30 November 2009
A.J. Roach, from Brooklyn NY performs his song “The Poet”.
Two Americans made it to the final ten of the competition – AJ Roach, 33, of Brooklyn, New York, and Emily Elbert, 20, of Boston, Massachusetts.
The pair flew over the Scotland for the final and both told how they were honoured to have made the shortlist and to perform at Holyrood.
Full-time musician, who regularly gigs around the world, AJ said: “It was wonderful to have made it to the final and to be invited over to Scotland to play here. You don’t really have anything like this back in the States.
“My song is called The Poet and is about the ups and downs of being a poet, something Burns would have known all about.
“We don’t learn much about Burns back home but I know a bit about him as this is the seventh time I have been to Scotland. Before I came here I had no idea he even wrote ‘Auld Lang Syne’. I doubt many people in America actually do.
“That is is a shame as he is one heck of a writer and his work is as relevant now as ever, if not more so.”
He said he had “loved every minute” of his time with the other finalists, describing the group as “awesome”.
AJ said: “We all have different backgrounds and ideas and have just basically opened our minds and let our writing do the talking. It has been amazing.”
Emily also told how she was “thrilled” to have been selected as a finalist and told how she enjoyed every minute of her first trip to Europe.
She said: “I have never been across the Atlantic and have just been blown away by Edinburgh and by Scotland. It is just beautiful and the people are just wonderful.
“I knew this parliament building was controversial but it has left me speechless. It is just a magical maze of light and wacky architecture. It is just so cool.
“It is such an honour to be here and to be able to play in such a unique venue. It’s like playing a gig at the White House.