Tonight is the 15th anniversary special for NBC’s America’s Got Talent, and it features many of the previous winners of the show along with some of the most memorable acts. Grace VanderWaal was crowned the Season 11 winner in 2016 and has been making music and movies ever since.
The young singer-songwriter first made waves when she auditioned for AGT with an original song when she was just 12 years old. She sang a song about her identity, titled “I Don’t Know My Name” and received Howie Mandel’s Golden Buzzer and praise from Simon Cowell, who called her “the next Taylor Swift.”
Her performances on the show were all originals and included a song she wrote for her sister called “Beautiful Thing,” another called “Light the Sky,” and for the finals, she performed “Clay,” a song about dealing with bullies.
VanderWaal was the second female winner and second child act winner of America’s Got Talent. She planned to use part of her winnings to make a donation to charity and to buy two treehouses, one for herself and one for her sister.
VanderWaal Opened for Imagine Dragons on Tour & Starred in a Disney Movie
VanderWaal is one of the most successful AGT winners to date. After winning the show, she went on to release an EP called Perfect Imperfect as well as an album titled Just the Beginning.
In 2018, VanderWaal opened on tour for Imagine Dragons and has since released more music, for which she won an MTV Europe Music Award in 2018.
VanderWaal also starred in the Disney movie Stargirl, which released on Disney+ and plans to pursue some more acting at some point.
“I learned so much while making this movie, and I’m ready to apply it and see if I can be good,” she told USA Today. “You can’t really do anything to the best of your ability on the first try or even the second try, but I do want to see. I like to be good at things… There’s this one role that I really, really want, but I don’t want to talk about it because there’s literally like a 30 percent chance that I’ll actually get it.”
She Modeled At New York Fashion Week & Is Working on New Music
In 2018, VanderWaal modeled at New York Fashion Week after being signed to IMG Models.
“This is my first time,” she told USA Today. “I’m so excited.” The show’s attendees included host Nicki Minaj as well as Courtney Love, Emily Ratajkowski, Zosia Mamet, Charli XCX, Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber.
She was more recently in a Chanel show in early 2020.
VanderWaal said she’s currently preparing for Volume 2 of her EP and is enjoying the music she’s making.
“It’s really good, but I wouldn’t say I’m entering a new direction,” she said. “I’m not rapping or doing new genres.”