It was Jackie Evancho’ love of the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” that stirred the passion within her to begin singing and posting videos to YouTube. Not long after gaining a degree of notoriety for those videos Jackie decided to submit her rendition of “Panis Angelicus” to a special YouTube episode during the 5th season of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” variety show. The response was overwhelming and earned her the opportunity to perform in front of the judges on live television.
Jackie’s first performance on 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 music 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 have been defining the “crossover classic” category of singers – those who are equally comfortable with Puccini or pop.”
Since her appearance on the show that made her famous Jackie has been able to break through being typecast as “reality show singer” and has established herself as a legitimate force within the classical crossover genre. In the short time since gaining fame, Jackie’s unique, gorgeous, soprano voice has won her millions of fans and her recordings have dominated the music and DVD charts. Since the age of 10, 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.” Her humility and politeness even earned her accolades as one 2011’s ten best mannered people according to The National League of Junior Cotillions.
Jackie’s debut EP, O Holy Night, was released in November 2010 and became the year’s #1 best-selling debut recording with sales exceeding 1 million copies and earned 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 #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 many high profile events including the Oprah finale spectacular as well as 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 and toured 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). To follow up her Great Performance special, Jackie released her third studio album, “Songs From The Silver Screen” on October 2, 2012 where it debuted at #1 on the Billboard Classical charts and at #7 on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart.
2012 became an even busier year when Jackie decided to try 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 which came out in theaters in 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 is 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 the Fall 2012 GUESS Kids clothing campaigns. “I have had so much fun and done so many challenging things. 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.
In March 2013 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.
After parting ways with Columbia Records Jackie found a home with Sony Masterworks and released her third studio album in July of 2014 and like her other albums before, “Awakening” too debuted at #1 on Billboard’s classical charts. In December of 2014 a new PBS special, “Awakening Live In Concert” was pledged in support of her album and tour.
And the journey continues……