Head Start for 13-year-old singer Jackie Evancho

11/21/2013 12:00 AM

11/22/2013 11:44 AM

At the age of 13, Jackie Evancho has accomplished more than most performers twice, or even three times, her age.

She is a platinum-selling classical singer with five Billboard 200 Top 10 hits to her name and onscreen acting credits with Oscar-winner Robert Redford.

Since shooting to fame at the age of 10, Evancho has parlayed her second-place finish on “America’s Got Talent” to a successful career with three studio albums under her belt and adoring fans at each show.

The pint-sized soprano next comes to the Turlock Community Theatre on Saturday.

While she just entered her teen years this past April, the Pennsylvania native doesn’t consider herself a child prodigy.

“I think it’s just something people call me,” she said in a phone interview with The Bee. “I don’t really see myself as something special. If I did I’d become a diva, and that’s not what I want.”

Evancho had a decidedly undiva-like beginning, posting homemade videos of herself singing on YouTube to catch the attention of the “America’s Got Talent” judges in 2010. She made it all the way to the finals of the NBC reality competition’s fifth season before losing in the finals to singer-songwriter Michael Grimm.

But being runner-up hasn’t stopped Evancho, as her post-“America’s Got Talent” albums have far outsold Grimm’s.

“I’ve learned that being No. 2 isn’t always so bad. I’ve been second place many times and I still am very happy that that has happened,” she said. “My advice to people who are trying very hard to become what they want to be is to always follow their dreams and never give up no matter what place you are in.”

Evancho calls her “America’s Got Talent” experience “of the greatest moments of (her) life.”

Her subsequent album releases, “Dream With Me” (2011), “Heavenly Christmas” (2011) and “Songs From the Silver Screen” (2012), have cemented her place as a classical crossover sensation.

She has crossed over to the silver screen herself, making her feature film debut alongside Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf and Anna Kendrick in 2012’s “The Company You Keep.” She plays Redford’s daughter in the political thriller.

“Acting is something that I would love to do again,” she said. “But if had to choose singing or acting, I’d chose singing. It is something I was born to do.”

Evancho has spent most of 2013 touring. In between performances, the home-schooled star keeps up on her studies via computer. Next year she’ll start work on her newest CD. It will include some originals and should be out by next fall.

So how does she manage her goals, when she has reached so many already before even graduating high school?

“I guess I just don’t think much of it. It’s kind of a good thing,” she said. “When you think a lot about what’s going to happen you get expectations and sometimes are let down. So I just learned that if you don’t expect something and you get something great, you enjoy it a lot more.”

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