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It's 'Just The Beginning' for 'AGT' 2016 winner Grace VanderWaal, according to the news.

Anyone who saw Grace VanderWaal, a 12-year-old ukulele-wielding singer-songwriter, perform her remarkably polished original melodies when she won "America's Got Talent" in 2016 knew it was "Just The Beginning" for the blossoming star. "The Next Taylor Swift," VanderWaal's debut full-length album, was released on November 3 by Columbia Records and Syco Entertainment, which is owned by Simon Cowell, one of the judges on "America's Got Talent," who dubbed VanderWaal the "next Taylor Swift" because of her catchy confessional songwriting style.

"'Don't change,' Simon once advised. That's what you're excellent at,'" says VanderWaal, now 13, who says she and her mother "made a totally spontaneous decision" to have her audition for the program and never expected to win.

VanderWaal wrote all the songs herself with her trademark ukulele (which she was introduced to by a family friend from Brazil) and put in her own sound suggestions, despite working with a long list of notable collaborators on the 12-track album, including Kinetics & One Love (Hailee Steinfeld), Sean Douglas (The Chainsmokers), and Greg Wells (Katy Perry, Adele).

She explains that, "On the second stanza of 'City Song,' there's this little clicky noise; it was my retainer case clicking to the beat of the song.", one of the few signs that VanderWaal is still a child. Her raspy-sweet-peculiar vocals evoke Elle King, Regina Spektor, and Katy Perry, and the soulful, choral track, inspired by her time growing up outside of New York City's creative hub, fits perfectly within the current pop canon.

On "Just The Beginning," VanderWaal proves herself a modern-day Mozart, smoothly transitioning into a range of musical territory beyond the acoustic indie folk she perfected on "AGT".

"I'm still playing around with my sound." "I honestly don't know what I like yet," she says, though her new track "Moonlight," with its lovely island wind, is a great start. 

Over the last year, he's achieved a lot of milestones, including winning Radio Disney Music and Teen Choice Awards, as well as being named to Billboard's "21 Under 21" list twice. There was also performing at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and Cindy Lauper's annual Christmas fundraiser, as well as a few concerts in Japan and an appearance at Austin City Limits in 2017, which she describes as "life-changing." VanderWaal just secured a contract with IMG Models and will debut her first fashion collection at Charming Charlie this month, coinciding with the start of her entirely sold-out maiden tour, which kicks off on November 15 in Park West.


"Everything has turned into such a blur, there are so many good memories already," VanderWaal humbly admits, noting that she doesn't have much time for anything other than music these days, though her other interests include riding her bike, grooming her dog and dressing him up in crazy outfits, and attempting to cook.

Her family keeps her grounded: her sister Olivia designed all of the packaging for her EP and new album ("she's a Picasso," VanderWaal smiles), and one of her parents will accompany her on tour. "It's critical that they be present. "I think a lot of people disregard what I have to say because I'm so young," she acknowledges, giving advise to other young talents who want to pursue their passions even if they appear unachievable. Grace felt that being creative and following your ideas entails going against the trend." You should do anything if you're passionate about it and it makes you happy."

VanderWaal also gives back and inspires others by donating her $1 million "AGT" prize money to a nonprofit called Little Miracles, which reintroduces art and music programs into schools. 

when she found that a school in my area was losing music programs, "That's not fair," she thought to herself when she learned that a school in her area was losing music programs. in my neighborhood was eliminating music programs. Many youngsters, including myself, have been exposed to music at school but are unaware of how much they appreciate it."

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