Less than three months after winning America’s Got Talent, Grace VanderWaal has released her first musical project: the five-song Perfectly Imperfect EP. Produced by Greg Wells and released on Friday (Dec. 2), the set finds the 12-year-old singer translating the original songs that she performed in front of millions of viewers to a studio setting.
“We wanted to strike while the iron was hot, and before some people forgot,” VanderWaal tells Billboard. “We didn’t want to release it and have people be like, ‘Oh hey, isn’t that the girl from that show?’ We wanted to keep the momentum going. So almost immediately, we tried to do it as fast as possible, and in a matter of days, this EP was finished.”
The Kansas native narrowed down the EP’s track list from a list of 10 songs, and opted to include songs like “Clay,” which received a new lyric video on Friday, and “I Don’t Know My Name,” which helped her beguile the AGT judges over the summer. Aside from a restrained yet affecting vocal delivery beyond her years, VanderWaal credits her success to the fact that she performed these songs on the talent competition instead of playing covers, a la The Voice or American Idol.
“Every time I watch these shows, I see a little girl or a little boy walk out, and I think, they’re going to be a singer, they’re going to be adorable, and it’s usually true,” she explains. “But I think I was a little bit of a surprise, and I think it’s because I did originals throughout the whole show, which was a little unusual. It was just different.”
Following the EP release, VanderWaal plans to take a much-needed break in January, and keep writing more songs for a longer project. “I’ll hopefully have a full album [in 2017],” she says. “Next year I could even be on tour. The world is unpredictable.”
Watch the “Clay” lyric video below: