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Interview:
Jackie Evancho is enjoying her "God-given gift"
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Jackie Evancho has worldwide fame, five Top 15 releases, a couple of film roles and PBS TV specials, and several high-profile modeling gigs.

And she's all of 13.

The prodigy from suburban Pittsburgh has been a sensation for the past five years. Inspired by the film adaptation of "The Phantom of the Opera" musical, she's also notched 13 Top 10 hits on the Billboard Classical charts. But even Evancho -- who went "pro" after performing at a Pittsburgh Teen Idol competition and finishing second during the fifth season of "America's Got Talent" -- is at a loss to explain her accomplishments.

"The only answer that we can come up with is that it's just a God-given gift," says Evancho, who sang the national anthem at the Detroit Lions' 2013 Thanksgiving Day game. "No one else in my family sings -- good, at least. But our family is very musical. My mom played clarinet and oboe in high school and has a good ear. My dad played drums. My grandpa played drums. I have uncles who have gone to music college.

"So I guess that my family is very musical, and that was a great support for this gift I got."

Evancho's most recent projects have been 2012's "Songs From the Silver Screen" and the accompanying "Music of the Movies" TV special and subsequent DVD. But she's currently working on a new album that she hopes to have out before the end of the year. The set will mix originals and covers "from pop to opera, just all over the place," she says, and it will also feature her first foray into songwriting.

"I kinda started (writing) last year," Evancho says. "It was really fun to just kind of make up little tunes on the piano, and I just decided to add words to some of those and record them and kind of make it into a song. It's fun, and I'm really excited that it's going to be part of this (album)."

Jackie Evancho performs at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 13, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $25-$65. Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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