Music » Album Review

Grace Vanderwaal, Perfectly Imperfect

Columbia Records; Release date: Dec. 2, 2016


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It might be thought that singer/songerwriter Grace Vanderwaal has all the time in the world to release her music. After all, she's only 12. However, Columbia Records' reasoning behind releasing a five-song EP rather than allow Grace the time to put together a full-length album is clear: you need to strike while the iron's hot.

Vanderwaal became a viral sensation following her surprising performance of her song, "I Don't Know My Name" on a July audition episode of America's Got Talent. She spent the summer moving through episodes, belting out more originals with a breathtaking voice twanged with a Midwestern accent which sounds like no one else in music, adolescent or adult.

She eventually won the contest in September and was quickly signed to Columbia, who have wasted no time laying down the songs that got her through America's Got Talent, plus one more, titled "Gossip Girl."

Vanderwaal does, in fact, Got Talent. The EP is stripped down — for the most part just Vanderwaal and her ukulele or her voice over Greg Wells' piano. "Gossip Girl" is the only song with any real percussion to it, but it fits Vanderwaal's style to just be let loose with her voice and some soft instrumentation.

Simon Cowell's proclamation on AGT that Vanderwaal would be the next Taylor Swift was enough to make any true music fan shudder, and I'd much rather see her take a spot in history next to someone like Stevie Nicks, who she introduced following her final performance on the show.

Of course, it's much too early to make any comparison like that yet, but the EP is a great start to what can hopefully become a great career.

The best track is "Clay," following the lead-off "I Don't Know My Name," which is perhaps her most famous song to date, but the entire EP is worth a listen, and it doesn't take long to do so.


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