Jackie Evancho is opening up about her anorexia recovery.
The 22-year-old singer, who found fame at age 10 while competing on season 5 of “America’s Got Talent”, told Yahoo how the making of her new cover album, Carousel of Time, has greatly contributed to her healing process.
Part of her recovery has involved interpreting songs like “Both Sides Now” from one of her biggest childhood influences, Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, for the upcoming album, out Sept. 9. However, Evancho clarified that her personal struggles didn’t influence Mitchell’s “story-songs” that she leaned towards when putting together the tracklist.
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“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,” she told Yahoo.
Making the album over the past two years helped Evancho find her voice and begin her healing journey.
“I think the thing that really broke it for me was in 2020,” the opera/pop singer reflected on her anorexia, which she’s been battling since age 15. “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.’”
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From that point on, Evancho realized 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.’”
Evancho explained that “a lot of my eating problems come from pressure I put on myself.”
“I’m a perfectionist and I hold myself to an impossible standard,” she revealed. However, one day, she looked in the mirror and said, “‘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.
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“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.”
That’s when she hit her breaking point in 2020.
“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 artist shared, adding that she needs to 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.”