Q&A: Jackie Evancho on new album, school and Gaga
NEW YORK (AP) — America literally said Jackie Evancho had talent.
But the 14-year-old classically crossover singer, who achieved platinum success at the tender age of 10, remained unconvinced.
"To be honest, I still don't completely believe I sound as good as everyone says I do," said Evancho, who placed second on "America's Got Talent" in 2010. "I never thought that I was good when I was little and until this day, I still can't stand listening to myself 'cause I don't feel like I'm really good."
Despite her own opinion, others have flocked to hear Evancho's maturing pipes. She has released multiple albums, including the 2010 platinum EP, "O Holy Night," and the gold-selling "Dream With Me" in 2011.
On Tuesday, she released "Awakening," which includes covers of songs from U2's "With or Without You" and "The Rains of Castamere" from HBO's "Game of Thrones." It's also Evancho's first album to include original songs.
In an interview with The Associated Press, the teen — who will launch a U.S. tour Nov. 5 in San Antonio — spoke about new music, the ninth grade and more.
AP: What was it like covering U2's "With or Without You"?
Evancho: I wanted to have that original, kind of rocky feel that their version had, along with my own mixture of my classical, crossover voice. So basically I was just thinking about how I was going to balance it out.
AP: Now that you're 14, is recording music different?
Evancho: It's a lot more relaxed. Now that I have more experience in it, I don't feel like I have to be perfect at everything.
AP: This is the first album to include original songs. What was that like?
Evancho: I prefer to record original material because I make it my own, and it's like, I'm making my own thing almost. You know Taylor Swift has her own thing — well, I feel like that.
AP: Do you have to follow a lot of rules to protect your voice?
Evancho: Before a show I tend to not eat at all really. You're not allowed to eat dairy or caffeine. You should hold back on talking or screaming, which is difficult with siblings (laughs).
AP: Did you know you wanted to be a singer at age 5?
Evancho: Yeah. I've always loved singing no matter what. When I was 5 and I was singing, I wasn't as good as I am now, and my parents would always tell me to 'shut up' because I was really bad then. And then I got my tonsils removed and I guess my voice opened up, and I was able to sing for real. And my parents thought I actually had a pretty good voice and I was like, 'Ha, I showed you!'
AP: Who were your musical influences then?
Evancho: Anyone in the movie 'The Phantom of the Opera' because I was obsessed with that movie when I was a little girl.
AP: Who are you listening to now?
Evancho: I listen to the Black Keys, Maroon 5, Beethoven — just a whole different range of genres and songs.
AP: Do you have a dream list of collaborators?
Evancho: I'd love to record a song with Lady Gaga, as crazy as it sounds. Because she herself is crazy and she's always been one of the artists I love to listen to, and she's so independent and inspirational. And I think it just would be really fun to see Lady Gaga and her outrageous outfits and then me and the little classical gown. It's just a crazy pairing.
AP: How is school going?
Evancho: It's good. This year was a lot easier for me because I'm not coming in halfway through the year, whereas last year I did do that. The kids are more accepting, but still give me trouble, just not too much. I'm keeping up with my grades a lot more and I'm proud of that!
AP: Do you have a favorite subject?
Evancho: Right now for this year I really love math and English because my teachers are really awesome.
AP: You had a role in "The Company You Keep" alongside Robert Redford and Shia LaBeouf. Do you want act more?
Evancho: With the movie I was in, I had a great time. But if I had to choose singing over acting, it would definitely be singing.
AP: Do you want to do Broadway?
Evancho: I'd love to do Broadway if it weren't for the style of singing that they use. Because they always look for a specific style and I can't do that style because it's not very good for my voice.
Follow Mesfin Fekadu at twitter.com/MusicMesfin