Grace appears to be a natural performer and is supremely talented. Yet, Grace’s journey thus far has not been without fear and apprehension. Imagine your twelve year old self following in the same footsteps as Grace for the last two years. I suspect you would have been terrified to say the least, I know that I would have been. Think of the challenges that would have caused most people to turn and run, never looking back. AGT live performances, Las Vegas, Special Olympics, JTB Album, TV show interviews/performances, Touring with Imagine Dragons, Disney’s Stargirl movie to name just a few. How has Grace managed to control the fear and pressure? What makes Grace able to turn these moments of apprehension into opportunity?

Personally, I think it starts with love at home. Grace gets a huge amount of encouragement and positive support from her family first and foremost (and of course her countless adoring fans). This truly is the foundation of her “best self” where she can feel the most confident and secure. All those around her love and support her no matter what. We have seen many examples of this but my favorite is during her AGT audition with the family off stage and running out after the golden buzzer moment. Priceless.

That kind of support definitely inspires trust and provides Grace with the confidence to try new things even at the prospect of failure. She believes that it’s OK to fail and that failure is inevitable. So by rationalizing it that way she helps take pressure off herself and ironically that’s exactly what makes her more likely to succeed. Forget the lyrics? Oh well it happens, move on… Tambourine Fail? Laugh it off and keep going… Grace has a knack of turning these frightful moments into candid and memorable events and learning from them.

Similarly, Grace understands that anxiety is totally normal and rolls with it. However, the vast majority of people are more afraid of public speaking than even Death. Stage fright or performance anxiety is a part of human evolution and the fight-or-flight response of subjecting oneself to public scrutiny is paramount to fear. Grace’s instinct is to embrace the fear and use it as a tool for strength. This feeling of control boosts her confidence even more. This positive mindset gives Grace the uncanny ability to control her fear while emoting to the contrary and all while having fun at the same time.

The psychological effect of pressure and stress brings with it a physical response. At times we can see Grace literally shaking with fear before or immediately after a performance. Yet somehow, while performing her playing is smooth and steady while her voice remains undeniably beautiful. She is able to tune into her senses and transcend them while performing. I believe she finds some sort of semi-meditative state to adapt and control her stress. Her behavior sometimes reminds me of an out-of-body experience, like she’s another version of herself and can switch back and forth seemingly at will.

Let’s not discount the importance of surrounding yourself with things that provide comfort and familiarity while facing the unknown. Having a friend alongside Grace while touring, even a beloved pet (yes you Frankie) can make all the difference. It helps keep her in balance and provides a measure of consistency and peace. Once success is obtained, these “good luck charms” are a constant reminder of that success and her ability to succeed in the pressure of the moment.

Grace has been an inspiration and role model for countless millions. She has experienced some of the most stressful and pressure filled moments you could ever imagine in her short but illustrious career. Yet, Grace has managed to use these moments and turned them into pivotal milestones that have laid the groundwork for a long and successful career. She has leveraged several key methods for controlling pressure and anxiety, making them springboards for success. As a result we see an artist with endless potential and limitless talent. We are witness to something completely original. It is a magical story which continues to unfold. The evolution of Grace under pressure.

This article was first posted on VanderVault’s YouTube channel: