Name: Terrell Grice
Hometown: Mullins, South Carolina
Blue wall, vocalists and liquor are a few words to describe the experience of watching the utterly hilarious and charismatic Terrell Grice and his show, The Terrell Show.
From attending film school to discovering the world of YouTube and its endless possibilities for self-expression, Terrell has transformed his channel into a platform that highlights incredibly talented artists and many of them are criminally underrated. He has brought on artists such as Amber Riley and Avery Wilson. After only starting in August 2018, Terrell has grown a following of over 150,000 subscribers and counting!
Ngozi Nwanji: You have such an ear for talent and I feel as though that comes from your love of gospel music; true vocalists are in that genre. But, from your videos I’ve seen that you’re also a fan of artists like Charlie Puth and Jessie J. So your taste ranges in different genres of music. While growing up what did your family listen to and how did it develop your own taste in music?
Terrell Grice: Well, you know I’m from the Carolinas and they ain’t listen to nothing but gospel. I had to sneak around and listen to other things. But, in terms of what I could listen to in the house we had lots of CeCe Winans, Mahalia Jackson, Donnie McClurkin, The Clark Sisters. When I got to high school that’s when I kind of branched out and discovered our good friend, Brandy. It was around the time of the Afrodisiac album and that was the first album that I could sing straight through. Then I found Toni Braxton, Michael Jackson, Mary J Blige, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey.
Which artists were popular in South Carolina around that time?
TG: We kept it ghetto, ratchet and sexy. Omarion, Chingy, Chamillionaire. The good ratchet stuff we loved if it wasn’t singing about Jesus, it was singing about somebody twerking.
When was your first true introduction into filming videos?
TG: I went to film school after I graduated high school and my first love for film was music videos. I always loved music and I always loved videos so I thought, I want to be a music director. I went to Full Sail in Florida, learned the basics and that’s when I shot my first few videos. But, they were nothing compared to what YouTubers would do. It was me practicing to be a music video director and I was shooting music videos and short films. I didn’t really start watching YouTube until like a year and a half ago.
What made you finally start getting into YouTube and its trends?
TG: I was intrigued by the digital world (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu) when they started creating their own original programming and I noticed how it was really becoming the next wave. Everything has its day and when I realized that the digital world was taking over and doing things that you would usually see on TV, that’s when I started becoming interested in it. And, seeing how these YouTubers were able to become brands and make deals with all these big companies. Like, it’s YouTube what the heck is going on?! So, I started watching so I could get caught up.
I know you have experience with reality television as a casting producer. Tell me about that.
TG: After film school I moved to L.A and that’s when I started producing reality TV shows; mainly casting for them. It’s really interesting how things in your life prepare you for other things. Because my main job in reality TV was to go find people to be on these shows whether that be chefs for Master Chef or singers for Showtime at the Apollo and The Voice.
I had to go find them, talk to them and understand their lives. So, I basically interviewed them to see if they were interesting enough to be on TV. What I didn’t know at the time that that was preparing me for [my channel]. At the time it was just my job, but now with all that practice I’m now doing interviews with all these artists. And, I guess now you can say I’m better at it because I used to do it as a 9 to 5 for years.
You just started on YouTube, but at the same time you’ve already grown such a mass following already. But, people don’t get to see the hard work that you put behind that. When did you first think of the idea of starting The Terrell Show?
TG: The Terrell Show kind of happened by accident, for sure. Because when I first started making videos in late 2017 before I officially launched the channel, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with YouTube. But, I knew I wanted to express myself through video in some way. So at the beginning, I was just throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what stuck. I was reviewing albums and some other random things.
And then in August of 2018, I was watching The Four on FOX and I just hit up one of the people from there, Noah, and I was like “Do you mind coming over to do a video with me? I would love to interview you”. I had never really done a formal interview on camera before so I was literally peeing my pants. So nervous. One thing led to another and one artist tells this artist that they had a great time and it just kind of snowballed. I didn’t even name it The Terrell Show. An artist on Instagram just said, “Yo! I just went to The Terrell Show and I had so much fun” and then it just became a thing. So, it kind of fell in my lap.
It seems like you’re just so comfortable interviewing these artists and you make them feel like they’re at home which is great to see.
TG: It’s so fun and I have really enjoyed learning from these other artists. When they come on the show they’re really their true self. They’re not in some type of formal interview setting where they feel pressure to be a certain thing. We shoot everything in my apartment, we have drinks as you know and it’s just real chill. You just get to know more about their lives as artists.
You’ve been growing on your channel since its launch, but what’s something now that you wish you would have known before about being a YouTuber?
TG: Always under all circumstances, be yourself. I think sometimes with new YouTubers they look around to other channels and they try to find examples of success. They try to find things that people love and turn it into their own channels. But, what’s really important to know is that success is subjective. It’s different for everybody. It would do you no justice to try to find examples and copy them. It works for them, but it ain’t gonna work for you. The best thing you can do is be yourself. Looking for inspiration is cool, but when inspiration becomes a full blown copy then it doesn’t really work.
At the beginning of my channel, I absolutely because I didn’t really know anything about YouTube tried to find things that I already saw work for other people. And, it did not work for me. I did not get any type of views or any type of play until I took the gloves off and I was like “You know what? I am gay. I am Black. I love Jesus. I love liquor. And, I love to talk! So here’s what we’re gonna do and if you like it, you like it and if you don’t, you don’t”.
What does the process of an artist coming to the “blue wall” look like?
TG: It’s really hard, I will not lie to you. I think people think that I just have the plug and that I just have everybody’s number in my phone. That I’m like, “Yo you wanna come through? Let’s shoot” and that is not the case. Every single artist that comes in there is a backstory of a hustle of trying to get them in.
I would say that it’s a little bit easier now than it was in the beginning because it’s an established show. People can now look at it and know what to expect. But, there’s still a lot that goes on. I usually will hit them up on whatever social media that I can get them to respond to me. I hunt them down and I give them a sales pitch of why I think that them being on my channel will be a fun time for them.
Sometimes they respond and it still doesn’t happen because they have managers, agents and they wanna make sure everything is cool because it’s not just them as a person, it’s their business. Once I get them to say yes, I let Roxy take over and she gives them the rundown of what the video will be like and all the information of when it will be out.
If they’re still on the line and want to do it, then we schedule it. And, that’s a journey on its own because everybody’s busy. It can take a couple weeks from the time of me reaching out to them to the time of them coming on. But, we’re working like every day. We’re working right now.
“Buy U A Drank’ by T-Pain, easy.
First song you covered?
“Stay” by Rihanna, I did that in college, I love that song.
First favorite music video?
“Scream” with Janet and Michael.
Who are a few artists that you want to see win in 2019?
TG: Normani is one. I think she’s super talented. All the Fifth Harmony girls really. I love Lauren, Dinah, all of them. I want to see them win individually. Tone Stith, an R&B artist. Gospel wise, I would love to see The Walls Group and Koryn Hawthorne. And, I just want an album from Rihanna. Can I just have one?
What can subscribers expect for the new year?
TG: Bigger. Everything is gonna be bigger this year. We’re working on some stuff that maybe you probably won’t notice it until the summertime. I am all about growth and evolution and always keeping things different. It’s so easy I’ve noticed on YouTube to do the same thing over and over again. It’s still fun, but it’s very easy to get complacent and your creativity can dwindle a bit. I always want to keep it fresh.
There’s definitely going to be things that have nothing to do with music on my channel this year which is going to be really interesting. Won’t tell you what it is yet, but it’s going to be so fun. I’m so excited to do it. Bigger sets. Bigger artists coming through. Bigger project ideas. Just next level.