Jackie Evancho will sing the National Anthem before Donald Trump‘s inauguration on January 20. The 16-year-old Pittsburgh native is no stranger to events in Washington D.C., having participated in the July 4 special A Capitol Fourth in 2016 and singing at the 2010 National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony. She also sang at the U.S. National Prayer Breakfast in 2012.
Evancho’s parents are Michael and Lisa Evancho. She has three siblings – older sister Juliet, younger sister Rachel and younger brother Zachary. Juliet was born Jacob, and is transgender. Juliet will instead be in Philadelphia for her sex-reassignment surgery, TMZ reported.
Here’s a look at Evancho’s career and what she’s said about performing for Donald Trump.
1. Evancho Says There’s Nothing Political About Her Performance of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’
Since being chosen to perform the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the start of Trump’s inauguration in December 2016, Evancho has been the target of backlash. She’s had to defend her decision to agree to the performance and has insisted that there’s nothing political about this for her.
“[There was] a lot of conversation between my family because there would be a lot of backlash. We knew that,” Evancho told Fox & Friends. “In the end… this is an honor for me to sing for my country, and that’s all it is. There’s no politics involved for me.”
She also said that the extra attention has helped her career and, even if she loses some fans, she’s happy with how it’s gone.
“It has helped… increase in sales and social media, which is great,” she told Fox News. “I’m getting new fans. I may be losing some, but the ones that I’m gaining I’m really happy about it.”
In a Good Morning America interview, Evancho said that her “true fans” have stuck up for her. “All of my true fans have been there for me and supportive and that’s really all I need, so I’m sticking to it,” she said.
Juliet has also defended her sister and wishes that she could be in D.C. to show her support.
“The way I look at it is, Jackie is singing for our country, and it’s an honor for her to be singing in front of so many people,” Juliet told CBS News. “So I feel like that’s really where I look at it. And that’s where I’m going to leave it right now.”
2. Evancho, Who Released an Album Before She Was on ‘America’s Got Talent,’ Has an Estimated Net Worth of $4 Million
She’s only 16 years old, but Evancho is already a millionaire. Celebrity Net Worth estimates that she has an estimated net worth of $4 million.
Unlike other singers who go on America’s Got Talent long before they are discovered, Evancho actually had experience recording before she was 10 years old. When she was only 9, she got the attention of producer David Foster and was picked to participate in the 2009 Hitman Talent Search Contest, reports the Post-Gazette. She even performed during a “David Foster & Friends Concert” in Newark, New Jersey that year.
In 2009, she even recorded an album called Prelude to a Dream. Although it charted after Evancho got on AGT, the independently-released album has been pulled from circulation. Her parents decided that her voice had changed so much since she was on AGT that Prelude should no longer be sold.
Evancho’s first post-AGT release was the EP O Holy Night. Her other albums are Dream With Me (2011), Heavenly Christmas (2011), Songs from the Silver Screen (2012), Awakening (2014) and Someday at Christmas (2016).
3. Evancho Met Donald Trump Back in 2011 When She Performed at Mar-A-Lago
In 2011, Evancho was asked to perform at Mar-A-Lago, Trump’s estate in Palm Beach, Florida. In an interview with The New York Times, Evancho said Trump was “very polite.” She also said it was her own decision to perform at the inauguration.
A 2011 Newsmax article noted that the event with Evancho at Mar-A-Lago also included Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and an introduction from Foster.
Trump claimed that Evancho’s sales jumped after she was picked to sing the National Anthem at his inauguration. Billboard reported that Someday at Christmas did see a sales boost in the wee ending on December 22, as it sold 11,000 copies that week. However, the week after that, it was down to 8,000 copies.
Billboard notes that, while it’s true that sales for the Christmas album went up, that might have been because most Christmas albums see a boost in sales the week before the holiday. Evancho’s performance on the America’s Got Talent holiday special might have also played a role.
4. Jackie Says a Prayer Before Every Performance & Her Family Donated Gifts to Charity
The Evancho family is Catholic, The Daily Mail reported in 2011. So, they had a policy when people would give her gifts, like toys. Instead of keeping them for herself, she would donate them to the public.
“Jackie’s not vain. She downplays what she does because she doesn’t want to stand out – sometimes children can get jealous,” her mother, Lisa, told the Daily Mail.
Evancho also told Fox & Friends that she says a prayer before every performance.
In 2015, she got to perform for Pope Francis when he visited the U.S. She told KDKA before that performance that she knows she was blessed with a great gift. “Since I was very little and people said I could sing [well], I’ve always thought, ‘thank God.’ Always thank God for that,” Evancho told the station.
5. Evancho Is Moving Onto Pop Music With Her Next Album to Change Her Direction
Evancho gained fame singing classical songs and standards, but she’s hoping to branch out into pop music with her next album. In early 2016, she released the single “Apocalypse,” which was an original song by producers Peter Zizzo and Michael Mangini. Although she was planning on releasing it on an album at the end of 2016, she instead released the new Christmas album.
In an April interview with Billboard, Evancho said that she’s “dabbling” in pop music.
“All doors are open right now,” she told Billboard. “We’re just taking what we like and I’m singing what I like. And the best thing about it is, I’m finding different sides of my voice with every new song I sing. Everything sounds different, and it’s really fun to find out new things about myself.”
“Through singing the song, I think Jackie started to learn a little bit more about what she’s capable of as a singer,” Zizzo added in Billboard. “When you get away from some of what she’s used to doing in so much of her material up until now, she started to learn a little bit more about her voice and what’s possible for her as a singer, which was really exciting to see.”
Evancho performed the song on Today and Live! With Kelly and Michael.