In an excellent new interview for Reuters News Agency, reporter David Adams elicited no fresh information from Jackie and her mother, with four exceptions: she has returned to public school; though she’s tried several times, she’s been unable to learn to read music; she hopes to go to university and study philosophy; and her next album includes her first original composition (we’ll ignore the claim that she co-authored “Dream with Me” on her first album; all she did was jot down several images the song writers incorporated).
Adams’s perceptions and assumptions are interesting, as are the observations he chose to emphasize. Adams speaks of Jackie’s “meteoric career.” Some doubting Thomases wonder if it’s possible to call Jackie successful at all. After all, except for this Reuters interview and a sadly incompetent review in the New York Times some years ago, she’s been entirely ignored by major American print media and, despite her record-breaking CD sales and her PBS Great Performances specials, by American recording industry journalism.
Adams accepts certain facts that nay-sayers have challenged, that Jackie has no singing coach and that she rehearses only infrequently. We think his description of Jackie’s recent performance at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami is fair and perceptive. He highlights “her stunningly mature vocal power, phrasing and range.”
We sort of like and certainly find telling Lisa Evancho’s statement that Jackie’s heading from “child star to legitimate artist.” What Lisa appears to reflect in that statement is the music industry’s bias. At the beginning of her career the source of Jackie’s success was suspect.
As her mother puts it in this interview, some see her as a “circus freak – the little girl with the grown-up voice.” It’s not until Jackie becomes an adult, say about seventeen or eighteen, that the industry will consider her no longer a novelty act but a “legitimate” professional singer.
We find that curious. Jackie’s voice impresses many people who when they hear her for the first time are unaware she’s a young person. Clearly, she’s made it this far mostly on the quality of her voice and what she can do with music. For many of us, that’s always been her major appeal. Sure we all like a pretty face and were astonished that such a wonderful voice should emerge from a little girl. But to be stuck on those things is to wallow in sentimentality. We’re unsentimental.
For those who admire Jackie for substantial reasons, those who demand Jackie grow up before they accept her legitimacy as a professional singer we think either are slaves to the opinion of others or distrust their own ability to know great singing when they hear it.
It’s a good article. Click here to read it.