It's been a busy year for Jackie Evancho, a year that included a number of “firsts” for the classical crossover singer from Pine.
Her major accomplishments in 2017 included singing the national anthem at President Trump's inauguration in January, releasing her eighth studio album in March, “Two Hearts,” that reached No. 1 on the Billboard Classical Albums chart and included four songs she wrote, and starring in a reality TV special, “Growing Up Evancho,” with her family that aired on TLC in August.
Not a bad year for a 17-year-old whose “to-do” list still includes graduating from high school this spring.
Jackie — who will perform her Hits and Christmas concert on Dec. 1 at the Palace Theatre — also got her driver's license (“I'm so proud I got it on my first try,” she says) and she moved to New York City with hopes of branching into acting in addition to furthering her music career.
Her roommate is her sister, Juliet, 19, who currently is focusing on getting modeling jobs, according to Jackie. Living in NYC is “only part time, for one week a month until I turn 18 in April,” she says. “I'll still be living at home a lot.”
DAYTON Ohio (WDTN) - The first time the world saw Jackie Evancho, she was just 10 years old and wowwing the judges on America's Got Talent. Now you have the chance to see her perform this weekend in the Miami Valley.
"I have an amazing family that tries to help relieve the stress and anxiety," said Evancho, who's gone, in the span of eight years, from a competitor in local talent shows to a one-woman industry, all the while navigating through the drawbacks and pitfalls of notoriety that became more and more intense as she became less and less a "typical" teenager.
"My dad (Michael) has become my co-manager, and my mom (Lisa), who really got me to where I am, helps guide me," Evancho said. "I honestly believe it's a family company, and I couldn't do it any other way."
Evancho might already have been on her way to singing stardom at 10 before she auditioned her way onto Season 5 of "America's Got Talent" and delivered a series of jaw-dropping performances that carried her all the way to the runner-up spot. NPR's Bob Boilen had the same reaction as many viewers, saying, "I simply couldn't believe my eyes and ears. Seeing (her) sing for the first time is nearly beyond belief."
Almost simultaneously, she was becoming an advocate for the LGBTQ community as her older sister, Juliet, was undergoing gender reassignment, making her a target at the public high school she finally had to quit, opting for online courses.
"It seems almost scary to think about going back (to her high school) because of the people that are going to be there," said Evancho, who decided she wouldn't walk with her graduating class because she wanted to be neither a victim nor a distraction.
"It's a combination of so many different things," she said of commencement in particular and high school in general no longer being in her comfort zone. "There are people who want to make fun of me for my sister, or for singing at the inauguration. And I think a lot of kids just assumed I was stuck up or something."
"I love full orchestras, but it isn't always practical," she said of her concert schedule, which she tries to hold at about four shows a month. "Right now, we've got a bunch of songs that are my top favorites from each album, and I might talk a little about why I've chosen them. "I like being a little spontaneous," she added.
Though Evancho is a self-taught pianist and guitarist — and uses both instruments when she's writing her own songs — she plays neither in her shows.
"I tried playing piano and singing on stage," she said with a laugh, "but I get the two things mixed up. It's better if I just sing."