What the amazing Grace VanderWaal's rise to fame teaches us about Gen-Z stardom
For those of you who are unaware, Grace VanderWaal is the latest singing sensation taking America by storm. The 12-year-old won the 11th season of America’s Got Talent and has been dubbed “the next Taylor Swift” by judges Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell… and, apparently, the internet agrees.
When Googling the young songbird, a picture of Swift appears next to VanderWaal’s bio. On September 16th, VanderWaal posted a video on Twitter that shows her screaming and jumping from excitement after receiving a huge bouquet of flowers from the famous musician herself!
Performers including Reese Witherspoon, Ellen, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, David Foster, Jason Mraz, Mario Lopez, as well as celebrities like Heidi Klum and Perez Hilton have been Tweeting to Grace or talking about her on social media.
Also, Simon Cowell called the 12-year-old singer/songwriter, and I quote, “perfect.” That means a lot, especially coming from one of pop culture’s most notoriously harsh critics.
For example, VanderWaal’s mom runs her social media accounts, and her meteoric rise has led to her being “Insta-Famous.”
Grace’s unique, rare, and untouched raw talent is different from the more groomed pop sensations we are used to. All eyes seem to be on this adorable child prodigy who writes her own songs from her heart while playing the ukelele.
Modern day platforms like Netflix and America’s Got Talent are bringing young geniuses who would have otherwise been unknown out of the woodwork. Then, these youthful artists turn to places like Twitter and Instagram, which foster stardom and networking on a whole new level. Instead of having one agent reach out to another agent, stars can contact whomever they want directly via social media channels. In the same way, fans turn to Instagram to follow celebrities, instead of reading through US Magazine.
Take Millie Bobby Brown, for example. The 12-year-old actress became a superstar after appearing in the Netflix original series, Stranger Things, in her role as Eleven. Her Instagram account is managed by her older sister, and her Snapchat is managed by her brother.
Millie congratulated Grace on Instagram, where she tagged her and asked her to be a part of her squad with Maddie Ziegler, who first became famous in 2011 after appearing on Dance Moms.
All these famous youngsters are using social media in lieu of a manager, and networking directly with people they admire and want to collaborate with. Perhaps THIS is the new normal in Hollywood.