London Wulff, the 12-year-old daughter of our wonderful music writer Eva Raggio, is a straight-A student, singer, dancer and ukulele player who can kill a grown man with her karate moves. She enjoys live music and meeting artists — she has sat on Ashlee Simpson's lap and once chased Christopher Lloyd until he told her where Marty McFly was. Her obsessions include making slime (and a mess) out of glue, traveling and Elvis.
Last year, 12-year-old ventriloquist Darci Lynne won a million dollars, and even more hearts (even the notoriously heartless Simon Cowell’s) on season 12 of America’s Got Talent. The prodigy, who’d been practicing ventriloquism for only two years at the time of her audition, proved that she would out-sing anyone in the competition, while alternating different character’s voices — and that she could do it all with her mouth shut. Now 14, she chatted with our 12-year-old reporter, London Wulff, from her Oklahoma home while on a short break between tour stops, ahead of her The Theatre at Grand Prairie show Dec. 2.
I heard that you had a TV special “My Hometown Christmas” coming up?
Yes, I have my very own Christmas special. It’s my very first one, called “Darci Lynne: My Hometown Christmas,” and it’s gonna be airing in December on NBC.
So what kind of things will you do for the show?
There’s definitely gonna be a lot of Christmas songs. We’re gonna have some really awesome guests on the show, and adding a little bit of my hometown, the fact that I celebrate Christmas just like any other kid. It’s gonna be a really funny thing that you can sit back and relax and watch with your family.
So for the show you’re gonna be exchanging gifts with the America’s Got Talent judges, is that right?
I am not even sure. (Laughs)
I have a question about ventriloquism. Did you ever prank people, like calling out their names and they don’t know where it’s coming from?
I did that once in sixth grade. I did it to my teacher. But she was like, "Seriously, Darci," so she knew it was me.
Is it hard for you to sing with your mouth shut?
I’m pretty used to it now, but every now and then there’s a really challenging song that takes me awhile to, you know, get it right, and I have to work on it, but usually the songs come pretty easily to me.
Since you won America’s Got Talent, do you know how you’re planning on spending your million-dollar reward?
Well, I really want to get a puppy, maybe soon. I did donate $30,000 to my church. Not sure though, I’d have to decide that.
I know you’ve been very busy lately, so are you being home-schooled?
Well, right now I am doing online school, but usually I go to public school. In January I’m gonna go back to my public school because I love it a lot and I want to stay there, and I don’t want to quit school for good quite yet, but because these past few months have been super busy, I had to do online school for just a little bit.
You miss regular school, right?
Yeah, I do miss it. I miss being taught by a real teacher and I miss my friends.
Have you gotten to know the America’s Got Talent judges really well?
Yes, I loved spending time with them, it was great. Every time I saw them it was super exciting. They were all so good to me, there was never a moment that they were mean or anything like that.
What did you do for your 14th birthday in October?
I didn’t really get to do much because I had to fly out to L.A. the next day, but I went out to dinner with my friends and we went to a theme park here in Oklahoma City, and it was Halloween-themed so it was really fun. It was a good birthday.
Since you’ve been touring a lot, which place are you most excited to see or what place was your favorite?
I loved going to Nashville. New York was amazing, and Chicago. Those are probably my three favorites.
Who goes on tour with you?
A family band, they’re called Pelican 212, and they’re really great.
Is there one thing that you always have to bring with you?
Definitely my puppets, or there wouldn’t be a show. There's a lot of things that I require. I would never go anywhere without my face wash, it’s very important. (Laughs.) Or my phone.
How many puppets do you have?
I have four.
Do you have any other hobbies?
Not necessarily. I love to water ski. I’m not very good at it, but I love doing it when summer comes around. I’m not sure. No, really, all I do is sing and do ventriloquism, that’s kind of my thing.
Do you have any other talents?
No, not really. Not that I know of.
Are there any talents that you wish you had?
I wish I could play the piano or the guitar. I always wanted to write my own music.
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What are some of your favorite things about being a ventriloquist?
Probably how whenever I do it, some people’s faces … their mouths just drop and their eyes are wide open. It makes me feel really good, it makes me giggle ‘cause I know that they’re enjoying it, I know that I wowed them. So it’s really fun to see them shocked, everyone shocked in the audience. And how unique it is, not many people can do it. And how it inspires other people. I like that about it too.
Have you seen more people around your age do ventriloquism since you’ve been doing it?
Oh yeah, I’ve seen hundreds of videos of kids, even adults and even grandparents, trying to do it and working hard on it, and it makes me feel very good to see that I’ve inspired them to try it.
OK, thank you so much. I’ve been a very big fan of yours and I’m so excited to talk to you.
No, thank you. It was awesome talking to you. I’ve never been interviewed by a 12-year-old girl, that was awesome.