College of Charleston freshman Eva Leach was just 13 years old in 2013 when she and her brother Nathan sat down at their kitchen table to record a video of themselves singing the song “Hero” by Family of the Year.
The video slowly racked up views on YouTube over the next couple of years, but then in 2015, thanks to some shares by a few celebrities and media outlets, the video suddenly went viral. Jimmy Kimmel, America’s Got Talent and The Voice started calling. Six years later, the heart-warming video has been viewed more than 19 million times.
“The take that actually went viral was like our thirty-fifth take,” says Leach. “It was really strange because when it first went viral – or started to go viral – I was a freshman in high school, which was two years after we had recorded it. And I got this phone call from my brother on the bus home and he said, ‘Eva, Hero is hitting like a million views.’ So, it was just out of the blue.”
Following the video’s success, strangers began recognizing Eva and Nathan on the street, but that was when they still looked about the same as they did in the video (watch below).
“Doesn’t happen anymore, though,” says Leach. “But it was just weird.”
Initially, music was just a hobby for Leach, whose family moved around a lot when she was younger before settling in Charleston.
Her parents both have musical backgrounds. Her mom sings and plays violin, and her grandmother is a singer.
“Music is kind of ingrained in us,” she says.
Nathan Leach started making YouTube videos of himself playing guitar while he was in college at the University of South Carolina, and Eva would perform with him in the videos when he came home on visits.
She never considered music as a career until the video went viral. Today, Leach and her brother perform as the folk music band Nathan and Eva. They recently performed at the College’s School of the Arts as part of “In the Mix: Live!” – an annual live show featuring musical performances by CofC students.
Leach, who is a student in the Honors College, is interested not only in the performance side of music, but also in the business side. She plans to use her CofC degree to help her navigate the music business and to deal with record companies and contracts.
“I really just want to share my music with people because I think we have such a knack for writing original songs,” she says. “I would love to be able to have the production quality that I think we need and just share our music with people because I like making people happy. And for people to like and connect to our songs is really cool.”
Nathan and Eva are currently working on their first extended play record so that they can eventually make a full album, which will be titled “Imperfect Parallels.” They also plan to expand their band.
“We’re trying to make a bigger sound for ourselves,” she says.
And for a musical duo with 19 million YouTube views, there’s no telling what “bigger” could lead to.
Featured image: Eva and Nathan perform at the School of the Arts’ “In the Mix: Live!” event on April 1, 2019.
Elizabeth M. Quarles is a sophomore from Atlanta, Georgia, studying creative writing and studio art at the College of Charleston.