. “I love them because they can get up on stage and they can party so hard with these big rock party songs [like 'Shout It Out Loud'],” he says.
“With their makeup and all, they’re so dramatic. I love theatricality. The way that they can do that and then go into a slow ballad like ‘Beth,’ it’s very inspirational.”
Chance is currently busy recording his debut album for release next spring on Ellen DeGeneres’ eleveneleven record label. Seasoned music industry professionals including Ron Fair and the Matrix are helping him in the studio.
Despite his KISS fandom, he says his album is more likely to draw inspiration from contemporary bands like Snow Patrol and Coldplay.
Are you surprised that Greyson Chance is a KISS fan? Looking forward to his album? Let us know.
Thursday night in New York, Chance put his chops on display at Joe's Pub, performing a four-song set evenly split between covers and his own material. He possessed a charm way beyond his 13 years, giving props to those members of the audience he'd met during his brief press trip to the Big Apple and explaining his decision to teach himself "Empire State of Mind": "We're in New York — we have to do the state song."
his take on "Fire" by the pop-rock act Augustana. Chance barreled through that song's "fire"/"desire" rhyme scheme successfully enough to seem like a perfectly calibrated blend of Justin Timberlake and Tori Amos, with his pop-heartthrob charm balanced almost equally by his intensity.
He closed out the set with his new single "Waiting Outside the Lines," which combines the slow burn of Jordin Sparks' debut single "Tattoo" with the steady beat of Kelly Clarkson's "Already Gone." For that track, he was joined by a band, and at one point he hopped away from the piano to try out his frontman skills.
" Although don't be surprised if there's a bit of a retro-soul influence, too; he's been listening to Amy Winehouse a lot lately. "Back to Black is on repeat," he said. "It's incredible — she has such an amazing voice."