Jackie Evanco: Singer's talent takes her to Atlantic City

Her strong de­sire to per­form was sparked after see­ing the film ver­sion of The Phantom of the Op­era.

“I al­ways loved to sing and knew I had this voice, but I was mes­mer­ized after see­ing the movie when I was just four years old. I came home and began to sing all the time around the house,” said Jack­ie Evanco, last year’s run­ner-up on Amer­ica’s Got Tal­ent.

Now a petite and ex­tremely well-spoken 11-year-old, Jack­ie’s is ready to take the stage at the Trump Taj Ma­hal on Sat­urday, Dec. 17.

Jack­ie’s moth­er bought the Phantom DVD for her child’s en­joy­ment and listened as her little daugh­ter art­fully sang the me­lo­dra­mat­ic tunes from the film.

“My mom thought I soun­ded pretty good, but I thought every moth­er felt that way about their child,” said Jack­ie.

However, her beau­ti­ful voice even­tu­ally con­vinced her par­ents her voice was not like every oth­er child’s, and they de­cided to help her take a chance at star­dom, be­gin­ning with a stint at a tal­ent com­pet­i­tion known as Teen Idol and held in her ho­met­own of Pitt­s­burgh.

“I en­joyed the ex­per­i­ence and ended up first run­ner-up to a twenty-year-old op­era sing­er,” said Jack­ie, “and it all star­ted from there. Next came my au­di­tions for Amer­ica’s Got Tal­ent. Un­for­tu­nately, I was turned down twice.”

But Jack­ie’s fam­ily, be­liev­ing strongly in her tal­ent, would not be de­terred. One day, her par­ents de­cided to post a video of her on You­Tube to com­pete for a slot on the pop­u­lar TV tal­ent show. And it was like a ma­gic but­ton had been pushed, ul­ti­mately send­ing Jack­ie to the top of the en­ter­tain­ment in­dustry. In less than 18 months, her gor­geous sop­rano voice has won her mil­lions of fans, and her re­cord­ings have dom­in­ated the mu­sic and DVD charts.

Already the re­cip­i­ent of plat­in­um and gold re­cords and mu­sic in­dustry ac­claim, she’s ac­cep­ted a brand-new chal­lenge to make her de­but as an act­ress in a polit­ic­al thrill­er play­ing Robert Red­ford’s daugh­ter in The Com­pany You Keep.

Today, Jack­ie’s clear and dis­tinct­ive op­er­at­ic voice, her un­der­stand­ing of clas­sic­al phras­ing and her per­fect pitch first led listen­ers to be­lieve she was lip-syncing. But what every­one heard was Jack­ie.

“I nev­er had voice les­sons and, to be hon­est, I nev­er prac­tice. I guess you could say it all just comes nat­ur­ally to me,” she said.

Now trav­el­ing around the globe to the de­light of audi­ences every­where, Jack­ie travels with her moth­er and older broth­er, Jac­ob. The broth­er and sis­ter are schooled on­line. Her two young­er sib­lings are at home with their fath­er, and they at­tend pub­lic school.

“That does mean my ca­reer is dif­fi­cult in a way,” she ac­know­ledged. “It keeps my fam­ily apart, and I do think my young­er broth­er and sis­ter miss hav­ing mom around. But as for me, I don’t think I’m miss­ing out on any­thing. In fact, I think I’m adding a big part to my child­hood.

“I know I may miss out on hav­ing a choice to be­come a nurse or a vet be­cause my ca­reer has already been chosen,” she ad­ded, “but I al­ways wanted to be a sing­er. I just nev­er thought it would ac­tu­ally hap­pen, be­cause I heard so many people out there want to be a sing­er but it doesn’t work out, so I did have some al­tern­at­ives in mind.”

But there’s no need for that now. Jack­ie Evanco has achieved in­ter­na­tion­al star­dom and she’s not even a teen­ager yet. Her latest CD, Heav­enly Christ­mas, a full-length hol­i­day al­bum, was just re­leased last month and is already selling fast.

Still, this tiny blond beauty stays groun­ded. How does she deal with such suc­cess at such a young age?

“Really,” she answered quickly, “I truly don’t be­lieve I’m fam­ous. I feel like I’m still try­ing to get to that point. And with it all, I try to stay as down to earth as pos­sible. And so far, so good.” ••

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