Following the release of his new single 'The Mountain Is You', we chat to Chance Peña about the climb to success - from singing on The Voice to soulful songwriting with John Legend.

At 23, Chance Peña is proving that age is just a number in the music industry. The American singer-songwriter’s journey to a rising star goes far beyond viral hits, though his track ‘In My Room’ has racked up 245 million streams. Chance’s most recent release ‘The Mountain Is You’ is an arresting alt-folk cut which speaks to the journey and obstacles the artist has faced on his winding, milestone-filled road to success. 


Hailing from Tyler, Texas – the place which he assures me, will always remain home – Chance has grown comfortable leaving his comfort zone, it’s why he spends a few months each year in Los Angeles, to explore new ideas and creative realms. At just 15, Chance was singing on TV as a contestant on The Voice, he’s been taking every opportunity since, from co-writing a song with the legendary John Legend, to introducing himself to London with a sell-out show at SCALA.


All the experiences manifest in his work as an independent outfit today. Post The Voice stint, a publishing company signed Chance to write music for film and TV as well as other established artists, but he never lost sight of personal ambitions and continued crafting his own musical identity – a blend of old-soul folk that’s raw, emotive, and profoundly authentic. Single after single, Chance’s musical catalogue is expanding and with it, a willingness to be vulnerable and connect more deeply with listeners. 


Looking back now, Chance is grateful for the lessons learned and confidence earned from seeing the insides of America’s best-known singing talent TV show, he shares, “I realized how the industry actually works – it’s not all petals and roses… The show showed me how fake showbusiness and Hollywood can be.” Most of all, the experience fuelled determination to make a lasting career of his music talent, he explains, “I quit the football team to be a musician,” emphasizing his realisation that hard work, over talent, was the richest currency in the industry.


Fortunately, Chance has both and was recognised for it when ‘Conversations In The Dark’, the John Legend track he contributed to, earned him a coveted gold record. For the young Texan talent, success isn’t measured by fame or fortune, but the response of the everyday listener as well as the catharsis writing songs offers him. Woven with life-lessons, Chance’s folk ballads and soul-stirring vocals exist to offer some solace; “I hope that these songs help somebody…deal with the things in their own lives, whatever that may be. At the end of the day, when I put a song out, it’s no longer mine – it’s yours.”


Tap into our conversation with Chance to learn about the making of ‘The Mountain Is You’, the festival he dreams to play, and what’s next. 

Your new single ‘The Mountain is You’ is about overcoming obstacles, can you talk about the process of writing the song – did it enable you to overcome your own obstacles?

This song started with a voice memo recording of an organ from a churches turned venue we played at in Portland. I loved how it sounded and thought that recording could be a short outro for a project, but as I was listening to it over and over the opening lines to the song came to me and I just started writing and recording stuff having no clue where I was going. I was just throwing ideas at the wall for like 8 hours one day and by the end of it this song was there. It definitely helped me find myself again creatively after a few months of being uncertain

Going back to the moment your career kicked off – you went on The Voice in 2015, how do you feel about the experience reflecting on it now and what do you consider the positives and negatives to come out of this mega TV singing competition?

Honestly I think of it very fondly. No negatives for me come to mind. I was young and it showed me what was heights possible, and as soon as I got off the show I got to work.

Growing up in Texas, who was musically inspiring you? 

My biggest influence has to have been the lumineers. And I know everyone who makes the kind of music that I do probably says that, but when I look at the pieces of what makes up a chance song, it’s the guitar playing, the looseness in the structure, the vocal energy, and just overall freedom and emotion, which is all stuff I learned from listening to their music

How has being in LA affected your creativity?

I’m still based in Texas but spend a few weeks out of the year in LA. Texas is home, it’s where my heart is, but LA has been great for getting me out of my comfort zone, and has brought a few great relationships into my life

You’ve dipped your toe into so many areas of the music industry, from a TV competition to composing music for film and writing songs for other artists. What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learnt along the way? 

Honestly the biggest lesson is “work hard when it’s hard to work”. For the longest time if an opportunity presented itself and didn’t appear to get me closer to my goals, I would pass, there’s something to that whole “grind set” stuff people talk about. Really it’s just consistency. To do this music thing it takes a lot of hard work, and most people know that but not everyone realizes how much it actually takes

At only 24, you’ve already achieved so much, how do you cope with the pressure to keep it up

I try to maintain a balance of working hard and enjoying life without slowing down. It’s definitely a line I’m still learning to walk. The pressure is definitely there but it comes from me wanting to put do myself as opposed to external forces.

You cite human connection as the principal motivation of the music your making now, where are you at with achieving this?


I mean I just want people to feel related to. What I pour into my music are emotions I’ve experienced and I, being human, feel the same things everyone else does and sometimes it’s hard to articulate what you’re feeling, so when you hear someone put what you’ve felt into words and sounds it hits home

Being an artist who makes heartfelt, mostly melancholic songs, I’m curious to know, what are you listening to get hyped or dance?

Hate to break it to you but I don’t dance, at least without motivation haha. This is probably a boring answer but I’m generally in a bright mood and being around my people keeps me in good spirits.

What is one venue or festival you dream of performing at?

Oh red rocks, one hundred per cent. Seems like it’d be a hell of a night performing there

What are you most looking forward to in 2024?

Really just releasing these songs I’ve been working on and getting back on the road. Specifically getting back to Europe.

What’s next for Chance Peña?

Next for me is living life, making music, and loving it all along the way.

Listen to 'The Mountain Is You' by Chance Peña now:

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