New York's Grace VanderWaal is a heartfelt pop singer best known for winning the 11th season of NBC's performance competition America's Got Talent. After releasing her first EP, Perfectly Imperfect, she issued her debut full-length, Just the Beginning, in 2017.
Born in Kansas in 2004, VanderWaal grew up in Suffern, New York, where she first showed interested in music around age three, singing on a wireless microphone. Later, she played saxophone in the school band and, at age 11, taught herself to play ukulele by watching online videos. Soon, she was writing her own songs and performing at local open-mic nights. In 2016, she successfully auditioned for America's Got Talent, performing her original composition "I Don't Know My Name." A popular competitor from the start, VanderWaal ultimately won the series, becoming the second female and second child to do so.
She signed to Columbia in 2016 and released her debut EP, Perfectly Imperfect, featuring her single version of "I Don't Know My Name." The album debuted at number nine on the Billboard 200 chart. She headed to the studio with a team of hitmaking composer/producers, including Greg Wells (Adele, Katy Perry) and Sean Douglas (the Chainsmokers, Demi Lovato), for her more vibrant full-length debut. Titled Just the Beginning, it hit number 22 in the U.S. and the Top 20 in Canada upon its release in November 2017. A headlining tour followed before she joined Imagine Dragons on their 2018 Evolve World Tour. A collaboration on Ingrid Michaelson's holiday album arrived late that year.
In early 2019, VanderWaal released the smoky single "Stray." ~ Matt Collar