Grace VanderWaal is a 12-year-old singer, songwriter and ukulele player who became the youngest participant to win the reality TV talent show ‘America's Got Talent’ (AGT) in ten years. Winning AGT brought her 1 million dollar in prize money and a three-night headline act in an AGT show in Las Vegas. She is also set to feature in the very first holiday special from AGT in December. After winning AGT, she appeared on many talk shows and performed her original songs from the talent competition. She has made guest appearances on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show and on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’. Winning the AGT also escalated her into the list of 21 Under 21, "music's hottest young stars," by Billboard magazine. She announced on Instagram that a lyric video for her popular song "I Don't Know My Name" is in the works. She also teased her fans on Twitter about her upcoming album by posting pictures of her first professional recording session.
- Reportedly, Grace VanderWaal started composing her first song using a wireless microphone when she was only three years old. She, however, took singing and song writing seriously about a year before appearing on AGT. She wished to get a ukulele for her 11th birthday after watching YouTube videos of others, especially of Twenty One Pilots band member Tyler Joseph, playing the instrument. When her mother didn't take it seriously, thinking she would never play it, Grace bought one for herself with the money she received for her birthday. She soon started learning ukulele by watching YouTube videos. Even though she started performing at open mike events in her neighborhood, she performed on stage in front of a large crowd only after getting into AGT. She auditioned for the show with her original song "I Don't Know My Name." Her performance impressed Howie Mandel enough to win his "Golden Buzzer" act which sent her directly to the Live Shows. The video of her performance during the audition has received over 44 million views on YouTube, most for any AGT video.What Makes Grace VanderWaal So Special
- She originally started writing because she was "really bored" and writing songs was "fun" for her. While watching movies, she would often try to imagine what the character was feeling. Her urge to empathize with the characters onscreen became her inspiration for writing songs. She said that even though she has been writing songs for some time, she started sharing her songs with others only before getting into AGT. According to her, her songs provide a peek inside her head. All her performances on AGT were based on original songs she herself wrote. The song she sang for the audition, "I Don't Know My Name", is a song about finding a place in the world. The next song she performed, "Beautiful Thing", is a song dedicated to her older sister. The song "Clay", which she performed on the final, is a song about dealing with bullying. According to Judge Howie Mandel, she is the "most unique, brightest star to come out of one of these shows.” Right after her audition for AGT, judge Simon Cowell proclaimed that she could be "the next Taylor Swift." Even rock icon Stevie Nicks, who appeared on the final episode of the show, said that Grace has what it takes to go to the top. She received a bouquet of flowers from Taylor Swift after her win.Beyond Fame
- Being touted as "the next Taylor Swift" is bound to put a tremendous pressure on a kid. If the success of singers who previously won AGT is any clue, Grace might not have a smooth road ahead. However, what separates her from others is that her words are original and heartfelt. Her cool and quirky songs possess a depth that is exceptional for such a young age. She has already signed a deal with Columbia Records and is currently recording her debut album.Behind The Curtains
- Grace VanderWaal was born in Kansas, U.S and later moved to Suffern, New York. She lives with her mother Tina, father David, who is a vice president of marketing at LG Electronics, older brother Jacob, who is enrolled in Camden Military Academy, and older sister Olivia. Her sister is also her best friend. Talking about what she would do with her prize money, Grace said that she would donate part of the money to a charity, probably related to the music industry, and would like to buy a tree-house for herself and her sister. She has a number of pets including two dogs, a cat, and a hedgehog.Trivia
- She is lactose intolerant. She told in an interview that recently she became allergic towards dairy products and misses ice creams the most.