Greyson Chance Claims Ellen DeGeneres Was 'Insanely Manipulative' and 'Opportunistic' as His Mentor

·5 min read

Greyson Chance, who first appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show before signing to DeGeneres' eleveneleven label in 2010, is alleging that the daytime talk show host "completely abandoned" him after overseeing much of his early career.

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the former teen-pop prodigy alleged that DeGeneres was like a "hidden eye" in the early stages of his career and often came off as "controlling." After DeGeneres set him up with managers, agents and publicists, Chance said she eventually became distant once his music underperformed, and he was later dropped by the team.

"I've never met someone more manipulative, more self-centered and more blatantly opportunistic than her," Chance told the outlet.

Chance, who was the first artist to sign to Ellen's eleveneleven label in May 2010, secured the slot following his viral piano rendition of Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" and an appearance on the comedian's show.

After DeGeneres set him up with managers Troy Carter and Guy Oseary, a booking agent at WME, a publicist and a brand agent, according to Rolling Stone, the "Waiting Outside the Lines" singer — who appeared on the show at least 10 times up until 2019 — says DeGeneres became increasingly present in his professional life.

A rep for DeGeneres has not commented on Chance's claims.

Singer & songwriter Greyson Chance is seen backstage at The High Watt on July 17, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Singer & songwriter Greyson Chance is seen backstage at The High Watt on July 17, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Jason Kempin/Getty

However, a source close to the Ellen DeGeneres Show team tells PEOPLE they "went above and beyond to help set him up for success, but in business that doesn't always work out, and his career did not take off."

The singer's allegations come two years after DeGeneres was accused of leading a toxic work environment at the show in two BuzzFeed exposés. The accusations were addressed by DeGeneres in a monologue during which she apologized to the "people who were affected."

Chance, now 25, recounted instances of what he called Ellen's alleged "controlling" behavior, including a moment when she requested an advanced copy of Justin Bieber's 2011 Never Say Never documentary for him to watch. He said DeGeneres allegedly wanted him to view it, and after he got caught up in his 14- to 16-hour work days and couldn't find the time, DeGeneres got upset.

After discovering Greyson Chance nine years ago, Ellen catches up with the now 21-year-old musician on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” airing Thursday, April 4th. Greyson opens up about his decision to leave his music career behind to attend college and reveals why he chose to step back in the spotlight with a new record deal.
After discovering Greyson Chance nine years ago, Ellen catches up with the now 21-year-old musician on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” airing Thursday, April 4th. Greyson opens up about his decision to leave his music career behind to attend college and reveals why he chose to step back in the spotlight with a new record deal.

Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

DeGeneres, who Chance's mother Lisa told Rolling Stone could also be "a little controlling" about what the then-teen would wear, allegedly called her about the Bieber film and berated Lisa on the other end of the phone.

"I'll never forget this," Chance told Rolling Stone. "I just remember hearing on the other side of the phone, just yelling [and] beratement: 'What type of mother are you? Do you realize that I went out of my way to get this for you, and he can't sit down and watch it?'"

Things allegedly took a turn for the worse when Chance's music began to underperform around the release of his November 2012 project Truth Be Told, Part 1. After the project flopped, he claims Ellen "completely abandoned" him, which was followed by Interscope Records and the team that DeGeneres assembled dropping him as well.

"I couldn't get ahold of her. Couldn't talk to her," Chance claimed, noting that he was still asked back to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show multiple times but didn't feel as welcome. "Whenever I would come on the show, it was such a fake smile. 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 told the outlet her praise for him and his strength in coming out as gay during an appearance on her show in 2019 felt "cheap."

"She came out during soundcheck and she looked at me, hugged me," he alleged. "And she said, 'How have you been?' And that just killed me inside because I was like, 'What do you mean how have I f---ing been? Where have you been?"

Chance told Rolling Stone that The Ellen DeGeneres Show eventually called to have him be a guest during its final two weeks on air this past March. However, the singer says he passed on the opportunity to preserve his own "integrity."

"I think that Ellen is a businesswoman," Chance's mother, Lisa, said to Rolling Stone. "And if something isn't trending the way she wants it to, she's going to put an end to it because it's business for her. It's not warm and fuzzy. I don't think she invited people to be a part of her life or take someone under their wing like she did if she didn't want to see something come of it. If it wasn't moving fast enough for her, that's when she started to shut down or shut us out."

On Thursday, the singer shared his most recent studio album, Palladium, a 13-song project that marks his first since 2019.

"The first part of my career, I owe 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 said. "Because I was the one that had to pull myself up. She was nowhere to be found."