What happened to the amazing Susan Boyle, now aged 61? A rather frumpy, Scottish woman walked onto Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent show. The audience and the judges thought it was a very bad joke. Then, Susan opened her mouth and sang. She literally ‘brought the house down’, in a way that no other contestant has done since. Susan came second to a magician, in the 2009 series, but a star was born.
A Nightingale Sang
Susan was a woman from a small Scottish house, in a small Scottish village who brilliantly fulfils the saying “Never judge a book by its cover.” Dressed in an unflattering gold dress and hair that refused to come under control, Susan introduced herself. In a thick Scottish accent, “I’m trying to be a professional singer” was greeted with stifled laughter and even jeers from the audience.
From the moment the first notes rose from her stunning mezzo soprano voice, the cynicism was replaced by wonder, an overawed ovation, to the wiping away of tears. Susan executed a spine-tingling, rendition of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’. Susan finished to a standing ovation of utter amazement. Later, Simon Cowell would apologize for the way they had first treated this non-event-looking woman.
From Unknown to Instant Stardom
Susan Boyle was one minute totally unknown to the next instant the amazing star. It was a matter of minutes on global television, watched by millions, and the then, 47-year-old was thrust into global fame. Within 24 hours, over 5.5 million people had viewed her clip on YouTube. By the first week over 11 million people had seen it and she became the most talked about subject on Twitter. The clip is still well worth viewing and as exceptional as it was in 2009.
The legendary hard-nosed Simon Cowell had commanded his coworkers to “Just let her be herself”. There was no need to add spin, or create any PR and one wonders how much of a surprise was it really for Simon. He must have viewed her audition tape and seen the potential to shock the world.
Susan Boyle’s Life Forever Changed
Susan’s life was instantly and forever changed. The unemployed charity worker, who had never been kissed, living alone with her cat Pebbles, was thrust into the global spotlight. The Scottish daughter of a miner, with 8 siblings, an unemployed shorthand typist became a multi-millionaire within one year.
Susan was contracted to Simon Cowell’s label, Syco Entertainment, and went on to break every rule in the book, refusing to fit into the ‘star mould’. Susan went on to become one of the biggest recording stars of all time. Simon Cowell had found a gold mine, while Susan fulfilled a dream she had held since age five. Susan’s video of became the most watched Youtube video ever, beating President Obama’s inauguration video five times over.
Amazing Susan Boyle’s Success
Simon said, “I’m thrilled for Susan, who has defied the odds. She is my superwoman”. Susan has released ten albums in thirteen years and continues to perform, do tours and appear on popular TV shows around the world. Susan created three Guinness World Records, as the fastest-selling album by a UK female, the most successful first week sales of a UK debut album, and the oldest person to hit No. 1 with a debut album.
Susan has been the No.1 album in over 40 countries, with 128 platinum and gold albums. She is only one of 17 females artists in the history of the UK charts to have three or more No. 1 albums in the UK. Susan has sung to the Pope, and Queen Elizabeth, and smashed music records held by the Beatles that had remained unchanged since the swinging 1960s. Susan shattered the ‘glass ceiling’ as the first woman to had a No1 album in Britain and America at the same time.
Susan Boyle’s Inspiration
Susan came from a musical family. “Singing has always been there, from my father down. It is something I have always done since I was 12-years-old.” Susan was inspired to audition after seeing Paul Potts, a mobile-phone salesman, on the show. He who won the first series of Britain’s Got Talent and went on to become an opera singer.
The difference between Paul Potts and Susan is that it took weeks for Paul to achieve his goal. However, Susan leapt onto the world stage as a painfully shy, under-confident woman with her ‘I Dreamed a Dream’. Now she says, “I don’t dream the dream anymore because I am living it”.
Susan is an Asperger’s Syndrome sufferer and was given the label of “Simple Susie” from childhood. She later revealed that she had been subjected to bullying by a small pack of neighbourhood teenagers. Susan now says, “They were just silly kids”, and holds no grudge against them.
