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This event is General Admission Standing Room on the Floor and Reserved Seated in the Balcony.
LONG Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress, model, philanthropist, high school freshman—Grace VanderWaal contains incredible multitudes. After her star-making turn as the winner of NBC’s America’s Got Talent in 2016, VanderWaal has released a best-selling EP, Perfectly Imperfect, and full-length album, Just The Beginning, much to the delight of her millions-strong fanbase and critics alike. Now the New York Times-approved “mature songwriter” and “pop natural” is back with new music for 2019, beginning with a new original song titled “Stray.”
“When I write a song, I don't really know what they're about until much later, when I'm like ‘Oh, that's what my subconscious was trying to say,’” says VanderWaal of her creative process, which begins with songwriting and extends to musical arrangements and visual treatments. “Stray,” which comes with a music video dreamt up by VanderWaal and brought to life with help from director Blythe Thomas, eventually revealed itself to be about “the exhilarating fear and freedom of growing up.” The song features VanderWaal’s soulfully raspy vocals atop a moody, searching sound that’s a departure from her signature airy ukulele riffs.
Introspection and vulnerability have always been hallmarks of VanderWaal’s songwriting, and as she grows older, the unique process of balancing stardom and adolescence has made its way into her work. “I’m maturing really fast and working a lot more, and I feel like when this all first started happening, I almost started to forget how to be myself,” she says. “You only get one you. You get one shot when you're born, so if you forget, what do you do?” For the time being, the Rockland County-raised phenom is handling it all with aplomb. She’s as excited about her upcoming music as she is about her school’s prom, and plans to work at her local movie theater’s concession stand this summer when she’s not headlining another tour, following a string of sold-out headline shows last spring and a summer arena tour opening for Imagine Dragons that she did in 2018.
All throughout, VanderWaal shares her day-to-day musings with nearly 10 million fans and counting via social media. In addition to snapshots, videos, and shoutouts, her fan base can also keep tabs on Little Miracles, the charity she created with the prize money she won on America’s Got Talent. The Little Miracles Foundation’s mission is to put music education back into marginalized school systems by spotlighting talented students, and providing free musical instruments and audio equipment to local school districts and communities.
VanderWaal’s ability to impact so many with her art marks an impressive trajectory from just a few years ago, when the young artist was playing her ukulele and performing original songs at open mic nights where there were “15 to 20 people on a good night.” While America’s Got Talent was the vehicle that launched her into the national spotlight, VanderWaal says that she only auditioned on a whim.
“Me and my mom literally thought it would be like a bonding kind of thing,” she explains. “You always see on TV the crazy lines and stuff, so we were just going to wait in line, take pictures, bring a tent, and stuff like that—and it just turned into something crazy. It just kept going.” VanderWaal’s astronomical rise has led to accolades (Billboard’s Women in Music 2017 Rising Star Award, Teen Choice Next Big Thing Award, and more), television performances, (The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade), and incredible partnerships with brands like Kate Spade and Fender, who launched a
Grace VanderWaal Signature ukulele, making her their youngest ever Signature artist for Fender.
In addition to putting the finishing touches on more new music to be released later this year, VanderWaal recently finished filming her first movie in New Mexico, which is set to be released in early 2020. An adaptation of Jerry Spinelli’s New York Times best-selling young adult novel, Stargirl, VanderWaal will be playing the film’s title role of Stargirl Caraway, a nonconformist, homeschooled teen girl who plays the ukulele. “It’s all pretty surreal,” she says. “It was so fun, one of the best experiences of my life.” Fans hoping to connect with VanderWaal on the big screen before then can catch Wonder Park, Paramount’s new animated feature coming out March 15—VanderWaal recorded a song titled “Hideaway” that will make an appearance in the film.
Add to this a full high school curriculum and it’s clear that VanderWaal is booked and busy for the foreseeable future, but the three-time Billboard 21 Under 21 artist and youngest person ever included in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list is taking it all in stride. As she puts it: “You can't think about everything in the future right now. You just think about tomorrow. Being on stage and being at school, it's just two different parts of my personality.”
SHORT Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress, model, philanthropist, high school freshman—Grace VanderWaal contains incredible multitudes. Following the release of her best-selling EP, Perfectly Imperfect, and full-length album, Just The Beginning, the America’s Got Talent winner is back with new music for 2019. Described as a “mature songwriter” and “pop natural” by The New York Times, VanderWaal’s new song, “Stray,” debuts a moody, searching sound that’s a departure from her signature airy ukulele riffs while considering “the exhilarating fear and freedom of growing up” with all the introspection and vulnerability that have become hallmarks of her songwriting. Always evolving and keen on expanding her artistry, VanderWaal recently tackled the title role of Stargirl, a film adaptation of Jerry Spinelli’s best-selling young adult novel set to debut in 2020. Meanwhile, she’s currently attending school in her hometown and looking forward to prom. As VanderWaal puts it: “Being on stage and being at school, it's just two different parts of my personality.”
