Age is but a number. Grace VanderWaal hit it big on America's Got Talent, but she's ready to take on the world with her debut EP Perfectly Imperfect.
It's truly hard to believe that VanderWaal is only twelve. This record feels like there's been a lifetime of sweet joy and heartbreak ingrained in its writer's experience. Hopefully her life has been nothing but joy (though I hope she hasn't experienced any heartbreak yet), because her music truly reflects her personality, and if that's anything to say about her, she deserves all the best. The opening song is the viral hit 'I Don't Know My Name,' the original song she delivered a heartbreaking performance of on America's Got Talent that won her the golden buzzer. The song remains just as unique and raw as its debut performance, VanderWaal's raspy and gentle voice ringing beautifully above her twinkling ukulele, a bright orchestra joining her by the end of the track for a final moment of revelation.
The rest of the record isn't quite as bright - in fact, it's pretty bittersweet. That seems to be the trademark of her music. 'Clay' follows through, an uplifting track based around the piano. VanderWaal's voice is showcased a bit more in this track, her sweet timbre rising with power at just the right moments as she sings about being yourself.
The next two tracks come as much a surprise, not for any reason other than whether intentional or not, these are some of the best love songs written this year. 'Light The Sky' continues on from 'Clay,' celebrating individualism with someone else. Two people are the subject of the song, two friends having pure fun under the moonlight. 'Beautiful People' has a more direct love vibe, VanderWaal abandoning her sweeter tone and adopting a more bittersweet timbre. The song is about her sister, but it can easily be put in the context of someone you love; whoever the subject is, this song resonates love. The swelling piano rings sweetly under the heartbreaking chorus, as she chants "You're a beautiful thing / We're a beautiful thing together / Even when the weather is low... We can find the rainbow / Up in the sky / You'd say don't you cry, it's all gonna be alright / That's a beautiful thing." The song reaches an emotional climax by its end, the piano swelling with her emotions. This is the most emotional moment of the record, and perhaps one of the most emotional moments of music in 2016.
Grace VanderWaal is so young, and she has a great career ahead of her. Whether or not she pursues music, she deserves all the best. Her soul is pure and her purpose sweet, and that's all you can ask for in. Perfectly Imperfect is a beautiful EP - when her debut LP is released, it's bound to make it big.
Favorite Tracks: Beautiful Thing, I Don't Know My Name
Least Favorite Track: Gossip Girl
Rating: 88 / 100