Some people from the village considered her to have brain damage, which was far from the truth. Tests confirmed her IQ is above average. She said it was a relief to finally have a diagnosis of Asperger’s. “I have always known I have had an unfair label put upon me.” Susan is totally at peace with the diagnosis. “It is a condition that I have to live with and work through.” Her hope is that her diagnosis will help others like her.
Susan always felt she needed to prove herself, and was plagued with the feeling of being worthless. She enjoys stardom, but it hasn’t changed the real Susan Boyle.
No Stranger to Grief
Susan is no stranger to grief, losing her father in 1999, one sister died from cancer in 2000, and her mother, who Susan nursed, died in 2007. Susan said, that with the death of her mother “I felt part of me had died with her”.
The stardom journey for Susan has not been an easy ride, starting with public criticisms right from her first appearance on Britain’s Got Talent. To begin with, Susan resisted a makeover from her appearance, but eventually relented.
At Ease on the Stage
Once Susan got over her initial nervousness of performing in front of an audience, she actually enjoyed being on stage. However, she still had to contend with the symptoms and wild mood changes off stage, as a result of Asperger’s.
Susan describes herself as “King Kong’s mother.” She may put on a good performance on stage, but off stage her ‘bad behaviour’ was a problem. Susan had to learn strategies for coping with Asperger’s and learn to walk away from an upsetting situation. In 2014, Susan was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. At times the pressure of being a global figure, besides her health issues, became too much for her.
In 2014, Susan also took up a new talent of learning to play the piano, under the tuition of a local village piano teacher. On her 53rd birthday she showed off her newly acquired talent.
‘Posh House’ for Amazing Susan Boyle
When Susan received her first cheque from her record label, she purchased the council house that had been the family home. She wanted to remain living in the home she grew up in. Susan eventually purchased a much larger house, not far from the family home. It had five bedrooms, three bathrooms and electronic security gates. However, the ‘posh house’ was too grand for her simple lifestyle. “The big house down the street isn’t really me,” so she moved back into the family home with her cat.
Susan finally had a boyfriend at age 53, but sadly it didn’t work out. Susan remains unmarried, preferring the company of her cat.
Amazing Susan Boyle Lives Simply
Susan has never moved on from her roots, despite having a fortune that is estimated to be around forty million. For Susan, retirement is a ‘dirty’ word, as she competently manages her four companies that control her millions, known as Camp SuBo. Despite her millions in the bank, Susan prefers the simple life, with the hidden fear of going back to the place where she couldn’t pay the bills. Susan taught the world that a superstar doesn’t need to fit into any preconceived boxes.
In 2018, Susan was inducted into the Scottish Music Hall of Fame. In 2019, Susan appeared in America’s Got Talent: The Champions. She was awarded the covered Golden Buzzer, however Susan says she is a champion of those who don’t have the confidence to do things. The person who other people ignore.
Words of Wisdom from Amazing Susan Boyle
Susan’s advice is, “You just have to keep going and take one step at a time and one day you will make it. You just don’t give up. Give it your best even when things are really tough.”
Susan is the epitome of courage with no frills determination, as she never let her disabilities define who she is. To Susan the word ‘negative’ is a swear word, “Negativity can always be turned on its head and made into a positive. There is always a silver lining and there’s a lot of good that counteracts the bad.”
Susan’s faith is incredibly important to her on every level. She continues to be humble about her success. “It gets me through the moments of self-doubt and allows me to understand that this gift of my career, later in life, is from a higher power.”
Susan is proof that the unexpected can happen if you never give up on your dream. I first wrote about Susan Boyle in 2010 and am delighted that she has succeeded in a world of fame, that is normally a disaster for so many. We have much to learn from Amazing Susan Boyle.
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Wendy is an inspirational writer, for which she has a strong passion. She is also very passionate about her garden and family. She says life is too short to waste, so live it to the fullest.