Jackie Evancho is an American classical crossover singer who gained a nationwide fame very early in her life. Born and brought up in Pennsylvania, she started her musical career at the age of 9 when she emerged as the first runner up in the talent hunt show ‘Hitman Talent Hunt Contest.’ In November 2009, Jackie released her debut album as an independent artist named ‘Prelude to a Dream,’ in which she sang covers for many classic songs. She gained a steady fan following via YouTube and participated in the fifth season of ‘America’s Got Talent’ where she ended up as the first runner up. Columbia records signed her on and she released her debut studio album in 2010 titled ‘O Holy Night.’ The album was a major critical and commercial success and Jackie kept the successful momentum with her subsequent six albums as well. Even before she turned 18, she was one of the most recognizable faces in the American classical singing. Three of her albums have debuted on the top of Billboard 200 charts. In 2017, she was invited to sing the American national anthem during the presidential inauguration for Donald Trump.
Childhood & Early Career
Jackie Evancho was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on April 9, 2000 to parents Michael and Lisa Evancho. She belonged to a middle class family where her father operated a video security business of his own. She was born as the second child in the family and has an older transgender sister and a young brother and a sister.
She started taking interest in the classical music at the age of 4 when she came across the film ‘Phantom of the Opera.’ With that, she fell in love with the art of singing and practised on her own. As it turned out, she was a natural at that and as a kid she started participating in several local singing competitions. When she did not achieve desirable success there, she started performing at different venues around the state which turned her into a minor celebrity around her locality.
When she turned 8, her parents started recognizing the immense talent that Jackie harboured. She then participated in a local talent hunt show called ‘Kean Idol,’ where she ended up being the first runner up. Following the partly successful stint, she realized the value of professional coaching in singing and got enrolled into singing classes.
She further went on performing at several venues such as schools, churches and family gatherings and grew more popular. She went to Pine Richland School District and somehow managed her academics with her career. Around 2009, she created her own YouTube channel and began uploading video clips from her performances. She released her collection of classic songs and compiled them in an album called ‘Prelude to a Dream,’ which was released independently.
In 2009, she caught the attention of a young music producer named David Foster who took her on a tour with him called ‘David Foster & Friends’ concert. She further ended up as the first runner up in the ‘Hitman Talent Hunt Contest.’ By then, her YouTube fan following was growing at a very steady rate promising her more attention in the future.
After getting rejected twice, she auditioned for the fifth season of ‘America’s Got Talent’ and her talent paid off the third time around. She began as one of the strongest contenders for the win, but by the end of it she lost in the finals and emerged as the first runner up. The show brought her a gigantic exposure and she became a national celebrity in USA. An estimate said that her performances were watched by about 16 million Americans.
After her semi-successful stint with ‘America’s Got Talent,’ Jackie embarked on a nationwide tour to 10 cities with ‘America’s Got Talent: Live Tour.’ It was followed by a contract with Columbia Records and SYCO music and she started working on her debut studio album.
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In November 2010, Jackie released her debut album titled ‘O Holy Night’ and it became an instant success. It debuted on the 2nd spot on Billboard 200 chart and made Jackie the youngest solo artist to debut in the top 10 list of the chart. She further became the top selling debut artist of 2010. The album further went on attaining top 3 spots in the Billboard Classical and Billboard Holiday Albums charts and sold 2,39,000 copies in the first week of its release.
The album was promoted on several platforms such as ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ and ‘The Today Show,’ further ensuring the humongous success of the album. The overwhelming success of the first album was followed by a second album titled ‘Dream with Me,’ which got released in June 2011. The album debuted on the second spot on Billboard 200 and was certified gold by the RIAA.
The album’s success crossed the national borders and Jackie became the youngest artist ever to debut on the top 5 in UK. The album featured covers of some classical songs along with some originals with some of the lyrics written by Jackie herself. Several mainstream classical singers such as Barbara Streisand and Susan Boyle contributed their talents to the success of the album.
In July 2011, Jackie embarked on her first nationwide solo tour in order to further promote her album and performed at 18 venues across the nation. In December 2011, she came out with her Christmas album titled ‘Heavenly Christmas.’ This was her first album to not debut in the top 10 of Billboard 200 but kept dominating the Billboard Classical chart. Eventually, Billboard ranked ‘Heavenly Christmas’ on the fourth spot for the list of highest selling classical albums of the year.
Keeping up with the pace, Jackie released her fourth full length studio album in October 2012 titled ‘Songs from the Silver Screen.’ The album included Jackie’s rendition of popular songs from the classic films such as ‘The Lion King,’ ‘Titanic,’ ‘Moulin Rouge!’ and ‘South Pacific.’ The album debuted on the 7th spot on the Billboard 200 thus making Jackie the youngest ever musician to have three Billboard top 10 albums.
In September 2014, Jackie released her next album titled ‘Awakening.’ This album was unique than her previous efforts in many ways. It had covers of some classical songs along with the classical covers of some contemporary songs. One of the most loved songs from the album was Jackie’s rendition of the song ‘Rains of Castemere’ from the popular fantasy drama series ‘Game of Thrones.’ The album debuted at the 17th spot in the Billboard 200 charts.
In October 2016, Jackie released her third Christmas album titled ‘Someday at Christmas,’ which received average reviews from her fans and critics alike. It barely managed a place in Billboard 200’s top 100 list. It was named the 27th bestselling album of 2016. In March 2017, Jackie released her seventh and her last album to date titled ‘Two Hearts.’ The album debuted on the 100th spot on Billboard 200 and at the top of the Billboard Classical charts. The promotions took place during a live tour and on TV shows such as ‘New York Live,’ ‘The View’ and ‘Today Show.’
Jackie Evancho is still young and hence, her mother accompanies her during all her tours and studio recordings.
She has drawn comparisons with singer Taylor Swift owing to uncanny similarities between their voices.
As she could not manage her academics and career, she has taken up online coaching to finish her studies.