THE apple has fallen far from the tree when it comes to Edinburgh Has Talent winner Saskia Eng.
Just ask her father Tony – a self-employed construction worker from Murrayfield who still cannot believe his 12-year-old daughter can belt out tunes like one of the world’s greatest soul divas.
Saskia won Friday night’s final at the Festival Theatre with a powerhouse performance of Tina Turner’s classic River Deep, Mountain High – and Tony was the first to admit her musical ability did not run in the family.
The 48-year-old said: “I’ve not got a clue where her voice comes from. She surprises everybody.
“She’s been busking a lot during the summer at the Fringe. She just stops and starts singing. You can see people’s jaws drop because it’s not what you expect out of a wee girl.
“If you shut your eyes, you wouldn’t expect that voice to be coming out of a 12-year-old girl.
“She just gets up and does what she does. She’ll sing in a bus and get applauded off the bus. She just doesn’t care. I don’t know where it comes from – honestly.”
The young singer, nicknamed “Hurricane Saskia” by her parents, is far from shy in agreeing with her dad.
“None of them are really interested in music,” she said. “Nobody can sing. My brother thinks he can sing, but he can’t.”
Saskia is receiving music training at the City of Edinburgh Music School based at Broughton High.
There were no signs of nerves or girlish excitement when her name was read out on stage to rapturous applause at the EHT final, with two proud sets of grandparents, her parents and two brothers watching on.
The curly-haired talent, who only started singing in public three years ago, simply said “no” when asked whether she experienced any nerves performing to more than a thousand people.
The young star also cites American blues and soul singer Janis Joplin, who died of a drug overdose more than three decades before Saskia was born, as one of her musical idols. “I saw her when I was looking for songs on YouTube,” Saskia said. “I liked listening to her.”
Saskia’s achievements before her EHT triumph were already considerable.
She made the final 200 of Britain’s Got Talent just six months into her young singing career and has had a recording, You’re Not Really Gone, included on an album dedicated to the victims of the Sandy Hook school massacre.
Now she intends to use the £1000 prize for winning the Edinburgh competition to hit the recording studio.
Just like a savvy music veteran, Saskia also intends to pick up tips from any industry heavyweights at Thursday’s Forth One Awards at the Usher Hall.
Superstardom could now await EHT’s youngest-ever winner.
Judge and Evening News promotions manager Deborah Welsh said: “I’ve waited for a long time to hear you sing live and for the last two weeks I’ve been bombarded on Facebook, Twitter, you name it, by all your fans telling me how good you were going to be, but you’ve got one of the most exciting, spectacular voices I’ve ever heard in the five years of doing this competition.”