It all started with red leather high-heeled boots.
Recording in Nashville, Greyson Chance found the perfect pair of boots. “I told my songwriters, ‘I just feel like I’m a Hellboy,’” he says, and there was the beginning of his next single.
“I think one of the best things about being an artist is, it’s truly up to you, it’s up to your interpretation,” says Chance. “Every day, when I walk into the studio, I have a blank canvas that I can work on, and that means that I can write about something super serious, something emotional, I can write about something light hearted, or an experience that I’ve had.”
“Hellboy” is a frisky romp through one devilishly sexy night (or nights), instigated by those fiery heels—and the after-effect of not being on tour. “We started talking more about that, and I was saying how I miss performing live, so we created this alter ego of this uber-confident version of ourselves. That’s what ‘Hellboy’ is to me, the form of myself that I get when I go on stage, and I haven’t really been able to unlock that during the pandemic. This song was a way for me to find that energy again.”
A follow up to Chance’s 2019 album Portraits—his second release following a pseudo retirement from music after his 2011 debut Hold on Til The Night, released when he was just 13 years old—the artist says he’s taking his time with this next body of work.
“I was very patient with myself, but wrote a ton of music,” says Chance. “It took me a while to find where I wanted to go creatively and conceptually. I’ve worked in this industry for 11 years now, and I told myself, ‘don’t rush it at this point. Take your time and be patient with the music.’”
He adds, “I’m excited to share this body of work, because I think these are the best songs that I got out of this year and a half of songwriting.”
When Portraits came together, Chance was determined was perfectly fine in his detachment from music, until the songs started formulating. “I found myself, after two years of being away from the industry, now all of a sudden being a full-time artist again,” says Chance. “The reason it took so long to get this collection of words together is that I noticed myself losing the thing that made ‘Portraits’ so great—that authenticity. I found myself listening to what was doing happening on the charts, and it took me quite a good chunk of 2020 to take a step back and trust myself, and my instincts, again.”
For Chance, every song starts on piano and unravels from there. Some songs take 10 minutes to write, but each is “case specific,” says Chance.
“I think I’m my best as a songwriter when I’m inspired by everything and open to be inspired by everything,” he says. “That’s a big sort of caveat as well. You have to remain open and accepting to look at the world around you, and be inspired by it.”
In the end, good pop music is authentic, says Chance.
“It’s true to form and it tells a good story,” he says. “There’s a lot of shit pop music, but there’s a lot of good pop music that tells a story and is authentic. If I have any goal for what a legacy would be as a songwriter and artist, I hope people can look back and say, ‘you know, he was honest in his work, and he’s authentic in his work.’ For me, that’s my thread. That’s my inspiration, always, and that’s what I’m standing on now.”