Grace VanderWaal’s “Don’t Assume What You Don’t Know” debuts her unforeseen ego change


Grace VanderWaal promo pics credit Courtesy Columbia Records

Grace VanderWaal is obscurely known as the ukulele girl from America’s Got Talent.

Thereafter, being off the grid for a year, she is merely unrecognizable; her iconic bob with bangs has been buzzed, her natural blonde has been dyed pink, and her dainty, twelve-year-old style has been completely altered. 

Props to her for finding her personality and embracing it, but this change in persona has left many of her fans utterly and fully astonished. 

Perhaps VanderWaal is trying to draw attention to her new character—at least that’s what her new single is signaling to me.

It feels like déjà vu; when 2017 Taylor Swift released “Look What You Made Me Do,” which was essentially announcing her identity alteration that lasted about two years to the music industry, she underwent a persona change. VanderWaal is taking the same approach to publicize her never-before-seen new layer. 

To even further exemplify her edgy, “don’t mess with me” personality, her recently released song “Don’t Assume What You Don’t Know”—to say it simply—is intimidating. 

To put it into perspective, VanderWaal retired her ukulele and pulled out the electric bass in “Don’t Assume What You Don’t Know” for a more electric, rock-tinged impression.     

“You can walk around the entire world, but you still end up with what you started first,” VanderWaal says. “Spit out money and you offer out lures, get the girl but it wasn’t the cure.”

Props to her for finding her personality and embracing it, but this change in persona has left many of her fans utterly and fully astonished. 

How vigorous, how authoritative—how brusque. VanderWaal is so involuntarily blunt with these words. I was perplexed when hearing these lyrics for the first time; what is she referring to? Who, or what, is she targeting?

In an interview with Nylon, my questions were answered. VanderWaal complained, “People put fame and beauty on such a pedestal as if it’s the answer to life and all of that.” 

Fundamentally, she is saying what everyone is thinking: attention is trivial. Especially apparent in the music world, people with a platform easily get caught up in fame and fortune, leaving behind so many valuables and aspects that truly dictate one’s life. 

When asked what she wants people to take away from “Don’t Assume What You Don’t Know,” she replied, “I want people to take away that your life is awesome, and my life is awesome, and everyone just makes the best of what they have, and [they] can find their happy s*** in their own s***.” 

Although her alter-ego may be deceiving, her positive, tween attitude is still in her soul. The goal of her new single is only to spread love and confidence among her listeners despite the aggressiveness of the song and its lyrics. 

“Don’t Assume What You Don’t Know” is a message of the “stay in your lane” or “mind your own business” phrase; it’s almost as if VanderWaal is threatening the haters for loathing her new look. 

Dark, intrusive makeup and dramatic piercings don’t mean a thing in the aspect of courtesy. Although VanderWaal has completely given up her style, ukulele, and brand, the timid twelve-year-old who was as victorious in the country’s largest talent competition is still in there and burgeoning.