Susan Boyle

  • Scottish singer born in 1961 from Blackburn, Scotland, UK.
  • Boyle had a modest upbringing, but was blessed with a talent for operatic vocals. She took vocal lessons and sang a church events, and she participated in Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival. In her mid-30s, she took her life savings and recorded a 3-song demo – Cry Me A River, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina and Killing Me Softly – which she sent to record companies, talent competitions and local media. She decided to hold off on her ambition to pursue a career in music, and instead stayed home to care for her ailing mother.
  • She won several local talent competitions, and her mother urged her to audition for Britain’s Got Talent. After her mother died, her vocal coach persuaded her to audition in 2009, even though Boyle felt that she was too old, believing that talent shows selected contestants based on how they looked – after all, she was an unemployed church worker without any glamour. Eventually, she agreed to audition as a tribute to her mother, and her audition was the first time she performed in public after her mother’s death.
  • Her audition on BGT in April 2009 was a rendition of I Dreamed a Dream from the musical Les Misérables. Instantly, she became an internet sensation – the audience’s initial cynical reaction as they judged her by her appearance when she took the stage turned to adoration when they heard her sing. She advanced to the semi-finals, and in May 2009 she performed Memory from Cats, earning the highest number of votes from the public, but ultimately she came in second and did not advance to the finals.
  • She quickly was given a recording deal, and her debut album, I Dreamed a Dream, was released in late 2009. The album was certified 4x platinum in the U.S. and topped the album charts in the U.S. and 9 other countries, ultimately selling over 10 million copies. The album contained 11 cover songs, plus an original composition, Who I Was Born to Be, that became an anthem of her life story. It became the fastest selling debut album ever in the UK, selling over 400,000 copies in its first week of release. In the U.S., it set a record for first week of sales by a debut female solo artist, selling over 700,000 copies.
  • Her follow-up album was a Christmas album released in 2010 titled The Gift. It debuted at #1 in the U.S. and UK, and ultimately was certified 3x platinum. Her cover of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day was released as a single in the UK, and Reed himself produced the music video of the song.
  • Boyle continued to record and release albums each year from 2011 to 2014, consistently charting in the top 20 of the U.S. and UK album charts. She also began an acting career, performing in the Christmas drama film The Christmas Candle. After a one-year break, she released A Wonderful World in 2016, and in 2019 she released a greatest hits album that included 4 newly recorded tracks.
  • In 2019, Boyle performed on America’s Got Talent: The Champions. She performed a cover of the Rolling Stones’ Wild Horses and she was immediately put into the finals, where she finished outside of the top 5. Wild Horses originally was part of her debut album in 2009, released as a single and peaking at #9 in the UK and #98 in the U.S.
  • Soon after her success on BGT, a stage musical of her life was developed, and the show I Dreamed a Dream toured in the UK and Ireland in 2012. A film company acquired the rights to her life story – we’ll see if something ultimately is developed.
  • Her “rags to riches” story showed the power of social media – her first audition had 2.5 million views on YouTube within 72 hours, and 66 million views within a week. I remember when I first saw it – I too was guilty of passing judgement based on appearance, and then thrilled to hear and see such an amazing vocal talent. You MUST watch it – here is her audition performance of I Dreamed a Dream that took her from modest church singer to International star at the age of 47

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