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.” ••

For times and ticket information, call 1–800–736–1420.