Greyson Chance is speaking out about being “abandoned” by his former mentor Ellen DeGeneres, who essentially gave the musician his claim to fame when she hosted him on “The Ellen Show” after his rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” went viral on YouTube in 2010.
“I’ve never met someone more manipulative, more self-centered and more blatantly opportunistic than her,” Chance told Rolling Stone, noting that the host “completely abandoned him” in the subsequent part of his career in 2012.
After taking on Chance as somewhat of a protégée, DeGeneres set him up for excellence in what Chance’s mom called “a big explosion.” The host gifted him $10,000 and a new piano, signed him to a record label she co-created and connected him with managers, a publicist and a brand agent.
“I remember her pulling my mom aside and saying, ‘You’re never going to have to work again a day in your life,’” Chance told the publication, adding that DeGeneres had told his mother, “I’m going to protect you. I’m going to be here for you. We’re going to do this together.”
Along the journey to success, however, DeGeneres became “domineering and way too controlling,” with Chance explaining that she had a “hidden eye” over his career. “My whole week, my whole month, my whole year could change [with] one text message from her,” he said, recalling an incident when DeGeneres initiated a complete change to a performance after not approving of it.
This need for control even extended to Chance’s wardrobe, including insisting that he could not wear leather. “She would come in and look at a rack, yell at stylists, berate people in front of me and say, ‘This is what you’re wearing on the show,’” he said. “She was just degrading to people.”
However, DeGeneres’ behavior shift in Nov. 2012, when the singer’s “Truth Be Told, Part 1” didn’t do as well as expected. The musician stopped hearing from his stacked team of managers and publicists and DeGeneres “completely abandoned” him, even to the point of not answering his calls.
Though Chance went back on the show after 2012, the tides had certainly changed. “She wouldn’t even ask, ‘How are you doing? How are you holding up?’ It was just like, ‘Here’s what we’re going to talk about. We’ll see you on there,'” Chance said.
Chance appeared on “The Ellen Show” more than 12 times, including in 2019 to promote a new song, even after Interscope dropped the artist and his team disintegrated.
Sources on Degeneres’ team said that Chance’s claims were not the experience they had with the singer, explaining that Chance did not make any complaints during that time and continued to appear on the show ahead of launching new projects. The individuals also suggested that Chance might be using the opportunity to air his grievances ahead the launch of his new album.
Despite his claims against DeGeneres, Chance has nothing but positive things to say about fellow mentor Lady Gaga, noting that “she has been there for me in the ways that Ellen never was” and that she “always kept her door open to me.”
He recalled meeting the artist at her Monster Ball tour years before when she told him “I need you to have fun while you’re doing this. You’re 12 years old.”
A representatives for Lady Gaga did not immediately respond to a request by TheWrap for comment.
As the now 25-year-old reflected on the first part of his career, he noted that he owes “a lot of thanks to her and to that team.” But the reason why I’m here today talking about an album, I owe f—ing nothing to her,” he concluded.