When Jackie Evancho first sang for the judges on NBC’s variety show “America’s Got Talent,” there were viewers who were so shocked by her beautiful singing they were thoroughly convinced she had to be lip-synching. How else could you explain how such a perfect soprano voice could come from a child? During her next appearance in the competition, the judges asked their 10-year-old contestant to improvise a tune. She performed flawlessly, came in second place and her soon-to-be legendary career was launched.
It wasn’t just her musical gift and her age that astonished the AGT audience. It was her presence, poise and her charm that also made them take notice – “You’ve got the whole package,” AGT judge pierce Morgan explained.
“She is a prodigy; they break the rules by definition,” wrote music critic Andrew Duckenbrod in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after seeing a then-11 year old Jackie perform to a sold-out crowd in her hometown in October, 2011. “[Her] voice mesmerizes.” She has become one of the performers who has been defining the “crossover classic” category of singers – those who are equally comfortable with Puccini or pop.
Jackie is 12 now and her career has exploded since her AGT debut. Almost immediately after the competition ended, Jackie signed with Columbia Records and began fulfilling her dream. New opportunities and extraordinary experiences keep presenting themselves. Most recently, Jackie has tried her hand at both acting and modeling. She will make her acting debut in a Robert Redford-directed film “The Company You Keep” coming out later this year. Additionally she was selected by GUESS owner, Paul Marciano, to star in the Fall 2012 GUESS Kids clothing campaign, which will be unveiled late summer 2012.
Jackie has participated in the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C., where she sang – and delighted – President and Mrs. Obama. And two months later she again performed for the President and Congressional leaders during the National Prayer Breakfast.
In early 2012, Jackie was selected to travel to Russia to perform in front of 100,000 people prior to the opening of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum. Jackie, representing the United States, was honored to sing with two opera stars, Dmitri Hvorostovsky of Russia and Sumi Jo of Korea.
Jackie’s fan base also extends to Japan, where she was invited to perform for the Royal Family at the Imperial Palace. She tours regularly with the Tokyo Philharmonic to sold out venues.
Her U.S. shows have been taped for broadcast on PBS for the Great Performances series. Jackie’s first PBS special was one of the top pledge producing performances in PBS’ history. When PBS aired Dream With Me In Concert during the latter half of 2011, it instantly became one of their most broadcast programs of the year and was used extensively during pledge drives.
She was asked to do another show for the Great Performance series in 2012: Jackie Evancho: Music of the Movies which features Jackie singing classic songs from movies as diverse as “South Pacific” (Some Enchanted Evening), “Titanic” (My Heart Will Go On) and “Cinema Paridiso (Se). It premiered in August on PBS stations around the country and will be rebroadcast in the months ahead (check local listings).
To cap off her exciting year, Jackie has recorded her third album, Songs From The Silver Screen, which will be released on Oct. 2.
“I have had so much fun and done so many challenging things this year. But while I really enjoyed all the traveling and the acting and had such a great time posing in all those great clothes for GUESS, my singing is still the thing I love the most,” said Jackie.
In little more than 2 years, Jackie’s unique, gorgeous soprano has won her millions of fans and her recordings have dominated the music and DVD charts. Her warmth, charm and poise have helped her gain the support of legendary music producers like David Foster and filmmakers like Robert Redford. Billboard Magazine named Jackie to their list of music movers-and-shakers under the age of 21 because her “spellbinding, operatic vocals possess a power and poignancy that often moves listeners multiple times her age to tears.”
Jackie’s debut EP, O Holy Night, was released in November 2010; it became the year's #1 best-selling debut recording with sales exceeding 1 million copies and earning her a platinum certification.
In June 2011, Dream With Me, her first studio album was released. A mix of operatic arias, show tunes and pop standards, it debuted on the Billboard Top 200 chart at #2 and was certified Gold after only four weeks of release. Heavenly Christmas, was released in November 2011 and became one of the top-selling holiday albums of the year.
Jackie’s beauty and poise attracted attention from more than just the recording industry. Legendary actor/director/producer Robert Redford cast Jackie to play his daughter in the upcoming thriller “The Company You Keep,” which will be released later this year.
“I am so happy that Mr. Redford picked me to be in his film. And I am excited to learn from performers that are amazing at what they do,” says Jackie, who will be part of a star-studded cast that included Susan Sarandon, Shia LeBeouf, Terrance Howard, Anna Kendrick, Nick Nolte and Stanley Tucci.
Looking back, Jackie says her desire to perform was born after her family saw the film version of “The Phantom of the Opera” when she was just seven years old.
“We went to see it in the movie theater. It was very, very good,” Jackie told Pennsylvania television station WPXI.
The film made such a lasting impression on Jackie that the showstopper “Music of the Night” was the first song she selected for Songs From The Silver Screen.
It’s not the sort of dramatic tune that other pre-teen singers would pick to record. While they are limited to pop tunes, Jackie understanding of classical phrasing and her perfect pitch and diction allow her to tackle difficult music that is far beyond the ability of her peers.