FLORENCE -- Evie Clair of Florence knew her latest video would probably get some attention because it’s an audition for America’s Got Talent, which is seen by millions on TV.
“I knew that a lot of people were going to see it. I just didn’t realize this many people were going to see it. So it was a little bit of a surprise.”
The video has 20 million views and climbing on Facebook, and another 3.6 million on Evie’s YouTube channel.
“It’s really remarkable and it’s really amazing to think there’s so many people that actually go on YouTube in the world,” said the eighth grader at Magma K-8 School – where she’s known as Evie Abplanalp.
Until now, her most popular video was of her rendition of “Mary Did You Know?” for a Christmas initiative for Mormon.org. That video has been seen 273,000 times.
“ … I feel like I had a good small fan base before the show,” Evie said Monday in a phone interview. “Then like an hour later I’m top 8 in the trending section of YouTube. It was really crazy just to have this awesome experience.”
In the video, Evie smiles as she introduces herself to the judges for the first time and jokes about life in a small prison town. But the lighthearted mood suddenly shifts as Evie, fighting back tears, reveals her father’s cancer diagnosis. She says when he’s having bad days, this is the song she sings to him. She then sings Christina Perri’s “Arms.”
A singer, piano player and songwriter, Evie, 13, has been making music, collaborating with other musicians and recording videos for four years already. Her cover of the 1980s hit “Eye of the Tiger” was also dedicated to her father, who used to play the song to help him warm up for his high school wrestling matches.
Today, Amos Abplanalp is battling colon cancer while holding down his job as a prison counselor. He also continues to serve the Mormon church as a bishop.
“He’s doing all right,” Evie said Monday. “He is in a lot of pain and really tired a lot, but we know he’s going to be all right.”
Evie is the second of five children of Amos and Hillary Abplanalp. She started Magma Ranch school in the sixth grade after her family moved to Florence from Mesa, where she lived most of her life. She was born in Scottsdale and the family has also lived in Queen Creek and Gilbert.
Evie said she wants to keep performing for as long as she can. But she has also been inspired by recent experiences of giving voice lessons to an autistic boy, and teaching voice and piano to a female friend with Down syndrome, and her goal is to someday be a musical therapist.
But for now, there’s America’s Got Talent. She couldn’t say much about what fans will see next, per strict orders from the show’s producers. But the world might hear some of Evie’s original music.
“Maybe. We’re not exactly sure yet, but hopefully.”
Evie’s website is found at http://www.evieclair.com/ .