Chance, now 25, got his start on The Ellen DeGeneres Show at the age of 12.
It all started when Chance's mother posted a video of him performing Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" for his classmates at school. It didn't take long before representatives of The Ellen DeGeneres Show reached out to Chance's mom saying that Ellen wanted to feature him on the show the following day.
Chance told Rolling Stone:
"We just couldn’t believe what was happening. We were so unsure of what we were getting into, and the person that helped cure all of that skepticism and chaotic energy was Ellen."
Chance took his first flight to get to LA for that performance, and was greeted by an Ellen that seemed to have everything in the bag.
Here's Chance's appearance on DeGeneres' show when he was a 12-year-old:
Chance talked about how the actor and talkshow host reassured both him and his mother he would be successful.
"I remember her pulling my mom aside and saying, 'You’re never going to have to work again a day in your life.'"
To Chance, she said:
"I’m going to protect you. I’m going to be here for you. We’re going to do this together."
After his appearance on the show, Ellen gave Chance a brand new piano and $10,000, and signed him as the first act on her new record label eleveneleven.
She also set Chance up with all of the professional assistance he could need: 2 managers, a publicist, a booking agent, a brand agent.
During the months after first signing Chance, Ellen was always there for him but, as time wore on and Chance grew busier with touring, she grew more domineering.
She exerted a lot of control over his career and his life.
"My whole week, my whole month, my whole year could change [with] one text message from her."
Chance said she would even go so far as to control what he was allowed to wear.
"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.' She was just degrading to people."
Allegations of Ellen creating a toxic work environment have come from others as well, including several former employees, with one referring to her as "manipulative and opportunistic."
After Chance's 2012 project on eleveneleven tanked, he said that Ellen "completely abandoned" him, as did his management team and publicist. When he tried calling her, he never got a response.
Despite having been dropped like a hot rock, Chance has appeared on Ellen's show several times since 2012.
Of her behavior during these appearances, he said:
"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.'"
In 2019, Chance returned to Ellen to promote his latest project.
Chance released the single "Somewhere Over My Head" in 2015, at the age of 18, and appeared on Ellen's show to promote the EP. He said she told him she was proud of him on-air, but didn't even speak to him backstage.
After that EP, Chance decided to "retire" from music, choosing to attend the University of Tulsa and major in history as a way to give a big old metaphorical "middle finger to the industry."
He found himself drawn back to making music after the change of pace of college though, where he was able to experience music in a different light.
When he released his album Portraits in 2019, Chance made one last appearance on Ellen's show.
"She came out during soundcheck and she looked at me, hugged me. 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**king been? Where have you been?'"
When Ellen said she was proud of Chance for coming out as gay in in 2017, Chance was incredibly uncomfortable with the whole situation.
"She had nothing to do with that. […] I hadn’t spoken to her in years […] That’s so messed up, that you’re now showing the world as if we’re so tight. We’re so good. And behind the scenes, you are this insanely manipulative person."
After that appearance, Chance said he vowed never to appear on her show again.
In an appearance on the Zach Sang Show, Chance made it clear he would never return to the Ellen show.
Twitter users seemed largely unsurprised by Chance's characterization of Ellen.
Others expressed sympathy for Chance.
If you want a taste of what Greyson Chance has been up to lately, you can stream his newly released album Palladium on all major streaming platform.