In September of 2016 one 12-year-old girl captivated America. With her ukulele she stood bravely in front of the America’s Got Talent and strummed a little tune that blew everyone away. In this sweet little package of a girl stood a mature singer that had a voice unlike any other. After the performance, Howie Mandel remarked, “I think the world is going to know your name.” And with that, he hit the golden buzzer a move that simply means that a contestant is automatically sent to the next round regardless of the other judges votes. With this one move, Grace VanderWaal went on to win America’s Got Talent.
When we saw her name on the Austin City Limits Music Festival lineup, we wanted to talk to her but she was completely booked with interviews already. We think Howie Mandel was right, the world is starting to know her name.
Saturday afternoon our team walked towards the HomeAway stage where she was playing and instantly realized that there was a large crowd waiting for her there. Many were families with young girls waiting in anticipation for a role model they wanted to be just like. Grace walked onto the stage with cat ears on to the roar of a crowd. Sweetly waving with ukulele in hand she began her first song. As the set rolled on we began to realize that every song not only had an uplifting message but they were catchy and easy to sing along to. Most music that our kids want to listen to can get really old, really fast. But this was something that you could enjoy yourself, no matter your age.
Grace casually would stop in the middle of a song to welcome the breeze on this very hot day or talk to her guitar player. She was candid and had a fun personality. We loved watching her be herself and simply shine. She’s a great example for all that when you show who you truly are, people are ready to support you.