A little lady with big voice, Jackie Evancho recently stunned a Bangkok audience with her pitch perfect duet with Andrea Bocelli
IF THERE’S ANYTHING on Earth close to the sound of an angel, it must be the heavenly voice of Jackie Evancho, star of the fifth season of “America’s Got Talent” and today, at age 15, one of the world’s most adored vocalists.
After wowing the whole world with classical crossover songs in 2010, when she was only 10, Evancho was immediately signed by Columbia Records where she released a string of successful recordings including “O Holy Night”, “Dream With Me”, “Heavenly Christmas”, “Songs from the Silver Screens” and her most recent, “Awakening” in 2014.
Evancho has performed at the National Christmas Tree lighting concert in Washington, in front of US President Obama, stunned a 100,000-strong Russian audience by singing with opera stars Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Sumi Jo and has performed in Japan before the royal family at the Imperial Palace. Such achievements prompted Billboard to include her on the list of “music moves-and-shakers under the age of 21” in 2011 and 2012.
Evancho was in Bangkok recently to perform in Andrea Bocelli’s concert alongside David Foster, Katharine McPhee and Maria Aleida. We had a chat with the minor superstar after the show.
DID YOU ENJOY THE SHOW? YOU GOT TO SING WITH ANDREA BOCELLI.
The show was so much fun. And yes, I got to perform with one of my idols, Andrea Bocelli. We sang “Con Te Partiro” together, which is one of the songs that I sang on “America’s Got Talent”. The thing that kept going through my mind while I was singing with him was that I would mess up my Italian, which would have been very embarrassing. It was such a great experience, and after the show he said to me “great job”, and that’s a big deal coming from Andrea Bocelli. I think the show was great and all the artists were phenomenal.
HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE MUSIC SCENE NOW?
I know that I have something because that’s what people tell me. I don’t really feel that my voice is so out there because in my head I still sound like a little girl but everyone else says I sound like a 20-year-old or 40-year-old opera singer. It doesn’t make sense to me! I started singing when I was eight years old. Before “America’s Got Talent” it was mainly my mum and one sibling coming with me. We would just get in our car, drive all across the East Coast trying to be seen or get noticed. We just did little talent competitions here and there.
WHAT KINDS OF MUSIC DID YOU GROW UP LISTENING TO?
All sorts of music actually – whatever was on the radio or whatever my parents played. It could go from pop music to music that my dad listened to when he was younger, and I love all of it. I respect all music. But I was inspired to sing by the musical “The Phantom of the Opera”. The music just clicked.
YOU’RE THE YOUNGEST TOP-10 DEBUT ARTIST IN US HISTORY AND THE YOUNGEST SOLO ARTIST EVER TO GO PLATINUM. HOW DOES THAT FEEL? DID SUCCESS COME TOO SOON FOR YOU?
It was a great honour. It was surreal actually. I still don’t believe that it’s real. My whole life I wanted to be a singer, so experiencing this is like a dream come true. Not a lot of people get to experience that so I’m really honoured that I’m one of the few people who can. And no, I don’t think success came too soon for me. It came pretty slow and at a good, steady pace. I think my parents and the record label and the people that I work with did a great job of making sure it did not come too fast.
DO YOU GET RECOGNISED BY THE FANS A LOT?
A lot of people don’t recognise me unless I’m wearing a dress. Most people saw me when I was a little girl on “America’s Got Talent” and they don’t realise that I’m growing up. The way I dress normally is so different from the way that people see me when I’m in public. I don’t wear giant ball dresses all the time!
HOW DO YOU KEEP UP WITH SCHOOL?
I go to public school, so I will let the teachers know when I’m leaving and how long I’ll be gone for, and they will give me the work ahead of time that I will have to finish and turn in. Most of the time it’s worked out, but sometimes it doesn’t! Keeping up with school is the most challenging, and the most important, thing I do because I plan to go to college and hopefully I will get a good education. It’s difficult when you’re gone a lot and the teachers do get irritated by it, but it’s turning out pretty well so far. I would like to study psychology and philosophy. A lot of people ask if I want to study music, but I feel that I’ve mastered the music already – It’s my job and my life.
WHY DOES PSYCHOLOGY INTEREST YOU?
I like reading people, and I like to figure out what they’re thinking – it’s very interesting. I also grew up with a lot of crime TV shows like “Law and Order”, “Criminal Minds” because my mum is a great fan. I guess that’s what inspired me.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR INVOLVEMENT WITH THE HUMANE SOCIETY TO SAVE SEALS.
When I was little I thought seals were the most adorable things ever. Then I found out that these cute animals are being attacked and hurt for no reason. So when I started to become known I decided to use that fame to try and help as much as I could, to stop that cruelty and boycott it. I’ve been working with the Humane Society as an ambassador to save these animals. It’s a great honour for me.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
I’ll have a break for two months and probably go to a beach somewhere with my family. Then I’ll have a tour to promote “Awakening” and some shows with David Foster. I think we’ll be back in Asia again in August.