Grace VanderWaal was born on January 15, 2004 in Kansas and is now from Suffern, New York. She lives with her mother Tina, her father David Vanderwaal and her older sister (also her best friend) by three years Olivia, and her 3 dogs. Grace started singing at the age of three. She bought her first Ukulele with her birthday money from her 11th birthday and a few months later, she began to write songs. Before her audition, she had sung with very small audiences but had never sung in front of very large crowds. Grace is also lactose intolerant and misses ice cream really badly She has an older brother named Jakob who is away at school.
Grace VanderWaal's audition in Episode 1102 consisted of singing her original song "I Don't Know My Name", a song about finding who you are and where you fit in, while playing the ukulele. Moved by her performance, Howie Mandel pressed his Golden Buzzer to send Grace straight to the Live Shows. Simon Cowell later commented that he thought that she could be the next Taylor Swift.
For the finale in Episode 1122, Grace VanderWaal sang her original song "I Don't Know My Name". Grace received enough votes to advance to the Top 5 instead of Sofie Dossi. Grace finished in first place in the competition in front of The Clairvoyants, Jon Dorenbos, Brian Justin Crum and Sal Valentinetti, winning one million dollars and a headline show in Las Vegas. Her debut EP, Perfectly Imperfect, was released on December 2, 2016. Her first music video Moonlight was released on July 20, 2017 and garnered 2.5 million views in six days.