Pop classics: With latest CD, ‘Two Hearts,’ singer Jackie Evancho adds songwriter to her portfolio
Singing prodigy Jackie Evancho returns to grace the stage of the State Theatre Center for the Arts, 7 p.m. Nov. 29.
The lauded classical crossover singer rose to fame after appearing on “America’s Got Talent” at age 10 and astounding audiences with her mature, rich sound. Now 16-years-old, she seeks to craft a career on her own terms.
“I’m in the middle of figuring out who I am. I am looking to be outside of being defined by a certain genre. I think it would be really cool to kind of go, ‘One day, I want to sing classical; the other, I want to sing pop,’ to just kind of mix it up.”
Evancho’s newest album, “Two Hearts,” exemplifies this musical diversity. The record features songs that Evancho wished to sing but hadn’t had the opportunity to. It includes classical crossover tracks such as “Caruso” and “Attesa” countered by pop icon Taylor Swift’s “Safe and Sound” and Sam Smith’s “Writing’s On The Wall.”
The album also features the classic hymn, “How Great Thou Art,” and Enya’s “May It Be” from the film, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.” Evancho debuts as a collaborative songwriter on four tracks, including “Apocalypse” and “Pedestal.”
“Whenever a lyric pops into my head, no matter where I am, I write it down,” Evancho says. “But when I do it with other people it’s usually just sitting down in a room and spitting out different ideas. And it’s really encouraging and supportive because everybody’s like, “Oh that’s a great idea. Let’s work with it.’”
Future albums are sure to include originals written by Evancho. She purposely wants to use her platform for good and understands the power of music.
“I know it sounds cheesy, but I hope to make the world a better place in any way that I can. People should just be allowed to be happy with themselves, without judgment, without people constantly posting about it or saying things about it. I like that you can convey a message through the peaceful language that is music.”
Concert-goers can look forward to a mix of holiday tunes, classical standards and tracks off the new album.
“I’m not going to specify just because I’d like to keep it a surprise, but I am kind of rearranging my stage as well. It’s going to be a little new. Nobody’s really seen it before,” says Evancho.
Evancho has had several platinum and gold albums, with sales of more than 2.5 million in the United States. She is the youngest solo platinum artist, the youngest Top 5 debut artist in the United Kingdom, and the youngest person to give a solo concert at Lincoln Center. All six of Evancho’s albums have hit No. 1 on the Billboard Classical chart.
In the whirlwind of international fame, performing the national anthem at the 2017 Presidential Inauguration, and singing for Pope Francis I during his U.S., Evancho remains grounded. She lives in Pittsburgh with her family, where she recently got her driver’s license. A typical day consists of school and time spent with her family, friends and boyfriend. She plans on studying criminal psychology in college. She has wise advice for young, aspiring performers, like she herself once was.
“No matter what people say or what they do or post about on social media, you should definitely stay true to what you do believe in and who you are. Don’t listen to the ‘haters.’ I know that everybody says that, but it’s a true fact and it’s really important.”
Tickets: State Theatre Center for the Arts box office, 453 Northampton St., Easton; statetheatre.org; 1-800-999-7828; 610-252-3132