From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Greyson Chance returns to Oklahoma play benefit show
For the second year, the rising music star, 14, is partnering with Edmond Santa Fe High School to perform a charity concert, this time on behalf of Peggy & Charles Stephenson Oklahoma Cancer Center at the OU Health Sciences Center.
In another life, Greyson Chance might have spent a recent Tuesday afternoon riding through the suburban streets of Edmond rather than the jammed urban roadways of Los Angeles.
Although the past two years have taken the 14-year-old singer/songwriter/pianist down a different path, Chance is maintaining his connections to his hometown and home state.
For the second straight year, the rising music star will partner this weekend with Edmond Santa Fe High School, along with local radio station KJ-103, to play a local benefit show.
He could hardly turn down the invitation, considering it came from one Alexa Chance.
“The thing is, my sister goes to Santa Fe High School and is a part of the Student Council. You know, we did an event for them last year, and it went so well that they’ve offered an invitation for me to come back,” he said in a phone interview last Tuesday while stuck in L.A. traffic en route to the studio.
“This is for her and for the cancer research, and we’re just gonna raise a lot of money. It’s gonna be really good and we hope we can save some lives with this concert.”
Chance will perform Saturday night at the Coca Cola Bricktown Events Center, with all proceeds of the all-ages show going to the Peggy & Charles Stephenson Oklahoma Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
The show, which also will feature Edmond-based pop rockers At Long Last and Oklahoma City jazz-pop musician Denver Duncan with local rapper Jabee, will serve as a precursor to Santa Fe’s Double Wolf Dare Week annual charity fundraiser. Chance helped raise $40,000 last year by performing two concerts at the school during Double Wolf Dare, which earned a total of $198,000 for local charities.
“It’s been an amazing blessing to be able to put on a show, that’s what I love to do, and to be able to give all that money to cancer research. … It’s super important to me,” he said. “And I get to really show everybody in Oklahoma what I’ve been doing the past two years and get to show my friends. So it’s fun to be able to get onstage and perform for my hometown.”
The past couple of years have been packed with amazing blessings for Chance, whom Billboard in 2011 dubbed “the thinking man’s Justin Bieber.” The Edmond adolescent became an overnight Internet sensation back in spring 2010 when a YouTube video of his piano-and-voice cover of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” went viral. He soon became the first artist signed to Ellen DeGeneres’ boutique label eleveneleven. The talk-show host served as executive producer of his debut album, “Hold on ‘Til the Night,” which cracked the Top 40 in its first week of release last August.
“She’s been so very involved and is always there when we need her. She’s guided me through this whole thing and has been a very good mentor and a very good friend,” he said.
“I remember the first time I met her, she told me never to change. And I really took that to heart.”
That creed is echoed in his latest single, “Hold on ‘Til the Night,” which happens to be one of the six songs he wrote or co-wrote on his debut album.
“When I was writing it, that’s when Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ and Katy Perry’s ‘Firework,’ and all these different records they were just such feel-good records. And I wanted to make something that was a little bit more real that fit my style, and it really worked out well. I wrote that for a listener, not really for me,” he said. “I just wrote it for everybody who was gonna listen to it. I just wanted to make something that was going to make them feel strong and courageous.”
In between writing, recording and touring for his debut album, Chance last year performed at the White House Easter Egg Roll, played during Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin’s inaugural festivities and made his first foray into acting. So far, the former Edmond Cheyenne Middle School student has appeared on two episodes of the Fox sitcom “Raising Hope,” playing a younger version of the single-dad protagonist, coincidentally named Jimmy Chance (Lucas Neff).
“It is so much fun. I always love going up there. We have such a blast. Everybody has just treated me with such kindness and respect. All the actors on the show, the crew, the production team, everybody has been just been so generous and just very warm, so I kind of feel like I have family there now,” Chance said.
“I’m very excited to say that I’m going to be making a trip back to the ‘Raising Hope’ set very, very soon. … You’re gonna see me at the end of this season; that’ll be a little hint.”
He may be growing up before our eyes, but Chance maintains a boyish enthusiasm for harboring secrets. For instance, he won’t specify what had him heading back into the studio on that recent Tuesday, only that he is working on a lot of new music but refers to keep the details “a big surprise.”
“Mysteries, mysteries,” he said with a laugh. “I like keeping secrets … I’m very excited about it, so I’ve just been working, working, working. You’ll see it pretty soon.”
With: At Long Last, Denver Duncan and Jabee.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Where: Coca Cola Bricktown Events Center, 429 E California Ave.
Benefits: Peggy & Charles Stephenson Oklahoma Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Information and tickets: www.stubwire.com or (877) 990-7882 (STUB).