Grace VanderWaal Reflects on 'AGT' Win & Reveals New Album Plans: 'I Feel Like I Found My Sound'


Sept. 14 marked the two-year anniversary of Grace VanderWaal's America's Got Talent win at simply 12 years previous. The now-14-year-old has confirmed that her younger age isn't holding her again from attaining huge issues: Since her win, VanderWaal has launched a full-length album (2017's Just the Beginning), received the Rising Star Award at Billboard's Women in Music, together with a Radio Disney Music Award and Teen Choice Award, and most not too long ago, toured with Imagine Dragons.

While her achievements are definitely admirable, for VanderWaal, they're as relieving as they’re thrilling.

"After successful, I used to be so scared. I used to be like, 'What do I do now?'" she remembers. "I used to be simply afraid of being simply one other contestant winner. It was my greatest worry to be like, 'Remember that woman with the ukulele?' and folks being like, 'Oh yeah, I bear in mind her. Whatever occurred to her?'"

To proceed making certain that she's not simply "one other contestant winner," VanderWaal's subsequent enterprise is a collaboration with Fender, launching her signature line of ukuleles on Oct. 2. And after that, the teenager star will make her appearing debut in Disney's Stargirl, all of the whereas making extra music that she intends to launch as a part of a brief album across the identical time because the movie's launch.

VanderWaal clearly isn't stopping anytime quickly, and Billboard caught up with the singer simply earlier than her two-year AGT anniversary to listen to about her most surreal moments and what's subsequent.

How would you evaluate the place you're at now to the place you noticed your self going after successful America's Got Talent two years in the past?

I feel that I’d be actually completely happy seeing myself now. I've completed a lot, have carried out so many tasks, and have labored with such superb individuals. I'm very happy with myself, nevertheless it feels totally different as a result of I've tailored to it. It's my life now.

I'm certain there's 1,000,000 issues you would say, however is there a second that has felt essentially the most surreal to you?

I normally get an inventory of those that I can invite to my exhibits, and Selena Gomez was on the listing. I at all times check out everybody — more often than not individuals say no as a result of I'm Grace Vanderwaal; I'm not Beyoncé. She stated sure, and I felt like that was so surreal, as a result of I don't see her as an individual — that [sounds] horrible, however I don't see her as individual; I see her as Selena Gomez. It was very surreal. Selena Gomez checked out my title and stated, “Yes.”

[Touring with] Imagine Dragons is basically excessive up there too.

Did you be taught something from touring with them?

What I've realized most is simply be form to everybody you’re employed with, as a result of they honestly are form to everybody they work with, and I don't suppose they understand what meaning to their opener or the opener's staff. I've met so many individuals and I used to be like, "Wow, you weren’t what I anticipated," and I by no means take a look at them the identical. When somebody is good to you or form to you and even provides the slightest little bit of consideration, it's simply actually cool. Then you see them in that manner. I'll endlessly take a look at Imagine Dragons and listen to them on the radio and suppose, "They're nice individuals."

I noticed you at Madison Square Garden, and everybody was so into your set. I really feel like a whole lot of instances with openers, there's most likely a whole lot of nervousness that individuals received't present up.

Oh, I do know all too nicely. Some nights I’d exit, and it might actually be like 10 individuals, as a result of they're all there to see Imagine Dragons, not me. They'd be like, "When are you going to get off?" And then different nights individuals had been actually into it and having fun with it. But I feel I favored that extra, as a result of it made it extra rewarding after I received consideration.

Was there a present that basically stood out to you?

Chicago had one of the best crowd. They actually favored me, for some cause. [Laughs] That was tremendous rewarding.

Now that you simply're carried out with the tour, I noticed that you simply're engaged on new music — something you possibly can share?

I've made songs and I wish to launch one or two singles whereas I'm filming Stargirl, after which after Stargirl, I wish to launch the primary single main into an EP or brief album. That's my plan proper now — I’ve all of it strategically deliberate. I wish to make that huge single proper after Stargirl, and that'll be the primary music on the album. I'm nonetheless ending the brief album.

What are you able to trace concerning the vibe of your upcoming stuff?

I'd say I really feel like I discovered my sound. Before, I used to be sort of all over — my first album, you possibly can hear me discovering my sound, and now I really feel prefer it's good. Like, “She is aware of who she is.”