Jackie Evancho’s first performance on NBC’s variety show “America’s Got Talent” left audiences and judges astonished that such a perfect, beautiful, soprano voice could come from a 10 year-old girl. During her next appearance in the competition, judges asked Jackie to improvise a tune which she performed flawlessly. It wasn’t just her musical gift and her age that floored the “America’s Got Talent” audience, but Jackie’s presence, poise and charm that truly made them take notice. One of the show’s judges, Piers Morgan, explained, “You’ve got the whole package.”
The young soprano from Pittsburgh with the stunning voice won runner-up and launched her soon-to-be legendary career, signing with Columbia Records shortly thereafter.
“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 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.”
In a little over two years, Jackie’s unique, gorgeous, soprano voice has won her millions of fans and her recordings have dominated the music and DVD charts. Now 13, Jackie has garnered the support of legendary music producers like David Foster and filmmakers such as Robert Redford. Billboard Magazine named Jackie to their list of music movers-and-shakers under the age of 21 in 2011 and again in 2012 because the soprano’s “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 and became the year's number 1 best-selling debut recording with sales exceeding 1 million copies and earning her a platinum certification. In June 2011, Jackie released her first studio album, Dream With Me. A mix of operatic arias, show tunes and pop standards, it debuted on the Billboard Top 200 chart at number 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 has participated in the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C., where she sang—and delighted—President and Mrs. Obama. Two months later, she was again invited to perform 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 are also sell-outs and 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).
Capping off an incredible year, Jackie released her third studio album, Songs From The Silver Screen, on October 2, 2012. The album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Classical charts and at number 7 on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart.
Most recently, Jackie has tried her hand at both acting and modeling. She made her acting debut in “The Company You Keep.” Legendary actor/director/producer Robert Redford cast Jackie to play his daughter in the thriller scheduled to be released April 2013. “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 includes Susan Sarandon, Shia LaBeouf, Anna Kendrick, Terrance Howard, Nick Nolte and Stanley Tucci.
Off screen, Jackie was selected by GUESS owner, Paul Marciano, to star in both the Fall 2012 and Fall 2013 GUESS Kids clothing campaigns. “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, singing is still the thing I love the most,” said Jackie.
This March Jackie performed as part of an unprecedented Cirque du Soleil extravaganza at the Bellagio’s “O” Theatre to support “One Night for One Drop” on World Water Day. For the first time ever, all Cirque du Soleil shows closed their doors in order for 200 performers to collaborate in the once-in-a-lifetime show. Jackie starred as the show’s special guest and participated in a breathtaking water and aerial performance.
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. 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, but Jackie’s understanding of classical phrasing, her perfect pitch and diction continually allow her to tackle difficult music that is far beyond the ability of her peers.