Way was born in Summit, New Jersey, on April 9, 1977, the son of Donna Lee (née Rush) and Donald Way. He is of Italian and Scottish ancestry. Raised in Belleville, New Jersey, alongside brother Mikey Way, he first began singing publicly in the fourth grade, when he played the role of Peter Pan in a school musical production. His maternal grandmother, Elena Lee Rush, was a great creative influence who taught him to sing, paint, and perform from a young age; he has said that "she has taught me everything I know". Also, while in elementary school, the glam metal band Bon Jovi was instrumental in forming his love of music.