Jackie Evancho Awakening on Limited Edition LP
Awakening is the third studio album from platinum-selling, 14-year-old vocal sensation Jackie Evancho. Produced by Nick Patrick, Awakening signals some new directions for Evancho. Without foregoing the beautiful and lush classical-crossover compositions for which Evancho has become famous, she also extends her stylistic reach with contemporary material on songs such as the haunting folk song "The Rains of Castamere" from HBO's hit series Game of Thrones. She also takes a bigger step forward on her version of U2's "With or Without You." Moreover, Evancho sings several original songs including the anthem "Take Me There" and "Open Fields of Grace."
"Some of these songs are more on the pop side, and have a little faster beat than the songs I usually sing - but it was really fun." She also tackles the ethereal ballad "Memories" by the Dutch band, Within Temptation, in addition to the popular classic "Think of Me" from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. "That's how it started for me," says Evancho. "When I first saw the Phantom movie I was inspired by the way the actors sang and really wanted to try to sing like that too. Their passion must have got to me!"
Awakening's classical standards include Caccini/Vavilov's "Ave Maria" and Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise." "I'd never sung Rachmaninoff's 'Vocalise' before," says Evancho. "It was fun for me because there aren't any words to learn, so I could focus on the beauty of the music." Distinguishing Awakening from her previous albums, Evancho relays that there were "no limits" thematically or otherwise on the songs that she placed on repertoire. "Of course there are always going to be some classical pieces, but I wanted to reinvent the pop songs and make them my own. The only thing that mattered was that the song spoke to me."
She credits producer Patrick for his understanding of her goals on Awakening. "We all wanted to find a balance that would present Jackie in all that she is as an artist," says Patrick. "'Vocalise' is very challenging and 'Ave Maria' requires the singer to really take control for it to sound beautiful. She is able to do that, but also make the big transition from the classical songs to more contemporary songs like 'With or Without You' or 'Memories.' On this album, Jackie carries the listener with her quite seamlessly, naturally, convincingly, and believably. She's a remarkable singer for someone so young, but she'd be no more remarkable if she were 30."
As for the production of Awakening, Patrick strived to capture Evancho's "emotional intensity and technique." "It was great to shape everything around that voice, lighting it up atmospherically without stepping on it arrangement-wise," he says. "She has such an otherworldly quality of mystery, beauty, fantasy and wonderment, and we wanted everything to complement, not overpower, her voice."