When Jackie Evancho received the invitation to sing the National Anthem at the inauguration of Donald Trump the 16-year-old singer didn’t think twice before accepting.
“When I heard that there was even a possibility of me performing, as I’ve said before, it’s an honor for me to perform for my country,” Evancho said one day last week after school let out in her Pennsylvania hometown. “I don’t think about politics, I just immediately thought, ‘Of course.’”
Evancho, who plays at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert on Saturday and the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, says she had expected some people to criticize her decision — and some did — but many of her fans backed her right to decide for herself.
“And I paid most of my attention to the positive stuff,” she says.
“I did feel the pressure but mentally I treated it as if it was a plain old concert or a TV show,” Evancho says of her brief time in the spotlight at the inauguration. “I had to go through more security, but I tried to treat it like a normal day.”
Keeping it normal has been her goal since she was a very young child with a very big voice. While still in the single digits she started performing, but it wasn’t until she was the ripe old age of 10 that she made it onto “America’s Got Talent,” finishing second in the televised contest to someone whose name no one remembers in comparison to hers.
“I guess that since I have experienced (the public spotlight) for half of my life I really don’t remember much of anything else,” Evancho says. “It’s kind of like my regular life, except for the traveling. I just feel very privileged that I have this opportunity.”
Her résumé is filled with youngest this and that, including youngest solo artist to score a platinum album, youngest to headline a variety of prestigious venues.
“I think at the time it was really neat, and it still is, but as I get older I do think it would be…