Edinburgh’s Got Talent finalist Ciara Harvie is wowing huge crowds as she performs in front of thousands of festival-goers at the Fringe.
The 15-year-old soprano’s voice is so mesmerising, she has stopped shoppers in their tracks during her regular slots on George Street and St Andrew Square.
Her powerful renditions of opera classics including O Mio Babbino Caro and Nessun Dorma have led to the once-shy teenager taking bookings to perform at functions in front of 1400 people.
“The response I have had so far has been really good. I am enjoying performing a lot,” she said. “Not long ago, people used to have to turn their backs to me before I would sing, but now I’m performing at the Fringe.
“It’s great to hear the comments and feedback from members of the public. There have been a lot of people saying they enjoy my singing, which is really nice to hear. I thought it would be a good opportunity and a great experience and it has lived up to expectations so far.”
The teenager from Longniddry would teach herself to sing by downloading classics from the internet. She would then film herself using her dad’s mobile phone and eventually plucked up the courage to show family.
Ciara had never sung openly, let alone in front of expectant crowds, until she took to the stage for last year’s Evening News talent contest.
Confronting her nerves, her efforts left judges spellbound and Ciara hasn’t looked back.
She said: “I do think performing at Edinburgh’s Got Talent gave me a good start to perform and helped build my confidence. Everything has just moved on from there. I’ve performed in front of 200 people at Signet Library for my dad’s work which I really enjoyed.
“Then I was contacted on Facebook and was asked me to sing at the festival. I’m really enjoying it.”
Her hour-long sets have drawn attention from admirers and led to a booking by Edinburgh charity Spifox at the EICC in December. Bosses heard her outdoor set and immediately asked her to do a ten-minute slot in front of what will be her single biggest audience to date.
Ciara, who starts fifth year next week, eventually hopes to make a career out of her talent.
She is already undertaking vocal coaching in a bid to emulate her heroine Katherine Jenkins and would like to attend a performing arts college when she finishes school.
Parents Val and Mark, who remember her painfully shy performances at family get-togethers, said they were amazed at how she has progressed over the last year.
Mark, 52, a company director, said: “We might be biased as we’re her parents but we think she’s an incredible talent.
“She puts so much effort into it, she doesn’t just turn up and sing, she does all the preparation needed first.
“It’s hard to think that she would not let us watch her when she first started singing as she’s so full of confidence now. We’re all very proud of her and are waiting to see where her talent will take her.”
George Street transformed for August
IT is one of the Capital’s swankiest streets, fine jewellers and designer clothes shops at every turn.
But the Fringe has transformed the city’s most prestigious shopping district, George Street, into a bustling array of cafes, bars and entertainment.
Thousands of visitors from across the globe have been flocking to the thoroughfare to enjoy its al fresco ambience.
Organisers say Ciara’s performances have added to the European feel of the boulevard, which has seen the road halved and pedestrianised space doubled. Catch her at St Andrew Gardens today at 4pm and tomorrow at 3.30pm or midday at Aperol Spritz Garden on Saturday and Sunday.