Review: Grace Vanderwaal’s debut has a lasting effect


Nicole Perdigon, Staff Writer

Grace Vanderwaal released her debut album in November of 2017. And, honestly, it’s still something worth talking about.

Recently, the music industry has been pushing out loads of new music full of auto-tuned singers and digital beats. Contrasting this kind of music, Grace Vanderwaal’s debut album, Just the beginning, is packed with original songs that showcase Vanderwaal’s authenticity and true talent.

Less than two years ago, at just 12-years-old, Grace Vanderwaal won season 11 of the competition TV show America’s Got Talent, taking home $1 million and headlining her own show in Las Vegas.

With all of that acclaim at such an early age, there has been a lot of hype surrounding the release of Vanderwaal’s first album, and I would say that it met the high expectations.

Just the beginning is not your average pop album. Written by Vanderwaal herself, it is not full of meaningless lyrics and elementary beats. Instead, the album focuses on important themes that are important in her life, such as depression. The writing is more advanced and mature than one might expect from such a young artist.

The album included the #1 single “Moonlight”. With the help of the ukulele, the song has an upbeat tone, however these upbeat instrumentals are contrasted with emotional lyrics such as “A doll made out of glass… and she’s about to break”. This song captures the mood for the rest of the album, lighthearted while still maintaining a sense of maturity through her intense lyrics.

Somehow Vanderwaal manages to sing about experiences from her to make it relatable for teens while not sounding childish, creating a good album for both adults and children to listen to.

The album ends on a soulful note with the song “Darkness keeps chasing me”. In it, Vanderwaal depicts an internal struggle with “darkness” that can be interpreted as depression. With lyrics “I’m tired of running” and  “I don’t want to give up that easily”, it conveys a message of persistence in the face of struggle. This one is a favorite of mine.

Vanderwaal has made an image for herself with Just the beginning. She has changed the community of pop music by creating art with her lyrics instead of going with the flow. She seems to be focused on the authenticity of her music, not theater or not she’s on the charts. Vanderwaal also stands out with her talent on the ukulele that, in my opinion, is extraordinary.

Vanderwaal’s career has already been amazing, and I can’t wait to see what will come next.