When Jackie Evancho steps onto the stage at Avery Fisher Hall Monday night, she will become the youngest singer to perform solo at Lincoln Center. But that isn't the only big event going on in the life of the 11-year-old who burst into the national consciousness last year as runner-up on "America's Got Talent." The soprano prodigy, who became the youngest Top 10 debut artist with her "O Holy Night" album a year ago, also became the youngest soloist on PBS' "Great Performances" series in June. That month, her "Dream With Me" CD opened at No. 2 on the Billboard charts behind Eminem, and her latest, "Heavenly Christmas," came out Tuesday.
Now, she's acting in her first film, Robert Redford's "The Company You Keep," a political thriller with an all-star cast due out next year. In a month, the classical crossover singer will appear on television four times in five days. Those shows assuredly will be added to the more than 500 videos of her already on YouTube, led by her singing "O Mio Babbino Caro" with 10 million views. The sixth-grader carries a laptop on the road for "cyberschool" and still finds time to respond to fans on Facebook and Twitter.
After recently returning from triumphant shows in Tokyo, Jackie spoke by telephone with Newsday's Alan H. Fallick from suburban Pittsburgh, where she lives with her parents, two brothers, sister and pet menagerie.
How was Japan?
Japan was phenomenal, and the architecture was beautiful. There's so much to see.
Were the audiences different?
Yes, the people there were a lot more polite. Oh, people in the United States are polite, too, but they're more polite there. I had a translator, and she was nice, but it was weird.
You're coming to Lincoln Center. What do you think of New York?
I like the way the city looks and all the historical structures.
Do you get nervous onstage?
Yes, I do get nervous -- I always get a little bit nervous. Sometimes, my stomach hurts, and I have butterflies.
Does it take long to get a song ready, especially in a foreign language?
It doesn't take long. It's very simple, actually. Latin and Italian are similar. There are a lot of songs that I can learn.
What are your favorites?
I love a certain French song because it has a lot of emotion. It's like a lullaby. I like songs that just move me.
Who decides which songs you'll perform or record?
A group decides all the songs. If my mom, the producer and I like a song, we'll do it.
What if they like it and you don't?
Sometimes, people convince you to do it. If you say no, they'll convince you. But that doesn't happen much. I really stick to my own impressions.
I hear you're making a movie.
Yes, we started a month ago. I play the main character's daughter. I never thought I'd be in a movie now. I thought maybe when I get older. It's very exciting.
Mr. Redford is in the movie with you?
Yes, but I wouldn't say it that way. I'd say, "I'm in the movie with Mr. Redford."
Is acting hard?
It's not as hard as singing. It's a lot of fun. It changed my perspective on acting. Sure, acting is easier than singing, but getting emotional is hard. Because you're not singing a song. You're putting out your emotions in front of all those people. Sometimes, we do three or four takes, sometimes five or six. I like challenges.
How are your beautiful dresses picked?
I have a stylist, and my mom and I all narrow down the choices. Then, it's perfect.
Your fans don't know a lot about you. Let's find out some of your favorite things. Favorite food?
Favorite song to listen to?
"Golden Age" from the Galaxy Asteroids Tour.
Favorite song to sing?
I love them all too much to pick one.
Lady Gaga. I like "Poker Face."
"Phantom of the Opera." My opinion on that will never change.
Favorite school subject?
I love language arts. I love writing and reading poetry.
Your songs sound like poetry. What's your favorite on your new CD?
I love "Believe." I loved making the album, and I can't wait to make another.