Grown-up Jackie Evancho coming home for Byham Theater concert
Jackie Evancho has been pushing the limits of her career ever since she was 10 years old.
The classical-crossover song stylist from Pine in Pittsburgh’s North Hills has come a long way since she first made her singing debut on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”
Recently turning 19, her latest project took her out of her comfort zone again, where against a backdrop of a busy Times Square in New York City, Evancho filmed a music video for an updated version of “Burn,” one of composer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s passionate songs from the Broadway musical, “Hamilton.”
The video, shot on a cold day in March as she recalled, was for the April 12 release of the multi-platinum recording artist’s new album, “The Debut,” in which she takes on a re-emerging genre in popular music, Broadway’s New American Songbook.
In addition to “Burn” from “Hamilton,” her album includes other Broadway musical hits, including “A Million Dreams” (“The Greatest Showman”), “Somewhere” (“West Side Story”), “Requiem” (“Dear Evan Hansen”) and “I’m Not that Girl” (“Wicked”).
Evancho will perform some of the songs from the new recording — her eighth full studio album — for her hometown fans in a concert May 31 at the Byham Theater downtown. Her last album, “Two Hearts,” was released in 2017.
She says she’ll also be trying out a few new things at her Pittsburgh show, including the addition of a six-piece band and one or more wardrobe changes.
Since her 18th birthday last year, Evancho has been taking charge of her career, making decisions that she says other people are listening to as she plans her future.
The self-trained singer has been visiting a voice coach lately to help her learn “some proper techniques” so she doesn’t strain and damage her vocal cords.
“I only recently discovered more of a chesty voice that is a great tool for me to utilize in different ways,” she says. “It’s more full, which works well for some of the popular songs on my new album,” rather than her operatic singing style for the classical music she performs as part of her repertoire.
Her pre-concert regime involves “drinking tons of water before every show and even more tea throughout the day,” she says, adding that she used to drink Earl Grey but now prefers Throat Coat, a throat-soothing herbal tea containing licorice root.
Back in the ‘Burgh
With a fall concert calendar that’s filling up with performances promoting her new album, including in Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Jose, Calif., Evancho is taking the opportunity to enjoy some down time with her family in Pittsburgh.
Now living in New York City most of the time, she was back at her parents’ home in Pine for Mother’s Day, which included a family dinner at Andora Restaurant in Fox Chapel, a place they like to visit “when we want to spoil ourselves,” she says with a laugh.
She’s also embracing her hobby of painting, focusing mostly on creating portraits of women.
“I’ve always loved painting,” she says. “Art was something I did a lot to pass the time in planes” traveling to singing engagements and appearances.
The Pine-Richland High School graduate is looking forward to her family’s summer vacation in Rehoboth Beach, Del.
“It’s kinda an annual tradition for us,” she says. “It’s our happy place.”
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.