Evie Clair, the 13-year-old Latter-day Saint youth who is a contestant on this season’s America’s Got Talent program, caused quite the social media storm (in a positive way), after her outstanding performance of Arms by Christina Perri. The song was dedicated to her father, Amos Abplanalp, who has been diagnosed with stage four colon cancer and a five percent chance of surviving. Since the performance, Evie has been inundated with positive responses and well-wishes and managing her social media accounts have now become all part of a day’s work for her. However, she has made the decision that she would not work on Sundays and takes a break from her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feed for that day.
For Evie, not working on Sundays means more than stepping away from social media, it also includes not performing. Recently she received an invitation from the Arizona Diamondbacks to sing the National Anthem before a baseball game being held on a Sunday, and she requested to reschedule for a different day.
Evie attributes her standards, morals, and beliefs to her parents, Hillary and Amos Abplanalp, who have raised her and her four siblings – one brother and three sisters – in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her father is the bishop of a local LDS congregation and continues to serve faithfully despite his illness. It is his tenacity that has helped Evie to remain optimistic in the face of her family’s current challenges. She does whatever she can to help relieve some of the strain her father’s cancer has caused the family, but she admits that it is hard to not have negative thoughts at times. She told Deseret News that the common refrains are, “I’m too tired to do this today. I don’t want to do this. This is too hard.” But then she reminds herself that her dad is a bishop and continues to serve his congregation, and he still goes to work as a psychological professional counselor in Arizona to provide for his family. He does all that despite his illness. Realizing the sacrifices that her dad makes, helps her to see that the daily tasks are not as daunting as they might appear to be.
With her father’s busy schedule, as well as her own busy schedule working with music representatives and producers, Evie gets to spend very little time with her dad, but the time that she does get to spend with him, she cherishes. When she is away, she stays close to her father by having family prayer and scripture study with him over the phone. She told Deseret News, “Before I did the show, we talked about it, and he really encouraged me to pursue my dreams and do what I wanted to do.”
Despite the fame and recognition that Evie has garnered, she manages to remain focused. She also told Deseret News, “My goal has always been to sing for as many people as I can and help them feel the spirit. Ever since I was really little I always had that goal to inspire people and help them feel the message of the song.” She has performed at several baptisms and firesides.
In addition to her singing, Evie plays the piano, guitar, and ukulele. Her experience teaching the piano to a friend with Down syndrome has also helped shape her future career. “Later down the road, I want to be a musical therapist,” she said. When she’s not singing pop, she often turns to the LDS hymns if she’s in need of comfort. She further commented, “Every time before I perform, I say a little prayer to myself that I’ll be able to just do my best, and I’ll be able to sing and be able to touch the hearts of the people that I’m singing to. I felt like I was really able to do that when I was on ‘America’s Got Talent.’”