EDINBURGH’S Got Talent finalist Leona Rae is hoping the judges will take a chance on her.
Leona, who once performed in an Abba tribute band, said she was “over the moon” to be one of the ten acts who will battle it out at the Festival Theatre on October 26.
As the oldest out of the contestants, Leona, 31, is no stranger to performing. The singer, from Wester Hailes, said: “I have taken part in other competitions, in social clubs and things like that, but nothing like this.
“My friends were the ones who really encouraged me to start singing. I always knew I could sing a bit, but I just didn’t have the confidence.
“I didn’t start singing until I was about 20 or 21.”
Aged 23, Leona accepted an invitation to entertain audiences in Majorca and Menorca.
She said: “I performed in hotels and bars – I was even in an Abba tribute band for my sins.
“Being part of the Abba Experience was brilliant. I was Frida. It was great getting to dress up every night and be a different person.”
On returning to Edinburgh, Leona worked in all kinds of jobs – offices, shops and even a stint as a bouncer – before she signed up to study music at Jewel and Esk College, now part of the Edinburgh College.
The proud owner of two tarantulas and a snake, Leona said: “I would love to be a successful singer. My brother, David, who’s 21, is autistic and I just want to be able to make sure he doesn’t have any worries, with the government taking away DLA.”
Speaking of her musical influences, Leona, who sang the Etta James song I’d Rather Go Blind in her audition, said: “I love singing that song, it’s such a great blues track.
“I like to sing so that people can really feel what I’m singing about, the emotion behind it.”
Supporting Leona on the night will be family and friends, including mum Maria and boyfriend Daniel.
“Just now, I’m just wondering what song I’m going to sing, what I’m going to wear.
“When it comes round to the day, I think I will be feeling sick.
“This type of competition is great for people who are trying to make something of themselves. I am very nervous, but at the same time I can’t wait.”