Jackie Evancho has been very public about her battle with anorexia and her subsequent recovery.
The 22-year-old artist, who first gained attention at age 10 when she competed on season 5 of “America’s Got Talent,” recently spoke with Yahoo, explaining how the creation of her new cover album, Carousel of Time, has helped her immensely in her recovery.
For her upcoming album, due out on September 9, she covers songs by one of her early inspirations, Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, such as “Both Sides Now.” Evancho, however, emphasized that the “story-songs” by Mitchell that she preferred when curating the album were not influenced by her own struggles.
“Honestly, at the time that I had decided to do the album and pick the songs… the trauma stuff, I repress that a lot, and it wasn’t even at the front of my head,”
Evancho was able to find her voice and begin her healing process during the two years it took to record the album.
“I think the thing that really broke it for me was in 2020,” “I kind of had a break — like a snap, in a way. And I was a nervous wreck. I was shaking all the time. I couldn’t keep anything in my stomach, just from sheer nausea and panic. And that started a whole journey of going to outpatient or inpatient and being treated for all these things that were building up that I was ignoring. And after I got out, I was like, ‘Look, I can’t keep living like this. I’m not the same person I was when I was 10.’”
Evancho realized at that point that she “can’t keep pretending because it’s making me sick.”
“I kind of said, for lack of better wording, ‘Screw it. I’m going to be myself. I’m going to go out there. And if people don’t like me, they don’t like me,” she recalled thinking at the time. “‘I can’t please everybody, but I can be myself because there’s no way I can feel ashamed at the end of the day.’”
“A lot of my eating problems come from pressure I put on myself,” Evancho explained.
“I’m a perfectionist and I hold myself to an impossible standard,” ‘That’s not what I want to look like.’ And I started off by eating healthier and working out in a healthy way, but then I wasn’t seeing any results.
“And then it took that ‘snap’ for people to truly see just how severe it really was,” Evancho continued. “There are all sorts of things that you can do to trick people into thinking you’re OK if you don’t want them to know you’re hurting. And I was always doing that because…I’m a people-pleaser.”
In 2020, she reached a breaking point.
“I was like, ‘I literally cannot function. I’m dizzy when I stand for no reason. And I feel sick. I have to put myself first now,’” the platinum-selling musician revealed, adding that she must learn “how to access what I’ve repressed” and “process that in a healthy way.”
“I’m still fighting and I’m stuck in a spot where the real change has to happen… but little by little, each therapy session and talk-through, I’m waking up a bit more.”