There aren’t many self-made millionaires out there, and there certainly aren’t many teenage self-made millionaires either. It takes guts, grit, and a whole lot of talent and skill in order to pull something like that off. Fortunately, Grace VanderWaal has all of that and more. The American singer-songwriter has been gracing us with her vocal talents for only about 5 years now, and she’s marked her own space in the industry all while being only 16 years old. There’s no question that Grace VanderWaal has a bright future ahead of her. Within the 4 years she’s been active in the industry, she’s already amassed a net worth of $2 million. Here’s a closer look into Grace’s life and how she’s managed to make that much in such a short period of time.
Born in Lenexa, Kansas on January 15, 2004, 16-year old Grace VanderWaal was born with the love of music in her. She lives with a full family of five with her parents David and Tina and her two other siblings. Grace’s father became Vice President of Marketing for LG Electronics in 2007, and this prompted the VanderWaal family to move to New York. Around that time when Grace was three years old, she began exploring music—singing and creating songs. She would continue on her musical journey throughout her childhood, eventually getting serious about songwriting before she even became a teenager. Much like many other young persons in her generation, Grace sought ought inspiration from YouTube. She watched movies and videos and got inspired to create even more. Her 11th birthday marked a special time when she decided that the ukulele was going to be her instrument. She ended up buying one for herself with her birthday money and essentially taught herself how to play by watching more videos. But at the time, she was already playing saxophone for her school’s marching band.
When Grace was still 11 years old, she began to post covers and original songs on YouTube. She also started to perform in person at open mic events, honing her skill even more. She got serious about her music fairly quickly and started to take lessons on music theory. In July 2016 when she was 12 years old, Grace auditioned on the 11th season of America’s Got Talent, which she ended up winning in September of the same year.
From that point on, Grace quickly became talk of the town. Grace is set to receive money as part of her AGT winnings, but we’re unsure as to how she receives that sum considering she is still a minor. However, her AGT win has brought on plenty of other opportunities for her career. First off, her YouTube channel views and subscriptions skyrocketed. Right after the AGT Season 11 finale, Grace appeared in several talk shows including The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Months after her win, Grace also headlined a few sold-out AGT concerts including America’s Got Talent Holiday Spectacular in December 2016.
After her win on AGT, Grace signed a record deal with Columbia Records. She released her debut EP called Perfectly Imperfect before the year ended. The album was well received by both critics and fans. Many of her singles charted on Billboard. One of her songs was even featured as background music for Google’s Year in Search 2016 video. Throughout the last few months of 2016, Grace was busy fulfilling her role as AGT winner, but she was also fulfilling her dreams at the same time. She appeared in many performances and shows in order to promote her EP, and all of her appearances were successful to say the least.
It was only the start for the young artist because 2017 came in with full force. Throughout the beginning of the following year, Grace spent a great amount of time in exposure, promoting her music through numerous shows and appearances. Some of her most memorable performances include both her appearances at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. She also appeared at the 2017 Radio Disney Music Awards. By mid 2017, Grace had essentially become a global musician, having already performed at different parts of the world.
She was already working on a follow up album to her EP, a full-length release of her originals. The album, Just the Beginning, was to be a more produced presentation of her acoustic sound. In the months leading to the release, Grace performed a series of singles throughout various appearances in 2017. She started to promote the new album heavily around September of that year, performing again in shows such as Ellen and Megyn Kelly Today. Grace released her full-length album on November 3, 2017, and she jumped right into a tour on November 5—just two days later. That same tour was sold out months before it even began.
As a musician, Grace continued the creation and production process—writing musing, performing it, and making money from it all. She’s done an incredible amount of touring in a short period of time, and her music has even made it in a film, 2019’s animation Wonder Park.In 2020, the musician spread her wings to dabble in film. She starred in the title role of the Disney+ film called Stargirl.So far, Grace has won 6 out of the 7 awards she’s been nominated for, and it’s all just a start for the young superstar.
It isn’t difficult to imagine how much Grace’s net worth would just explode in the next coming years. Whether she decides to pursue film further or create more incredible music or both doesn’t really matter. It seems that Grace has way more to share to the world. It seems that we’ve just gotten a taste of what this young talent could really do.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee