Bob Dylan’s voice was different. He sang his music on his own terms and as a direct result, his songs were driven by the lyrics of his music rather than the melody or timbre of his voice. The political sharpness of his poetic words would certainly shape music for many generations to come. I see many parallels between his style and that of Grace VanderWaal, the 12-year-old singer-songwriter who won the eleventh season of America’s Got Talent. She went on to tour with Imagine Dragons in 2018 and later became the youngest person ever to be included in the Forbes “30 Under 30 Music List”.
Throughout her time on America’s Got Talent in 2016, she captured the nation with her original lyrics, distinctive vocals and her ukulele. While still young (again, 12 years old!), she channels Dylan with her powerful ability to speak to the world and brings her own style to music that might be difficult to understand for some. Grace also touches upon social issues with her music. In the finals of AGT, she played her original “Clay”, which deals with bullying. She uses clay as a metaphor for being malleable and concludes the song with an energetic “I’m not clay”. Note her unique voice!
Her (first) claim to fame was probably her original, “I Don’t Know My Name”, which she sang at her audition. It explores the issue of self-identity. She is “trying to find her way” even though she isn’t the type of person who can “play by the rules of the game”. This song is further evidence of her different voice and unique lyrics.