Grace performed in a lineup which included "All Time Low", Dua Lipa and Alex Aiono.
Refusing the Rules of the Game, VanderWaal Steals the Show
Tucked in between artists still struggling to find their voices, Grace VanderWaal let her light shine brightly at the Palace Theatre Tuesday night … 13-year-old VanderWaal charmed the audience immediately with her authentic smile and honest voice. … This New York State kid from Suffern’s talent is far beyond normal though; she writes her own songs, and her performances offer a fresh and vulnerable persona rarely seen in pop music these days. …
VanderWaal offers hope from a place of reality: she isn’t just writing about being awkward and inexperienced, but from living and embracing being awkward and fresh on the scene. In fact, she’s holding on tightly to who she really is, and is reminding us that we should, too. Her promise was that by being oneself, one can actually be happy. … Because of her joyfulness, the message of authentic courage, and marching dance style across the stage, it was easy to forgive the few notes that didn’t quite meet their mark. She hopped like a small finch across the stage, singing her lyrics and owning the Palace. …
VanderWaal certainly doesn’t play by the rules, as she wrote in her song. She left us with goosebumps and this startling realization: we were in the presence of a real musician, an authentic teenager, and a genuine hope monger for her generation.
Keep your eyes and ears open for Grace VanderWaal. Her joy won’t, and shouldn’t, be contained. If you get the chance, go catch some of it. You will leave uplifted and be believing not just in music, but even a bit in your imperfect self again, courtesy of VanderWaal’s youthful wisdom.
(Laura DaPoliti for NYS Music Dec. 6, 2017)