April 5, 2017 / 7:01 PM / 6 months ago

Singer Jackie Evancho hopes Trump changes heart on transgender issue

NEW YORK (Reuters) - After a year that began in controversy as one of the few celebrities to agree to perform at the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, teen singer Jackie Evancho is hoping to switch the focus back to her music.

FILE PHOTO -- Jackie Evancho sings the U.S. National Anthem during inauguration ceremonies swearing in Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States on the West front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

But the classical crossover vocalist is also hoping to use that inaugural performance in January to secure a meeting with Trump over his decision to revoke guidance to U.S. public schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms of their choice.

Evancho, whose sister Juliet is transgender, is still waiting for a response to her February request on Twitter for the meeting.

“If I had the chance to sit down with (Trump), I would want to talk about how it’s more of a civil rights issue and there needs to be some sort of legislation or federal law that ensures the protection and safety of my sister and other transgenders,” Evancho, who turns 17 on Sunday, told Reuters Television.

“It is a super dangerous concept to be in a restroom that you do not identify with and it’s scary and I don’t think anyone should have to deal with that,” she added.

Evancho found fame as a 10-year-old with an adult opera singer’s voice on the television show “America’s Got Talent.”

She was the target of attacks on social media after agreeing to sing the U.S. national anthem at Trump’s inauguration, but said her decision was not guided by politics.

“It was a scary concept at first, but then I realized I‘m not doing this for politics. I‘m doing this for my country and this is a huge honor; this shouldn’t be something I should be scared of. And so I said, ‘OK, we’re going to do this,'” she said.

Now Evancho is aiming to widen her appeal with the album “Two Hearts,” which includes pop songs and some of her own songwriting. Evancho worked on the album for over a year.

“This is something most people don’t do - there’s two genres on one album. Completely different sides of my voice which is kind of the name, two hearts, that’s where it comes from,” she said.

“Two Hearts,” was released on March 31.

Reporting by Reuters Television, editing by G Crosse

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