Evie Clair moved hearts around the world when she tearfully opened up about her dad’s battle with Stage 4 colon cancer before delivering her amazing season 12 “America’s Got Talent” audition last week. Simon Cowell listened intently before calling her “unbelievably brave” for sharing her story. He gave her a moment to “settle” herself before telling her “Now is the time I want to hear the best vocal you have ever, ever done.”
No pressure, right?
Apparently not for the 13-year-old Florence, Arizona native who had passed various phases of AGT auditions on two prior seasons, but never made it to the show. Until now. This time, the stakes were higher than they’ve ever been and Evie definitely rose to the challenge.
The soft-spoken teen dedicated a moving rendition of Christina Perri’s “Arms” to her dad, Amos, who watched at the side of the stage with her mom, Hillary. The song holds special meaning for all of them. Evie sings it to her dad on rough days to comfort him and give him strength to keep fighting.
Those of us who were touched by her story (and many of us who cried along with her), silently pulled for this courageous young girl to smash it. Then the words tumbled out of her heart with vulnerable sincerity. Her sweet spirit shined in that triumphant moment and the audience and judges jumped to their feet, offering up a mix of cheers, tears, and extended applause.
Howie Mandel spoke for the masses when he said, “I felt like America and everybody here at AGT wants to take our arms and wrap them around you and tell you, ‘You are home.'”
Evie’s home, as she knows it, has always centered around music. She’s played music with her older brother and three younger sisters for as long as she can remember. Her grandma was a musician and her great-grandma was on the radio in the ‘20s. Her mom studied music in college, became a high school music teacher and taught Evie to play piano, guitar, and ukulele at a very young age.
“My mom is definitely a big influence in my musical career,” Evie told AXS in a recent phone interview. “She’s taught me pretty much everything I know.”
Like many young aspiring artists in today’s social media age, Evie has her own YouTube channel filled with impressive covers including Sia’s “Cheap Thrills” and a magnificent rendition of Regina Spektor’s “Two Birds.” She counts the latter Grammy-nominated artist as one of her favorites and learned to “flip” her voice by mirroring Spektor’s technique.
“People think my voice cracks when I hit the high notes but I do that on purpose,” Evie explained. “I flip from my chest voice to my head voice really fast and she does that. I heard her do it, then picked it up. My mom thinks it’s crazy to do that. She’s like, ‘People train to not do that, but you do that and it’s great.’”
Evie’s quirky, unique tone has attracted attention for several years. In 2015, the multi-talented teen won a contest to sing the theme song for an uplifting indie movie called “Once I Was a Beehive.” She also contributed the first song she ever wrote to the soundtrack called “For You.”
Evie penned the song for her cousin who was being judged for making some bad choices. She wanted him to know she loved him no matter what. This was a huge accomplishment for the young singer-songwriter, who was notably only 11 back then.
Last year, she released a pop ballad called “Love You One More Time” which is available on all digital music platforms. These experiences culminated in a dream-come-true moment when she finally found herself on the AGT stage performing in front of Simon Cowell and the rest of the judges. She feels strongly everything happened exactly when it was supposed to.
“I guess the Lord just timed it right and He wanted me to be where I am today,” Evie said. “I look back and I think, if I was on the show two or three years ago, I wouldn’t have made it this far. I wasn’t as good as I am now and it wouldn’t have been as much help as it was now.”
The “help” Evie refers to is an active GoFundMe campaign which was launched to help cover her dad’s mounting medical expenses. Donations have streamed in since her audition last week and Evie is humbled and grateful for all the messages and support.
Evie’s shared family faith has comforted them throughout her life and more recently, during her dad’s physical struggles. His love of a traditional Christian hymn “Be Still My Soul” has inspired her on many levels.
“When things are so hectic and crazy, that song is a reminder that we’re all going to be fine and all this craziness is gonna be okay one day,” the charismatic teen said. “We can feel peace and be still and just take a minute to calm down and realize that everything is gonna be great one day.”
Evie was touched after her AGT audition when Simon called her “brave” and feels blessed to have her dream to sing in front of him come true. Like many of this season’s AGT contenders, she places great weight on the renowned producer’s opinion.
“It’s always been my dream to sing for him. Ever since I was a little girl, it was engraved in my mind. He’s the person you want to sing for, that’s the goal,” she explained. “If he says you’re good then you’re good. If your mom says you’re good, then okay, what does that actually mean? That was just a really amazing moment to be out there and for him to be so kind to me and for him to give me those nice comments.”
Evie also got a shout out from Christina Perri, which she discovered during her AGT viewing party, right before her audition was due to air. The “Jar of Hearts” singer caught it in an earlier time zone and immediately took to Twitter to praise her. Evie was ecstatic.
“That was so crazy. We invited friends over to watch my episode and it aired earlier for her. So, she had already seen it and I hadn’t seen the episode yet. So, when she tweeted that out, it was right before I was gonna be on. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, you guys, Christina Perri just tweeted me!’ And they were like ‘Wow, that’s crazy!’”
Evie’s audition story is one of several inspirational stories which have surfaced from AGT contenders this season. Even though she cried while sharing it, she was incredibly poised for such a young age. She received a well-deserved standing ovation following her performance. The moment felt so “surreal” and she was thrilled to achieve a big goal.
“It was just so amazing that I was able to go out there and sing for my dad,” she said. “I knew right when that happened I was going to be able to be an inspiration to a lot of people and that’s really my biggest goal. Just to be able to inspire people, through my story and through my music and I really felt like I was able to do that.”
Evie and her family have also been bowled over by the public response to her audition and Evie wanted to send a special message to her supporters. “I just want to say thank you all so much because we have been getting so much love from everyone and it’s so amazing to see how many people in this world care,” she brightly offered. “Our family has truly been blessed by this amazing opportunity and this amazing experience, so thank you.”
Follow @evieclair on Twitter.
“America’s Got Talent” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on NBC. Stay tuned to AXS for updates.
THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL 😭🙏🏼❤️ https://t.co/OgXi36iOJ0— christina perri (@christinaperri) June 21, 2017