Grace VanderWaal, the 12-year-old winner of America’s Got Talent, has been compared to pop star Taylor Swift over and over again. However, VanderWaal doesn’t consider the “Shake It Off” singer her greatest musical inspiration. She’s actually a huge fan of Swift’s musical rival, Katy Perry, and it’s possible that an adorable accessory VanderWaal rocked during the AGT finale was an homage to Perry.
Just like Taylor Swift, Grace VanderWaal writes her own original songs. However, she sounds more like Sia than Swift. This didn’t stop AGT judge Simon Cowell from predicting that VanderWaal would find just as much success as the country music princess who crossed over to pop, and his Swift comparison made headlines after VanderWaal’s first America’s Got Talent performance went viral.
As the competition went on, the sixth grader kept right on strumming her ukulele and treating the AGT audience to songs they’d never heard before. However, VanderWaal’s decision to do her own thing didn’t make the Swift comparisons stop. After VanderWaal won America’s biggest talent show, Us Weekly asked her to share her thoughts about being compared to Taylor Swift.
“Honestly, a lot — all celebrities have flack and stuff around them, but what it all comes down to is that they’re all amazing musicians that all write amazing songs,” VanderWaal said. “To even have someone think about comparing me to someone like that is just truly a blessing.”
The talented young songstress says that she hasn’t been contacted by Taylor Swift since winning America’s Got Talent and becoming a household name. However, as People reports, Grace VanderWaal was more interested in hearing from Katy Perry.
“I want to meet Katy Perry so much,” she said during an interview with Access Hollywood Live.
Grace hasn’t met Katy yet, but she did get a sweet tweet from her idol.
@GraceVanderWaal Congrats! You have it. Protect it and keep????ing and ✏️ing…it will always serve you ❤️
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) September 16, 2016
Grace VanderWaal seems to share Katy’s fondness for felines. Katy’s fans are called KatyCats, and the singer’s line of accessories for Claire’s includes a few cat-themed items. As the Gloss reports, one of these accessories is a cat-ear headband similar to the one Grace wore for the America’s Got Talent finale.
— Us Weekly (@usweekly) September 15, 2016
As the Mirror reports, Grace had to fight for her right to wear cat ears because of their association with another pop star.
“The producers of the show really didn’t want me to wear them because of that, you know how Ariana Grande wore the cat ears for a while? I was like, ‘Please I love them so much,'” Grace said. “And they were like, ‘You know what, you’ve been so easy through the entire thing so it’s your last performance, go ahead! Do whatever you want!'”
Katy Perry would likely be proud of Grace VanderWaal for sticking to her guns. During an interview with Rolling Stone, VanderWaal said that she’s such a big fan of Perry because the strong-willed singer insists on doing things her way.
“She’s always stayed the same,” VanderWaal said of her admiration for the “Roar” singer. “In her movie she said that she turned down some producers just to be herself and that could’ve been putting her entire career in jeopardy, but she still did it. I think that’s a good thing to remember.”
— ExtraTV (@extratv) September 15, 2016
For her final America’s Got Talent performance, Grace sang the original song that started it all, “I Don’t Know My Name.” Judge Howie Mandel was so impressed with her first performance of the tune that he pressed his golden buzzer for Grace. However, she almost sang a different song for her big television debut. The AGT producers originally wanted her to perform Florence + the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over,” but they changed their minds at the last minute and decided to let her sing “I Don’t Know My Name” for her first audition.
According to People, Grace VanderWaal wants to donate some of her $1 million to a music charity. However, she also wants to use the money to create a new space to write her next big hits. Grace said that plans on building a big treehouse, and she’s hoping that the experts on Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters will help her.
“I want to go on Treehouse Masters and I want to get a treehouse,” she told People.
If Grace VanderWaal gets her wish, it looks like her fans will get to see her return to reality TV in the near future. Starting on October 27, they can also check out the Las Vegas show that she won as part of her America’s Got Talent prize.
[Featured Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]