Rising sophomore Eva Leach is a musical star, YouTube sensation and savvy student of the industry. “I’ve always been a musical person,” says the Honors College student. “My family encouraged me to sing at an early age.”
That only makes sense coming from such a musically gifted family – her mom sings and plays violin, her dad plays the standup bass and her brother, Nathan, is a talented singer and multi-instrumentalist.
For six years now, she and Nathan have posted videos on YouTube that feature them performing pop- and folk-song covers. One video titled “Hero (Family of the Year) – A cover by Nathan and Eva Leach” starts with Nathan singing and playing guitar. Leach joins him, and the two sing in tight unison. After playing a shaker, Leach suddenly throws it under her leg to Nathan and starts playing a harmonica. It’s a cute showcase of their talents and fun, creative sides.
“The video took two to three hours of takes,” says Eva. “We kept messing up the part where I throw the shaker.”
Little did they know that it would become a viral hit. Posted in 2013, the video slowly built up an audience but – thanks to a few shares by media outlets and celebrities – really took off two years later when Leach was a freshman in high school in Charleston. It now sits at more than 19 million views.
Suddenly they were getting offers to appear on America’s Got Talent, The Voice and The Ellen Show. It wasn’t until this happened that they realized their passion could become a career. They were struck by how many different people liked their music. Her family had a discussion about their newfound popularity, and her dad decided it would be best to hold off on these opportunities. He wanted them to continue their educations and not miss out on college.
“Although I was initially disappointed, I’m glad that we were pushed to go through college because I’m surrounded with a great community of musicians, and I can learn about the managing and business side of music while also continuing to write songs,” says Eva, who is majoring in arts management and learning about how to maneuver through the very complex and sometimes shady music industry. “The arts management program makes me feel confident that Nathan and I will be able to stick up
Nathan, who graduated from the University of South Carolina, is now back in Charleston to continue writing music and playing shows with his sister. “Performing with Eva is a lot of fun because we can feed off each other’s energy on stage,” he says. “It’s rewarding to see how the songs we spend a lot of time practicing evolve once we have the pressure on stage with us as well.”
The siblings enjoy writing songs just as much as performing. They each contribute their own musical talents during the songwriting process, and collaborate on everything from the lyrics to the melody and chords.
“I love that we each have our own styles when we write by ourselves, but when we come together with our ideas, they become that much stronger,” says Eva. “When Nathan comes to me with a song, I can hear exactly what he is trying to say with the piece. He understands my music in the same way; it’s just natural.”
While in Charleston, Eva and Nathan want to expand their duo act, play with more musicians and grow their careers (they’re currently at work on their first album). And, with Eva’s future arts management degree, they will have the perfect business acumen.
Says Eva with a smile: “I can’t believe something that started as a hobby is now a possible career.”
Featured image of Eva Leach by Kip Bulwinkle ’04.