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YouTuber Terrell Grice has built a loyal 2.3 million online following asking celebrities to play a singing game. Here's how he did it.

Animated photo collage featuring images of Terrell Grice, an American singer-songwriter and YouTuber
Terrell Grice.Photo Courtesy of Terrell Grice; Alyssa Powell/Insider
  • Terrell Grice is a musician and YouTuber who hosts "The Terrell Show."

  • Musicians like Kelly Clarkson, Michelle Williams, and Keke Palmer have all made appearances.

  • He spoke to Insider about his career and living authentically — both online and in real life.

I can hear Terrell Grice before I can see him.

"Happy Wednesday!" Grice says genially over a Zoom call on a sleepy August morning. "Good to meet you, love."

When his video flickers on, Grice, 30, is wearing a calm smile and a lime green hoodie that brightens the nearly all-white room he's sitting in. It's the morning after Grice filmed the season six finale of his eponymous YouTube series, "The Terrell Show," featuring Kelly Rowland.

Rowland's episode is the pièce de résistance of Grice's finale week, which featured new episodes centered on two women Rowland knows well. Her former Destiny's Child band members, LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson, also sat against Grice's now-iconic blue wall. Making it nearly complete, the YouTuber also re-aired his past interview with Michelle Williams.

As of October, Grice has amassed over 1.26 million YouTube subscribers after premiering five years ago, coupled with 1.1 million followers across social media.

"Season six has been the most monumental season thus far," the 30-year-old musician and host said. "The guests this season have been incredible, but also the life lessons. The relatability of this season is so high."

He added: "It's the most healing season yet."

Among the thousands of grainy footage uploaded to YouTube, "The Terrell Show" stands out. Grice is known for sitting in front of a blue backdrop — usually with a cocktail in hand — while getting his guests to play a version of "Song Association." Grice asks them to sing a song with a featured word, only giving them 10 seconds to sing a song with the word in it. The exchange often turns into candid discussions about the musicians' personal lives and artistry.

Music giants like Kelly Clarkson, Keke Palmer, and Cynthia Erivo have also graced Grice's studio — a feat he knows is usually reserved for A-list hosts with large productions.

His banter is playful, his questions are direct — but never intrusive — and his personability makes what would be standard interviews feel like a FaceTime among friends. The secret to his success, according to Grice, is authenticity.

Grice says he's a perfectionist but hopes his show helps viewers 'get out of your own way'

In the February 2022 season five premiere, Grice told fans he felt he lacked purpose and was "getting ready to give up on life" during a difficult period. Grice shared that months before shooting the first episode of "The Terrell Show," his father died in a motorcycle accident, and he came out to his family, whose reactions were "pretty bad," he said.

Grice told Insider that when he thought about the theme for season six, which premiered in March, he knew it would be to "get out of your own way." It's a mantra he now abides by, he said, but it wasn't always that way.

Terrell Grice
Terrell Grice has interviewed Keke Palmer and Cynthia Erivo.Courtesy of Terrell Grice

"I'm such a perfectionist, and my attention to detail is so high, and it is a gift and a curse," he told Insider. "It has been something that has slightly plagued my professional career."

Grice said the ability to interview legendary artists with limited resources isn't lost on him. He's proud of the viral work that he and his team can accomplish.

"I look up to these shows like the Fallons and the Kimmels," Grice said. "They had multimillion-dollar budgets. They have a hundred people on staff every day, and they make that work. We do a similar thing on digital with four people and no budget."

Grice said he sometimes experienced imposter syndrome and wondered if he deserved his success.

"Am I wise enough? Am I studied enough? Am I skilled enough?" Grice said. "But boy, have I been working through that over the seasons. Don't look at Terrell and expect that I got it all figured out. No, I'm still in the middle of the night like, 'Oh my God, what's happening?'"

So when celebrities drop nuggets of wisdom on "The Terrell Show," Grice listens.

"We're all in therapy together," he said. "During the season finale, something happens in which it cracks a code live in my head, and I'm like, 'Oh my God, that was a perfect ending to this thing."

R&B artist K. Michelle echoed Grice's sentiment after appearing on his show in September.

"You made me so comfortable," she wrote on Grice's Instagram post that promoted the episode. "I needed our talk."

Celebrities arrive as guests and leave feeling like family

Celebrity interviews are transactional. Bold-faced names often need an outlet to promote projects, and hosts need guests to make their shows interesting. It's business, but Grice told Insider that's not necessarily true on "The Terrell Show."

Grice said he uses an "off the cuff" approach that helps keep guests at ease during the interview. He told Insider his team has never pre-screened a guest, and they often meet for the first time just minutes before the camera starts rolling.

"Every once in a while, I'll interview someone where I'm like, "You're not leaving my life," Grice said. Grice's fans know he's likely referring to stars like Palmer, Coco Jones, Tia Mowry, Durand Bernarr, and Amber Riley, to name a few.

Grice insisted that his connections on the show go "way deeper" than the average celebrity interview show. "The friendships that I've made from doing this show are lifelong friendships," he added.

Terrell Grice
Season six of "The Terrell Show" premiered in March.Courtesy of Terrell Grice

"It's because — and respect to the other shows — it's just how their format is set up," Grice continued, referring to traditional talk shows and their short interview windows.

"But here, we're sitting down for an hour and getting into everything that we can possibly get into in that amount of time," Grice added. "When they do leave, it feels like we both had a therapy session, so how can we not build a relationship from that?"

His path to healing included embracing his truth as a gay Christian man 

Grice doesn't shy away from controversial topics with his guests. Sexuality, religion, politics — nothing is off limits.

It helps that Grice is an open book himself. Grice's millions of viewers learned early on about his sexuality and his commitment to his faith — something, he told Insider, he initially thought wouldn't be well received online.

Grice, who has ties to North and South Carolina, said his faith is important and keeps him tied to his Southern roots. After graduating in 2013 from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, with a film studies degree, he began working a year later in TV production in Los Angeles. By 2017, Grice started posting on YouTube, sharing reaction videos to shows like Fox's "The Four. He launched "The Terrell Show" series in 2018.

"The initial struggles were trying to figure out if everybody can handle all those things being true for me at the same time," Grice said. "I would try to tamper down one or the other just to see, 'How far can I take this part of me?'"

The only way forward, he learned, was to be unapologetically himself.

"It was my individual conversations with God that gave me clarity. Once I started 'The Terrell Show' when I was 25 years old, we were already comfortable with ourselves," Grice said. "My connection was already there, so there wasn't nothing anybody could tell me about that."

Being so vocal inspired some of his viewers to become comfortable with their spirituality and sexuality.

"They see my confidence in both arenas. I can go inside of a church, and I can also go inside of a gay club and live my life in both places because there is nothing that anybody in any of those places can tell me that's going to separate me from either community," Grice said. "I am a strong member of both."

Looking back on his growth as an artist and public figure, Grice wishes he could tell his past self one thing: "You belong here."

"I would tell young T, 'You belong here,'" Grice said. "You're talented. This is your gift to the world."

Read the original article on Insider