Jacob, Jackie Evancho’s Big Brother


DATE: August 31, 2012
CONTEXT: Recently, Jackie has said that at present her older brother, Jacob, enjoyed the chance to perform on stage with her at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles, but that he does not think he will pursue a singing career. “He’s too nervous”, Jackie said. Be that as it may, we, the editors of Best of Jackie on the Web, were at the Orpheum concert, and like our contributor Friday Bridge, we thought Jacob sounded terrific and that he appeared poised and professional. He had a delightful manner with his sister, he smiled easily both at her and at the crowd, and he was not so stage struck that he was unable to think on his feet. Especially considering his young age (he’s only fourteen), he shows great promise.

There is so much talent in the Evancho family! “What next can we expect from the Evanchos,” Friday Bridge asks. “Zack on violin? Rachel on trumpet?”


This past spring, it was announced that Jackie would soon be back in the studio, recording her next album. Information became available in a slow torture of leaks. The theme was leaked first, the playlist followed a while later. Next, the album’s producer was named, Humberto Gattica, one of the greats in the profession. Finally, it was announced that PBS had committed to produce her playlist as her second Great Performances special, Music of the Movies. Everything was falling into place. Now to discover the playlist.

Well, we didn’t have long to wait. Many great songs were named, including “Se” from Cinema Paradiso, “The Summer Knows” from Summer of ‘42, and “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” from”Titanic”. Tucked in among many marvelous songs was the award-winning Disney duet, “I See The Light” from the animated movie Tangled.

As soon as I found the playlist for Music Of The Movies had leaked out, I remember going to YouTube and finding the very best recording available for each song and listening for how the song might sound with Jackie’s voice. It was a fairly long playlist, and finding and listening to the videos was a long process, but I finally worked my way through to “I See The Light”. I found it charming, possibly even a “sleeper”, a song that would prove to be better than anyone expected. I felt so strongly that I even ventured to tell people that “I See The Light” would end up as one of the top tracks from the CD and DVD. All that was needed? “Insert the tenor of your choice here”.

Finally, the day arrived, and Jackie’s Great Performances special was on the air. Jackie’s presentation of each song was magnificent; from album to album her professionalism and her voice are improving more rapidly than anyone could have imagined they would.

As she sang the first notes of “I See The Light”, I was sure I was right. This would be the sleeper I expected it to be. Jackie, with this season’s ever-richer, more beautiful voice, elevated this song from merely charming and cute to engaging and lovely. Then, as she came to the second half of that song, I remembered about the as-yet-to-be-named tenor. Out of the darkness appeared a young man who turned out to be a classic Disney-sounding tenor. Zachary Levi? No, not anyone we might have expected. Jacob Evancho! When Jacob walked into the spotlight, I was blown over!

I flashed back to Jackie and Jacobs’ first public duet, when they sang “Let It Be” a capella at Fantasy Island Resort. Beautiful, charming, even a daring surprise performance for a first-time outing. I remember thinking, I can’t wait for a few years to pass, when both of their voices will have settled into an even richer harmony, in slightly different ranges.

Jacob started to sing. I was shocked! So much improvement in such a short time! Such great harmony between Jacob and Jackie!

This exciting first major performance by Jacob showed he could hold up his end in a duet with his famous sister. Focusing on Jacob’s part, I thought it was clean and even throughout. Considering the pressure he must have felt, he showed little sign of nerves. (This is all the more remarkable because, as Jackie said in a radio interview the other day, Jacob was terribly nervous before the show.)

On this, his very first recording, Jacob’s voice shows great promise. His voice is stronger than it was, more even than Jackie’s was back when she recorded Prelude to a Dream. Just as Jackie has developed at an astounding pace, so, I predict, will Jacob. What direction his talent will take him depends upon Jacob of course.

Jacob may take a different path than his sister, who favors Classical Crossover. After all, he already has a good pop voice. However, should he want to sing Classical Crossover, he has shown that he has built a good base to develop his voice by singing further down into his throat, as Jackie does. Given time and interest, Jacob should be able to add more resonance to his voice and demonstrate an ever-wider range.

Jackie is on the path to great success. She has steadily climbed higher and higher, rung by rung, to the summit of excellence in Classical Crossover. With his fine voice and confident stage manner, Jacob shows good promise. If he does pursue a career in music, he has what it takes to ascend his ladder to success, whatever genre he might choose.

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4 thoughts on “Jacob, Jackie Evancho’s Big Brother

  1. If the folks at Disney & Pixar are as smart as they’ve been in the past, they’ll find a way to pair Jacob and Jackie Evancho as voices for some animated feature. Give’em a great chance to show their abilities as voice actors, without having to mess with all the make-up.

    About revenues: Maybe the Evancho family could set up a subscription channel online – for a monthly pittance, viewers could listen to podcasts of rehearsals. My mom used to enjoy sitting through symphony rehearsals from the time I was a kid. Said she came to understand and appreciate the music all the more, from hearing the conductor’s instructions (and occasional threats) to the different sections and soloists. >;-)

    Reminds me of some electric speakers – “Squawk Boxes” – on the balcony of the old airport in the city where I grew up. It had a slot for a coin, and lettering that would catch the eye of a 6-year-old kid: “Hear Pilots Talk! Airport Facts! 10 Cents!”

    • Mr. Neel, This situation proves that Jacob has the musical disposition like JEM does; also her instruction to him accounts for quite a lot. I would think that having to do it again – the 1st time was only practice – made his 2nd performance that much better, having worked out a lot of nerves on the 1st take, needing only to take his sister’s inspiration. OHhh! Just think how Jacob’s respect for what his little sis does just grew!

  2. Speaking as one who was there in the Orpheum audience, it must’ve been even harder on Jacob when it was announced that due to a timing problem they would have to perform it all over again from the top!

  3. I agree. From about a year ago or so, I’ve imagined the young ones singing together in harmony. It would be one way to keep the money in the family. A smaller ensemble would be one way to keep costs down. There are a lot of good songs that I would classify as Folk that might fit into the Classical Crossover format. Just a piano or guitar or cello or a couple of violins would complement young Miss Evancho’s voice very well. And instead of having to pay a whole orchestra, that same money could go to Rachel and Zach and young Mr. Jacob Evancho. It would just be a matter of her fan-base deciding ” Okay, I’m going to buy That, too.”. And NOT download, copy, and redistribute it, with NO money finding it’s way back to the Evancho Clan. Too much like The Partridge Family ?? It wouldn’t have to be that way at all.

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