New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

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Greyson Chance Comes of Age in Deeply Personal ‘portraits’ Tour

Pop-rock sensation Greyson Chance played at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre on Friday to promote his latest album, “portraits.”
Greyson Chance’s new album cover for “portraits” (via Facebook)

In 2010, a YouTube video of Greyson Chance performing Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” at his sixth-grade talent show launched him to fame.  Since then, his video has amassed over 64 million views and kicked off his music career. He has since released “Hold On ‘til The Night” in 2010, “Truth Be Told, Part 1” in 2012 and “Somewhere Over My Head” in 2016.

A decade later, the pop-rock sensation played at New York’s Gramercy Theater on Friday to promote his latest album “portraits,” which Chance considers his debut album.

The show was held in a dark, compact theatre, offering an added sense of intimacy. The stage was very simple. A grand piano stood alone on-stage, and a minimalist banner with “portraits” written in Chance’s cursive hung in the background.

Chance opened his performance with the hook to his popular single “shut up” echoing through the theatre as blue and white beams of light blanketed the stage. His one-man accompaniment began playing the song’s signature electronic baseline that mimics the sound of a heartbeat before Chance ran up to the center microphone and sang the rest of the lyrics along with the audience.

Throughout the show, a singing Chance alternated between making exuberant movements on his feet and delicately fingering the keys of the piano. At one point, he even leaped off the stage to shake the hands of his screaming fans.

Chance’s rawness invited his audience to empathize with his vulnerability. His music strives to create an authentic connection between him and his fans which had been absent in his past albums.

“Portraits” proves to be an insight into the personal life of the 21-year-old artist. The title was inspired by the idea that each track is a portrait, a snapshot of your emotions captured at a certain moment in your life. As a result, the songs in Chance’s album represent moments of personal growth where he was compelled to reflect on his relationship with his family, his former partner, his friends and himself.

There is a kind honesty that Chance infuses into his lyrics. His album traverses life’s ups and downs with an appreciation for the sweet and a newfound wisdom drawn from the unexpected bitterness. “shut up” is the first song Chance wrote for the album and it tells a familiar tale of adolescent romance and the feeling of wishing to never lose the person you love over an argument.

In an effort to encourage his fans to keep going even when life knocks you down, another song, “Seasons,” is an anthem for those who need to move forward and learn from the past instead of regretting it. In his recent concert, Chance even included a song he dedicated to a dear friend entitled “Good As Gold” about individuals who have been mired in events beyond their control and need to be reminded of their worth.

It is evident in his music that Chance grounds himself in his relationship with his mother and her advice to not lose himself in his journey to becoming a good man. The true Greyson Chance is emerging into the spotlight and we’re all on the edge of our seats, ready to see what comes next.

Chance’s full-length album “portraits” is set to release March 15 with AWAL, the independent record label popularly known for signing Kim Petras, LAUV, Tom Misch, Deadmau5 and AlunaGeorge.

His 2019 North America tour has remaining dates scheduled for Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tulsa, Dallas, Austin, Denver, Seattle and Vancouver.

Email Holly Grace Jamili at [email protected].

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