Some actors spend a lifetime searching without success for that one break that will catapult them onto a Broadway stage.
In just the last couple of years, Jackie Evancho has made a habit out of turning down such golden career opportunities.
Nothing personal, said the pre-teen singing prodigy whose angelic, classical-crossover voice stunned both the audience and the judges on the 2010 season of the NBC talent showcase America’s Got Talent. She just doesn’t feel like changing the way she sings.
During an October chat with public television station WQED in her hometown of Pittsburgh, Evancho said she’s not interested in the legitimate stage if it means having to sing “differently,” or in the time-honored tradition of “belting” out Broadway show tunes.
That’s not the sound that brought her to the dance and propelled her to a second-place finish on AGT and also lifted her from complete anonymity to concert hall headliner in less than a year. Best of all, Evancho’s heavenly voice — AGT judge Piers Morgan wondered aloud on the show if she was 30, not 10 — “has matured a lot” in the 30 months since she first appeared on the TV series, she told the Star-Ledger of Newark last June.
Home-schooled by her mother and taking classes online when she isn’t performing, Evancho, who turns 13 in April, is back on the road now touring major venues in support of her fourth album, Songs From the Silver Screen. Her road trip stops at Revel’s Ovation Hall on Saturday, Feb. 16, for a one-night stand, where she’ll become the youngest headliner ever to fly solo on the Boardwalk during the casino era.
Evancho understands she must make sacrifices in order to indulge her passion for singing, and one of them is the ability to attend public junior high school while simultaneously trying to juggle an adult career.
“I miss my friends in public school but it’s kind of a part of something that you have to give up,” Evancho said. “I’d rather perform than go to public school.”
Ever since she began performing publicly, her parents — Mike and Lisa Evancho— have been abundantly careful to make sure their preciously talented daughter is doing what she wants to do and to make sure everyone understands Jackie is making the decisions, not her parents, managers or agents.
To be certain, the international vocal group Il Divo was hardly the music world’s first “manufactured” ensemble. The movie studio Screen Gems created The Monkees in 1965. Of more recent vintage, now-imprisoned music producer Lou Pearlman organized the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync in the mid-1990s.