VanderWaal revealed that the song is based on her own experiences. “That’s always what I do with my writing,” she explains. “I exaggerate everything and add in my own little sprinkles of magic.”
More from Rolling Stone
- See Grace VanderWaal's Solo Gas Station Party in 'Waste My Time' Video
- The Breakdown: Finneas Explains 'Overwhelmingly Personal' Song 'I Lost a Friend'
- Spotify Pivots on Global Cultures Initiative, Alarming Music Industry
She wanted to make the term “beautiful” less gendered, since she sees both that and “pretty” almost exclusively used to describe women. “I’ve seen so many very pretty boys,” she says. “We’ve always thought about incorporating that into a song. It was kind of the perfect moment to really make that idea we’ve had for years really come alive.”
VanderWaal’s process is built on spontaneity: this song in particular was written while the track was on a loop. She kept adding lines as it progressed. She compares songwriting to perfume: “If you don’t smell anymore don’t keep spraying it on. Your nose is getting used to it.”
The video for “Ur So Beautiful” was similarly spontaneous. She had been filming her life and recording process, thinking it would possibly be a documentary. Instead, the scenes felt like a perfect match for the song itself. “It was so magical and it just happened.”
VanderWaal has released a few songs this year but has yet to reveal if the new singles are leading to a new album. She released her debut LP, Just the Beginning, in 2017. In 2020, she will make her acting debut in Disney’s Stargirl adaptation.
Best of Rolling Stone
- 100 Best Albums of the '90s
- The Beatles' 'Abbey Road': 5 Great Country, Americana Covers
- 10 Things You Didn't Know About the Beatles' Music
See where your favorite artists and songs rank on the Rolling Stone Charts.