Tag Archives: influencers

Grace VanderWaal: New Music, New Video, New Tour!

Rating: ★★★★★

Grace VanderWaal is a busy young lady these days. The 15-year-old songstress has recently released her fourth single this year, filmed three new videos, spent part of June opening shows for Florence and the Machine, and has just kicked off her own headlining tour across the United States.

“Waste My Time” is VanderWaal’s latest single. The track is quite a departure from the indie-pop sound cultivated on her debut album, Just the Beginning. The vibe here is more in line with the synth-pop sound that is common with dozens of other singers today. That could be dangerous for a performer looking to stand out from the crowd. But it’s the voice that sets “Waste My Time” apart from everything else on the radio today. VanderWaal, simply put, is a gifted vocalist. Her tone is rich and melodic, easily identifiable within the first word or two, and carries an honesty that cannot be faked. And her lower ranges are just incredible!

If I’m being truthful, this one took a couple of listens to grow on me—though it is now on repeat on my iPod. The change in sound is something I (and other FanderWaals I’ve heard from) didn’t expect. And that’s a good thing. Grace VanderWaal will never be accused of growing predictable or complacent with her music. My two favorite bands (Led Zeppelin and Metallica) never recorded two albums that sounded alike. This is what sparks longevity with music fans. It’s what creates classic songs that generations will continue to appreciate.

The accompanying video for “Waste My Time” is quirky and funny and sweet—much like the singer herself. She wanders through an empty convenience store after stepping out of a late-night rain. The only other person in the store is a lifeless clerk named Miguel. Grace is often the brains behind, not just her music, but also the videos. I’m guessing that’s the case with this one as well.

VanderWaal is not yet a superstar—at least not on the Katy Perry/Taylor Swift/Ariana Grande level. Again, I believe that’s a good thing. She seems to be well-grounded and able to handle the success that has come her way thus far. Time is on her side. Grace VanderWaal hasn’t even hit her stride. Her best music has yet to be created. If you have the opportunity to catch her on the “Ur So Beautiful” tour, I highly recommend you do so.

 

Grace VanderWaal’s Ur So Beautiful Tour Dates

 

August 10 – Lexington, KY @ Railbird Festival
August 11 – Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
August 13 – Nashville, TN @ Cannery Ballroom
August 14 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
August 16 – Dallas, TX @ The Granada Theater
August 17 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s
August 18 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
August 21 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren
August 25 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory – Orange County
August 27 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre
August 29 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
September 1 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
September 3 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
September 6 – Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theater
September 7 – Chicago, IL @ Park West
September 9 – Detroit, MI @ St. Andrews Hall
September 11 – Toronto, ONT @ The Opera House
September 13 – Boston, MA @ Royale Boston
September 14 – New Haven, CT @ College Street Music Hall
September 16 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of the Living Arts
September 17 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
September 20 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
November 22-24 – San Diego, CA @ Wonderfront Music and Arts Festival

 

 

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The Celebration of Life! (Book Review)

Rating: ★★★★★

This is the true story of a five year old boy named Sammy. Though Sammy is the story’s narrator, it is told through the eyes of his mother and older brother. Sammy had cancer, the disease he succumbed to at age five.

The first part of the story shares insight into the daily life of a typical American family, detailing the goings-on with Sammy, his brother, and his mother. Readers get to know Sammy and his budding personality. Most American boys will recognize the activities of riding Big Wheels, messing with snakes, and sneaking off to forbidden areas. There are some humorous stories here, like the older brother, Gene, accidentally locking Mom out of the house. A neighbor had to bring a ladder, allowing Mom to climb in through the attic to unlock the door.

The second part is entitled Cancer Arrived. Sammy began to be sick—all the time. Sinus infections, inner and middle ear infections, mononucleosis, and upper respiratory disease took over Sammy’s body. Doctors couldn’t pinpoint a cause and medicines didn’t clear things up. A radiologist even misread the x-ray. Because of this, he missed the tumor mass in Sammy’s neck and head. The cancer diagnosis left the family reeling. No parent wants to hear that awful disease pronounced on their child. The battle against Rhabdomyosarcoma became a family fight.

To a young boy, this would be a scary situation to be in. Sammy certainly had those moments. But what we learn from this personal story is the wisdom and courage this boy gained in his all-too-brief time in this world. While cancer is a dark subject, this book is anything but dark. I found in these pages a celebration of a life that is still touching others, even nearly thirty years after his departure. As long as his mother, brother, family, and friends are here in this world, Sammy will be here too.