“Songwriting has been a catharsis for me. It is a way for me to understand and process what I feel without feeling like I’m holding it all in. I was only 10 years old when my family and I made the decision to pursue the life that I believe was meant for me.” 

Meet Grace Yaniak, CHAMPS Vocal Academy Junior. 

Grace came to CHAMPS in the Fall of 2020 during the pandemic and in an era of Distance Learning. There were some obvious challenges, but Grace used the challenges as opportunities to invest in her own personal and professional growth. Fast forward to the present, and she’s now prepared to release her very first single on December 12 entitled “For Fun.” 

“When I was on stage at the World Championships Performing Arts (WCOPA), it was the first time I felt truly engrossed in the world that I dreamed of being a part of and it propelled me to want even more. Whether meeting industry professionals or simply performing on stage—I knew this and more was meant for me.” 

“When I came to CHAMPS, I didn’t feel like the new kid—I felt a culture of support, care, and investment. When I took my first music class at CHAMPS, I knew that I was in the right place. A year and a half later, I often think about why I chose CHAMPS, and the answer is simple: I can be a creative individual—I feel free to be myself without judgment—and the power of that is very real.” 

“CHAMPS is a small school that is a tight-knit community. We’re not forced to mature overnight—we’re empowered to learn who we are and to live in the moment.” 

Before Grace arrived at CHAMPS, she only attended private schools and that experience was highly concentrated around what they wanted from her and not what she wanted from herself. 

“As I prepare for the launch of my first official single, I am nervous but also excited. This is the world’s first opportunity to hear who I am in my own words. I use the stage name True Istina because Istina means truth in Croatian and my grandparents are immigrants. If I want my music to be authentic for my listeners, then I have to be authentic with my identity.”