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Jackie Evancho Interview: Young Singing Sensation Makes Silver Screen Debut in Robert Redford's "The Company You Keep"

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Image attributed to Jackie Evancho

Jackie Evancho

Jacqueline Marie “Jackie” Evancho who will be 13 years old on April 9, 2013, was inspired to sing by watching Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera. She began her career as an independent artist, releasing a self-produced album titled Prelude to a Dream in 2009. But Evancho became a household name after finishing in second place in the fifth season of America’s Got Talent.

With the 2010 holiday release of her O Holy Night EP, the young phenom became the best selling debut artist of that year, the youngest top-10 debut artist in US history and the youngest solo artist ever to go platinum. She has performed in front of President Barack Obama and her first full-length major label album, Dream With Me, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart.

“Well, it’s kind of confusing, but from what I know, Robert Redford had seen my PBS Special and thought that he could direct me. He contacted my manager and had me send in an audition tape. Within just a few weeks, I was on the set in Vancouver.”

Evancho has been touring the United States performing songs from her fourth full-length album, Songs from the Silver Screen, released in October 2012 and can currently be seen making her big screen debut in The Company You Keep, a film produced and directed by Robert Redford, which hits theaters April 5, 2013.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Jackie, Happy upcoming birthday, and congratulations on becoming a teenager!

Jackie Evancho: Thank you!

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Congratulations also on landing your first film role. Did you audition for Robert Redford?

Jackie Evancho: Well, it’s kind of confusing, but from what I know, Robert Redford had seen my PBS Special and thought that he could direct me. He contacted my manager and had me send in an audition tape. Within just a few weeks, I was on the set in Vancouver.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): That was rather fast!

Jackie Evancho: Yeah (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Did you find it difficult memorizing lines?

Jackie Evancho: No. The lines were actually pretty simple. The character was like me except a little bit sadder, like depressed.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Did you have to cry on cue?

Jackie Evancho: I didn’t have to, but it kind of added to the drama of it, so I tried to add in some crying. I don’t know if it worked out or not, or if you could tell (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Why is your character so sad?

Jackie Evancho: I play Isabel, and she just lost her mom, so she’s sad and confused because her dad also left her, and she didn’t know why. All she has is the hope that he will come back.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Was Robert Redford a nice guy to work with?

Jackie Evancho: Yes, he was. He’s a great director because he was so patient and understanding of the situation I was in, so I was very thankful for that.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You’re probably a little too young to remember some of Redford’s more famous films (laughs).

Jackie Evancho: Yeah (laughs). My dad told me he was a cowboy.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): He certainly has played a cowboy in several films. After this experience, are you interested in acting in more films?

Jackie Evancho: I would love to do more films, and I think it would be great if I became an actor/singer. If I had to choose one, I would definitely continue singing because singing is always going to be my main passion, but I think it would be great to act in the future.

Melissa Parker (Smashing interviews Magazine): You have been described as being a gifted child singer with a natural talent. What did your parents say when they found out you had a special vocal gift?

Jackie Evancho: To be honest, I’m not sure. They didn’t really think much of it, just thought I was better than usual with something that I loved and that when I got serious, I was really good at it. Many times they told me I needed to boost my confidence. I wouldn’t say I had low confidence, but …

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Maybe just a little shy?

Jackie Evancho: Yeah.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Were you always interested in music?

Jackie Evancho: Yes. I loved playing the piano, and I had played violin in school. I didn’t take professional lessons, but I always loved music and singing around the house.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Piers Morgan rarely raved about a contestant on America’s Got Talent, but he said, “That was perfection,” after your performance of “Ave Maria.” How did you feel about that experience on the show?

Jackie Evancho: It was a super exhilarating and exciting experience. For my first time on TV, I was very excited and nervous at the same time. I actually enjoyed the experience, and I was very honored that Piers and Sharon said such nice things about me.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What stands out as being one of the highlights of your career?

Jackie Evancho: I recently did a Cirque du Soleil show, and that was an amazing thing. My parents said that I sounded phenomenal. I was really, really excited. I performed 100 feet in the air in a harness. It was awesome.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you practice singing every day?

Jackie Evancho: Not really. I should practice, but I actually don’t as often as I should. I practice. It’s just that it’s not every day. Basically, my mom and I go through the songs, and we just pick out the flaws and fix them. Then we go through the song again. Usually we just pick out three to five songs from my concert list, and then we go through them. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, just so long as we get an understanding of the songs.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You attend cyber school?

Jackie Evancho: Yes. I do online public school. I mean, I loved public school, so I kind of miss it, but online public school is like the second best thing.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I’m sure you made friendships in public school. Do you still hang out with those friends, or do they believe you are just too famous for them?

Jackie Evancho: I still have my true friends. I only have two, which I’m very thankful to have, and I think they are truly the best friends I could ever have.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Tell me about your work with The Humane Society of the United States.

Jackie Evancho: They named me an Ambassador for Animals. Sometimes I’ll perform at the benefits to save the seals because I love them so much.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): In addition to your upcoming concerts, will there be new music coming out this year?

Jackie Evancho: I was thinking about a new album or songs for a new album. We’re not making one yet, but for the next one, I’d love to have original songs … songs that I wrote.

© 2013 Smashing Interviews Magazine. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written consent of the publisher.

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