Official Website http://gracevanderwaal.com
Romance isn't dead, and we have Patrick Martin to thank for that. The Los Angeles-via-Wisconsin singer/songwriter's debut single, ‘Cinema Love,’ is a picture-perfect evocation of new love's impossible pleasures — a skyscraping pop song that doubles as a first taste of Martin's debut album, due later this year.
Born and raised in Saukville, Martin was introduced to music at an early age, with classic-rock staples like the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, the Allman Brothers, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young on regular rotation. "My mom was a tailor, so I'd hop in the car while she would deliver clothes to customers and the radio would be playing classic rock," he remembers. "That's where my love for music started — being in that car."
Martin was introduced to the guitar through an older cousin who played for him whenever he visited: "I fell in love with it." When Martin was eight, he got a "little red guitar — a dinky little thing" for Christmas; he took guitar lessons for a few years but eventually went on his own. "I liked playing, but my teacher was really old-school," he explains. "I didn't get to learn anything that I really wanted to."
"When I realized girls like guys who can play guitar and sing, that was a big thing for me," he continues, while describing what caused him to pursue music. “Playing guitar and singing was a huge emotional outlet for me. For a very long time, I didn’t play for anyone but myself. It was so personal to me that if anyone walked into my room while I was playing, I would stop.”
His early songwriting influences were John Mayer as well as Jack Johnson ("He told really good stories, lyrically"), as he started dabbling in his own songcraft around the age of 16. "There was this girl that I really liked," Martin explains. "I took this song I was listening to and rewrote it to fit our situation."
While attending Marquette University for a degree in psychology and sociology, a relationship during his sophomore year "planted the seed of writing and doing music. I was like, 'Oh shit, I need to do something to express my feelings in a creative way.'" A semester studying abroad in London further encouraged him to pursue music full-time, as he gigged throughout the British city: "I was traveling and learning about myself and life. I wanted to tell my story and inspire people."
He's not shy about his early attempts at songwriting, which took place near the end of college: "It was pretty amateur music. But that’s a solid way to start out." He workshopped these works-in-progress by posting them on SoundCloud, and through a mutual acquaintance at the campus gym, he met DJ Will Seacrest, who he started working on music together with. Through Seacrest, he met Milwaukee outfit Antics, who he also started working with in earnest; eventually, the music he was posting on his SoundCloud account started gaining more attention. "At the time, I thought, '60,000 plays, this is amazing," he remembers.
One of Martin's collaborations with Antics, "Your Love," took off to the point where he joined the band at a few festival appearances alongside EDM heavy-hitters like Dillon Francis and Martin Garrix. "I'd never performed on a legitimate stage my entire life, and I was walking out on these monstrous stages. That was the first taste."
This was also the first time in Martin’s career where he was exposed to the height of the industry but left facing the stark reality where he was not fulfilled by it, following a chance encounter backstage with Garrix. "He was like, 'Yo bro, that was pretty sick! What are we doing tonight?'" Martin decided to hang out backstage with Garrix's team after the show, which left a lasting memory when it came to his own destiny.
“After such a surreal experience, I got in my car, drove back to my parents' home, got into bed in my childhood bedroom, and thought, 'This isn't it,'" Martin recalls. "I didn't want this to be the peak."
Emboldened, Martin moved out to Los Angeles, working on his music in between shifts at the Apple Store; after a year in L.A., he met his current manager, who he credits as the reason why "a lot of this started." Guided by his manager’s experience, Martin eventually crafted his debut single, ‘Cinema Love.’ "It was the first song that came out of those sessions," he explains while discussing the song, which was co-produced by longtime collaborator Jesse Mason. "I was writing with these incredible people."
And those sessions yielded plenty of material for his forthcoming debut album, which focuses on his previous relationships — especially his first love. "I was a late bloomer, so it was a new experience for me," he recalls. "I was head over heels for this girl. She's my muse, as well as the experiences we've had." Fittingly, ‘Cinema Love’ concerns a night in with his ex which felt like returning to childhood. "I wanted to create this sense of childlike love in this song — building blanket forts and just doing these things that kids would do. We were just kids in love, and I wanted to capture that youthfulness," he explains.
The song's chorus—"Do you believe in cinema love?"—also carries a personal streak. "I've always been a sappy kid, and I've always loved all those romantic movies. I've looked at them and been like, 'I want that,'" he admits. "People are skeptical of the kind of love you see in the movies. But I believe it's real. I experienced it, and the song is me saying, 'People say that shit doesn't exist, but it happens to people, and it happened to me.' Don't write it off—just believe it."
"I think a lot of this music can align with people in a different way when it comes to how heartbreak works — how it feels to be laying in your bed at night when you would literally do anything to see that person," Martin states while discussing what he'd like people to take away from his music. "I didn't know how to express these emotions, so I had songs that helped me process them in my head. They were anthems, for me. They perfectly said how I was feeling, and I want to give that experience to people through my own music."
College Street Music Hall
238 College Street
New Haven, CT, 06510