Get to know young Jackie Evancho

The singing sensation reveals what's on her iPod, how she avoids brattiness and why she likes snakes.

Plenty of child stars, not to mention desperate housewives, could learn a thing or two about not behaving badly from 12-year-old Jackie Evancho.

This top-of-the-charts crossover classical singer, who performs at the State Theatre on Tuesday, was also named one of the "Ten Best-Mannered People of 2011" by the National League of Junior Cotillions, and during a recent telephone interview, it showed.

After shooting to fame two years ago while competing on "America's Got Talent," astonishing the judges with her mature soprano and looking like a pint-sized Taylor Swift, she could be excused for acting like a bit of a diva. But the sweet, shy voice on the other end of the line sounds, at the moment, like that of any all-American tween.

"I always promised myself I would never become a brat," said Evancho, speaking from the suburban Pittsburgh home she shares with her parents and three siblings -- and three dogs, two cats, two frogs, a guinea pig and four snakes. "I'm not really a fan of people who think they're better than others. There's no reason to act that way. I couldn't even stand to yell at someone if they bumped right into me."

Evancho (pronounced ee-vang-koh) was Billboard's top classical-albums artist in 2011, with three of the top four albums on the year-end chart, and she was ranked No. 2 in 2012. Her latest collection, "Songs From the Silver Screen," is currently No. 2 on Billboard's classical chart.

Q How do you keep your voice in shape? Do you have a vocal coach?

A No. I don't practice very often but would like to start doing it more. It helps to have a humidifier around.

Q How much influence do you have over choosing the songs you record?

A My mom, dad and manager have to agree on all of the songs, but I did bring up "The Music of the Night" from "The Phantom of the Opera" as my favorite of all. I just had to have it on the CD.

Q You sing a lot of popular classical opera, like "O Mio Babbino Caro" in Italian. Do you know what all the foreign words mean?

A I learn how to say them first, then what they mean.

Q Do you still have to do chores at home or do you get a pass because of your busy schedule?

A I have to clean my room and unload the dishwasher, wash the pans and feed the dogs.

Q You have so many pets, including snakes. You aren't scared of snakes?

A No, people think they're icky because they hear stories, but I think they're so cute. They're corn snakes so they don't bite, and I love the details in their pretty patterns.

Q Who are your professional idols?

A Sarah Brightman and Emmy Rossum, because they were both in "The Phantom of the Opera."

Q What's on your iPod?

A I haven't added many songs lately but I listen to what a lot of the girls do, Maroon 5, and I like the electronic noise, that sound. Me and my dad love [British dance band] Nero, because of the bass.

Q Last good movie you saw?

A "Pitch Perfect." Rebel Wilson is so good in that.

Q Favorite TV shows?

A I like "Sponge Bob" and "The Last Airbender." I like shows where people get creative to do the impossible.

Q Favorite home-cooked meal?

A We have fondue nights with shrimp, chicken and broccoli, and I like the steak my parents make.

Q Do you ever have time to kick back with your friends anymore?

A Yes, my parents are strict about me having a childhood. I go ice skating and sledding, and swimming in the summer.

Q Do you get to pick your stage dresses, or give a thumbs down on ones you don't like?

A It's me, my mom and my stylist deciding, and we can usually agree on a happy medium.

Q If you choose not to continue singing when you grow up, what would you do?

A I can't imagine myself not singing, but I'd love to be an actress.

Kristin Tillotson • 612-673-7046

  • JACKIE EVANCHO

    When: 7:30 p.m. Tue.

    Where: State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.

    Tickets: $40-$115. www.ticketmaster.com

    SEE EVANCHO PERFORM "THE MUSIC OF THE NIGHT" AT WWW.STARTRIBUNE.COM/A2002.

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