“America’s Got Talent” season 11 winner Grace VanderWaal has been busy making the radio talk show rounds to promote her Billboard 200 Top 10 debut EP Perfectly Imperfect. On Jan. 23, the newly-turned teenager stopped by the Elvis Duran Show to perform her signature smash hit “I Don’t Know My Name” and offer up an amazing cover of Alessia Cara’s chart-topping anthem “Scars to Your Beautiful.”
VanderWaal, who is known for playing the ukulele, played the guitar 2016 People’s Choice Award-winning Breakout Artist Shawn Mendes gave her. Cara’s inspirational song about self-acceptance and body image seems fitting for young VanderWaal whose recent blast out of nowhere to earn Howie Mandel’s Golden Buzzer and subsequent AGT win is inspirational to women (and men) of all ages. She hit the stage and dazzled us all with her introspective “I Don’t Know My Name” original song, believing “miracles can happen” and anything is possible.
VanderWaal proved her own slogan by taking home the season 11 AGT crown. Since then, she’s garnered a boatload of critical acclaim and attention from her music industry peers including Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Jason Mraz and Shawn Mendes.
VanderWaal wows everyone with her keen lyrical prowess. Her song “Clay” mirrors Cara’s “Scars to Your Beautiful” love yourself message, in that VanderWaal boldly professes “I won’t mold/To your silly words/I won’t live inside your world/Cause your punches and your names/All your jokes and stupid games/They don’t work/No, they don’t hurt/Watch them go right through me/Because they mean nothing to me/I’m not clay.”
AGT judge and music mogul Simon Cowell predicted the wise-beyond-her-years singer-songwriter would become “the next Taylor Swift.” That’s a pretty tall order for the young star to live up to but Grace VanderWaal appears poised to take the artistic ball and run with it. She seems completely comfortable in her own quirky, creative skin. In a recent AXS interview she offered up some great advice to aspiring artists. She said, “Never give up, even if people turn you down and tell you aren’t the best, keep at it and be patient. I was turned down my whole life, but if it’s supposed to happen it will.”
VanderWaal admitted to Elvis Duran that she’s rather new at the guitar. In fact, she only played it live for the first time for an extraordinary Ed Sheeran cover of “The A Team” for Paste Magazine, which was also posted to YouTube on Jan 23. We could never tell she’s a beginner with that song or how easily she strums along to Cara’s song.
Overall, nothing about 13-year-old Grace VanderWaal comes off as “amateur.” She’s a consummate music professional who has made huge career strides in a very short time and we’re really stoked knowing she has a whole lot more to give.
Stay tuned to AXS for Grace VanderWaal updates.