“Do you want me to hold the magazine? Yeah, I know what to do!” Greyson Chance says good-naturedly as he obliges for a photo with Indonesia’s Kawanku magazine.
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The first thing that strikes you about Greyson is how nice he is – shaking hands with everyone in the room, thanking them for being there, paying attention to what everyone is saying and talking about missing his dog Whisky. Yes, I know ‘nice’ can mean a whole lot of things or act as a euphemism for some things but let’s take the irony away, Greyson Chance is a proper nice guy. And a pretty cool dude too – he’s a fan of Yuck and makes Bed, Bath & Beyond analogies.
Of course, all of this we don’t know from the set he put on at MTV Sessions. We were lucky enough to chat with him prior to the showcase. Here are some outtakes:
What is Greyson Listening To?
Currently listening to “really indie rock band called Yuck.” He loves ‘Shook Down’ a lot.
A Simple Man
Not into awards, not into charts, money will never rule his heart – see we told you he is a really nice person. “Whether I’m playing for 20 people or 2000, I’ll just try to keep on inspiring and keep on writing music. As a music lover myself, I like listening to a song and making a connection – that’s what I want to bring to people.”
A Sentient Man
On ‘California Sky’: “I didn’t write it because I like coffee, I write about coffee shops because it’s the feeling of the song.”
On heartbreak at 14: According to Greyson, people are always saying ‘Oh you’re 14, you can’t experience heartbreak!’ (to which he says “What is wrong with you?”) but look here, this guy made a successful debut album out of his experience. Nowadays though, he’s decided to move away from the sap and sorrow.
On getting discovered on YouTube
“I think it’s really great, I think we have all these utensils. It’s like we’re at a Bed, Bath & Beyond and we bought all these new sharp knives right? And we’re using it to cut up the onions and we’re using it well. I think with YouTube, Twitter and Facebook – it’s great that music is really starting to come out through this and we’re starting to use it. Now we’re all just chopping up stuff and then we have to throw it in the pan. It’s good stuff. Now why am I using a cooking metaphor?”
‘Leila’ is not real
Leila is a figment, she is not a being. Verbatim: “To me, she is the perfect person. She has no flaws, she has perfect everything, her personality is perfect… and it doesn’t exist. Nobody is going to be like that. A relationship will never be like that. So when I was writing the song I was thinking ‘What if it does exist.’ So Leila is not a ‘she’, she’s an ‘it’. She’s a figment, floating around right now.
We were ushered into the VIP area of the studio, a room not unlike the safer side of an interrogation room. Spacious and, most importantly, isolated from the vortex of screaming prepubescent fangirls on the studio floor itself, we were treated to snacks and beverages. They were a nice touch, especially when we realized that we needed something to munch and sip for the show. But not the show we were expecting.
No, our focus was not on Greyson Chance and band. Chance is a nice enough bloke blessed with fine pipes, mad piano skills and the charm of a seasoned idol. His drummer and guitarist were great too – veterans of the circuit most likely, judging from their accommodating vibes and the ability to blend into the background in favor of the main star himself. Yes, they put on a good show but we were all transfixed on something else entirely: the fangirls.
Let me just say something about fangirlism – it’s just as dangerous and potent as any extremist putting their utmost faith and putting down their whole lives in devotion into one subject, be it religion or anime. These girls were… Scary. Their eyes, glazed over. Arms locked into the direction of their effigy. Knees wobbly but steady with excitement. Vocabularies replaced only with screams. And they were all not even teenagers yet.
Out of the sanctity (and safety) of the interview room and on to the stage, Greyson Chance was still gracious and um, nice. He constantly spoke to his rather insane crowd, even if they were trying to pull his shirt and jacket or throw brassieres onstage (this happened).
It was a difficult scene to fathom but our minds were already conditioned through years of cynical TV shows and films – it was all so wrong but so fascinating. It was fascinating to see them crying every time Greyson smiled. It was fascinating to see them screaming a few decibels too loud and a few pitches too high every time Greyson started a song.
Still, Greyson pulled through the set, delighting his fans further with early material like ‘Waiting Outside The Lines’ and the “oldie but goodie” – ‘Unfriend You’. Still the fans screamed for more. And when he ended with latest single ‘Sunshine and City Lights’, even behind our glass window, Greyson was clearly exhausted.
As we had spent the entire night in a Panopticon, drinking beer, eating chips, and reading amusingly inappropriate signs on flatulence, we wondered at times if we were on the right side of the glass window, but we know that our heart goes out to Greyson and how he had braved the spotlight of MTV Sessions, and the fangirls.
MTV Sessions with Greyson Chance premieres on MTV Asia, Saturday, Dec 1, 6pm
Text: Delfina Utomo & Ilyas Sholihyn