After one year as a judge on “American Idol,” Ellen DeGeneres has certainly seen enough good and bad singing to know what she likes. And she likes Greyson Chance. On her television show today (May 26) she announced that she”s starting a record label, Eleven Eleven, and her first signing is, you guessed it, Chance.
Here”s the thing though, there”s so much of this that remains unclear that we”re trying to get answers about. First off, we and other places widely reported that Chance had signed with Interscope. Plus, we talked to a source who told us that Interscope chairman Jimmy Ienner had directly signed him and that Geffen chairman Ron Fair was handling A&R duties.
Here”s what we”re trying to figure out: Is DeGeneres”s label going through Interscope? Why did the rumors float out (which Interscope”s representative never confirmed for us) that Chance had signed with Interscope? Has this whole thing been a big media ploy all along going back to the original YouTube video of Chance performing “Paparazzi” at his Oklahoma school assembly and then appearing on DeGeneres’s show two weeks ago while Lady GaGa called in? (By the way, LG’s manager is now co-managing Chance, along with Madonna’s manager). Either this was all planned or Chance is the luckiest kid ever.
This is DeGeneres”s second go-round with a label. In the ’90s, she started an Atlantic-distributed label called Soda Jerk. I interviewed her about it for a Billboard story and she clearly knew music back then and was very actively pursuing a number of artists, one in particular, whom she lost to another label. I was impressed with her love of music, although she was still figuring out how to navigate the label system. Soda Jerk, which quietly went away, also put out “Taste This,” a recording of one of DeGeneres”s stand up shows.
We”ll update this story as we find out more.