Just the Beginning
In 2016, Stevie Nicks introduced then 12-year-old Grace VanderWaal during the season finale of America’s Got Talent. “We like to be different,” Nicks said, “Not like anybody else.” It was high praise, and after winning the competition, VanderWaal got to work on Just the Beginning, her magnificent first full-length. A daring and gifted singer, she stretches her charismatic voice into hard-to-reach notes and octaves, exploring plucky textures (“Moonlight”), plush production (“Insane Sometimes”), and breathtaking acoustic balladry (“A Better Life”). She’s a natural, and startlingly fully formed. The album could easily be the product of someone twice her age and experience, and, to echo Nicks, it certainly couldn't be anybody else.