Meet the 19 year old songwriter named Chance Peña, who just released his debut EP anxiety & mixed emotions on 9/27.
Chance Peña has cultivated a unique style of traditional storytelling infused with modern musical influences. After building a following by writing and performing in his hometown, the young talent competed on season 9 of NBC’s The Voice at just 15. His experience on the show and working with coach Adam Levine further advanced his knowledge and confidence as an artist. When the show wrapped, Chance began working with Secret Road Music Publishing as a songwriter and saw immediate sync success. His music has been featured on many shows and promos including ABC’s Nashville, Freeform’s Siren, The CW’s Roswell and in the feature film Five Feet Apart.
Learn more about Chance Pena in the following All Access interview-
Thanks for your time! So what does a typical day look like for you now?
A typical day… Usually starts with me telling myself I need to fix my sleep schedule. For some reason my most productive times are between 10pm and 4am. I don’t know why, but I feel the most creative when the world around me is asleep. Typically I wake up, make some coffee, and reply to emails and all that good stuff. Then I write and produce the rest of the day, try to fit in an hour at the gym somewhere in between. For the rest of today, I’m finishing up a track I started last night. You might be able to hear it soon, unless it gets lost in the depths of my hard drive before I get around to releasing it. This week, I’ve got a couple shows around Texas that I’m prepping for and I’ve got some family coming in town so I’m looking forward to a couple days of family time later this week.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment that you decided to be a musician?
As long as I can remember music has been in my life. My parents aren’t musical, but at some point before I was born my dad had bought a guitar and tried to learn so we always had one around the house when I was little. I remember one day when I was 4 or 5, I just picked up the big ol’ acoustic, laid it flat on my lap and played it as best I could. I was just memorized by the sound of the instrument. When I was 15, I auditioned for The Voice, and that experience really opened my eyes to the intricacies of the industry. That was the first time where I was like “okay, I could actually do this for real”. Even before that though I knew music was the path for me. It was the only thing I could get totally lost in and I absolutely loved it. A career in making music wasn’t necessarily a choice I made. It was just IT. Nothing has ever pulled at me like music does and I’ve never questioned that pull. I loved it when I was 11 years old playing songs for my family, writing songs in my bedroom that no one would ever hear and I just kept doing it, and I’m still doing it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing? Would you be as fulfilled in life?
Music is my one & only. There’s never been anything that’s made me question that. HOWEVER, and this is super random, if the opportunity arose to where I was able to be on the crew of a starship and explore unknown worlds I would do that hands down. I’d bring a guitar of course.
Let’s talk about your recently released debut EP “anxiety & mixed emotions.” What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
Putting this project together was a labor of love. Before I started on this project I had wanted to put an EP together for a long time and juggled a lot of different ideas. I even benched two whole projects before I landed on this one. They just didn’t feel right to me. The first one I scrapped was a sort of precursor to “anxiety & mixed emotions”. Similar sounds and subject matter, but at the time I had a lot more growing to do personally and musically. I consider that first scrapped project to be part of the process of that led to the project that’s out in the world today. The 2nd scrapped project was in the midst of me growing and learning about myself and my music, and it taught me to TRUST MYSELF. To not second guess my gut feeling when it comes to creating. And after all of that, I just wrote and wrote and wrote. Then suddenly I had the songs that I knew were right, and “anxiety & mixed emotions” fell into place. The timing, the songs, and where I’m at in my own personal life lined up and I knew this was the project I’d been searching for. It was me, and I had to find myself before I could express myself. In hindsight, all that back and forth that lead up to the EP was detrimental.
Can you talk about the inspiration behind the songs on this new collection? What was it like putting it together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
The inspiration behind each song is all things I’ve dealt with internally and externally this year. Being anxious to embrace the wild ahead, trying to find balance, dealing with questioning my place and value, and struggling to maintain relationships. It’s all in there. The stage of life I’m in right now can be a crazy one and these songs really helped me process everything I was going through.
What was it like being on season 9 of NBC’s The Voice? What did you learn from that experience? Would you recommend being on it to others just getting started in the music industry?
The Voice was such a great experience for me, I wouldn’t trade that time in my life for the world. It was the first time I was around like-minded people, let alone musicians, my age. I learned so much about the industry because before that whole experience I had no clue about the intricacies of the music business. I’d say if it peaks your interest as someone just starting out in music give it a try. I cherish those memories because of the friends I made and the things I learned, if that’s something you’re after go for it!
Can you talk about your experience working with Secret Road Music Publishing?
Secret Road was the first company within the industry I had a relationship with, and thankfully so. Every single person on the SR team is a genuine, music loving soul and I’m so grateful to be apart of such an amazing group of people. If it weren’t for secret road, and the amazing people I met there like Wayne Davis, Katie Jelen, Lynn Grossman, and many others, I don’t know where I’d be today. I’ve learned and done so much with them by my side and I look forward to everything that’s to come!
Where can people see you perform next? Do you have any fall tour dates scheduled yet?
At the moment I have a couple shows around good ol’ Tejas in the next couple weeks, but other than that I’ll be getting everything ready for my move to LA first of this coming year! 2020 is tour time for me, so y’all keep an eye out and I hope to see you at a show!
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started making music?
I’ve grown so much since I first started making music. That’s one of the things I love about it. You have the freedom to change and grow at whatever pace and however you please. It’s also super cool to be able to look back on things I did 2 or 3+ years ago and see how much I’ve grown. Listening to a song I did when I was 16 or something has the same effect as looking at an old picture of yourself, but instead of “wow what was I thinking with this haircut” its “what was i thinking with this snare sample”. Over the years I’ve really learned to trust myself and to not let my own or other’s preconceived notions hold me back.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
My two biggest inspirations and all time favorite artists/bands are Kid Cudi and The Lumineers. I would love to work or even just write and be creative in the same room as both of them as well as the GOAT Billie Eilish and THE man Post Malone. Every single one of them seem like real genuine people making music for the sake of the music and expression.
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
If I had an unlimited budget for a music video there would definitely be a CGI dragon in it. I don’t know how it would be relevant to the song, but I’d make it work. I’d have Danny McBride as Kenny Powers in it for sure too, probably riding the dragon. On a more reasonable note, I’d love to film something in Iceland at some point. It’s such a beautiful, untamed landscaped and I think it’d be amazing to create something there.
Where would you love to hear a song of yours played? Where has been the coolest place that your music has been featured?
I’m not picky with this one. My goal has always been for my music to help anyone who hears it in even the smallest way, I’m a firm believer in music being a form of healing. That being said, I think it’d be really cool to be at a restaurant or store or something and hear one of my songs come on the speakers all of the sudden. That would be like a “oh LAWD, I’m really out here” type moment. And the coolest place my music has been featured? All Access of course *wink wink 😉