INTERVIEW WITH JEANA LESLIE & SIOBHAN MILLER

Jeana Leslie and Siobhan Miller with their Young Folk Award trophy

After the show, BBC Folk & Acoustic grabbed Jeana and Siobhan for a quick chat before their feet touched the ground.

    BBC Folk & Acoustic: Congratulations! How did you feel when Seth announced the winner?

    Siobhan:
    Total shock - complete and utter shock. We just looked at each other.  I was just, like, "No way!" She had to pull me on! We just couldn't believe it.

    Jeana: We were shaking, we were actually shaking, weren’t we?

    How did you find the semi-final weekend?

    Jeanna:
    Oh, amazing...

    Siobhan: We had an absolute ball. None of us felt it was a competition because everybody got on from the word go. Everybody just gelled and it was nice in the semis because we could just all go out and watch everybody else and you could just feel that support from everybody.

    Jeanna: The people that made the noise in the audience – that was all the semi-finalists going, "Come on!", and all this clapping and cheering...

    Siobhan: And we had sessions, it was a great weekend.

    Jeanna: Highlight was the chips though, that we got from the chippie on the way home!

    Everyone always seems to have a good time and make lots of friends...

    Jeanna:
    Friends – you said it there, friends. The amount of friends you make and contacts you come away with...

    Siobhan:
    We'll definitely keep in contact...

    Jeanna: Oh, for sure.

    Siobhan: Some of them I said, "Come down and stay for Celtic Connections."

    Jeanna: Me and Siobhan both have big flats, we're just gonna shove them all in!

    You're in third year at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama – so what's next?

    Siobhan:
    We pretty much have another year to do, an honours year - you don’t have to but I think we both probably will - and just perform as much as we can. Jeana’s doing the teaching elective and I'm quite interested in music therapy.  I'm not sure, I want to work with people but I don't necessarily want to go into teaching.

    Jeanna: I think that's the thing, it's getting experience from all different fields. The Academy has opened up so much for us like touring, teaching, workshops, playing with other musicians, festivals, business studies – you get such a scope, it opens up things you hadn't even considered – so it's just take it as it comes and then decide what really suits you best …

    Siobhan: Performing as much as we can because that’s what we love to do. Like doing this together is just so much fun because for a long time I just sang on my own …

    Jeanna: And I just played on my own.

    Siobhan: Was it last year we got together? I went away and studied in Ireland for four months of last term and when I came back I said ‘Let’s do something, I don’t want to be on my own any more!”

    Jeanna: It was about May, June that we decided we’d just send the demo in for fun, and then we heard back and it’s just evolved!

    Tell us a bit about how you work together.

    Jeanna:
    Well, let me tell you this ..!

    Siobhan: There's quite a lot of domestics! It’s quite intense …

    Jeanna: ‘Cause when we get into it …

    Siobhan: We know how we want it to sound …

    Jeanna: And if we don't hear it, one of us is at the other going "You’re not doing it right, you’re not doing it right!"

    Siobhan: And we are like that quite a lot of the time but at the same time we both kind of trust each other …

    Jeanna: To really support each other …

    Siobhan: Even when we make mistakes, like tonight! We just have to keep going and that’s kind of how it goes. And when we’ve got a song [like] that song we sang tonight, Mad Tom of Bedlam, that’s the first song we did together and I took it …

    Jeanna: It was actually for a class, wasn’t it?

    Siobhan: Yes, a class – and then we just enjoyed doing it so much we’ve kept on …

    Jeanna: We’ve evolved it.

    Siobhan: Other songs we find we just bring to each other and say "Let’s do this and I’d like it to have piano or fiddle..."

    Jeanna: We’ve changed quite a lot of them. Like the one we did tonight, Auchindoon – or Willie Macintosh – it's a really old ballad...

    Siobhan: To sing it unaccompanied, you wouldn’t really sing it like that.

    Jeanna: And it’s really hard to sing it as a duo …

    Siobhan: That’s why we did it like we did.

    Jeanna: Our singing teacher hated it – so if she’s listening ..!

    Siobhan: No, she didn’t hate it – I think, for somebody so traditional, when they’ve got these songs that are so dear to them and people change them - and it’s gonna happen, that’s the whole process – but when they hear it happening, sometimes they go, "You’re not singing the tune right" or "You’re coming off the beat" or whatever, but she didn’t hate it …

    Jeanna: No, she was just like, "Girls!"

    Siobhan: We play around a lot with the stuff. We don’t necessarily have one way and that’s it fixed. The way we started that song, it changed totally by the time we got it here tonight.

    At which point we let the excited pair off the hook and they head off to meet up with their families and friends for some well-earned relaxation.

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