About Susan Boyle
Susan Magdalane Boyle was born in April 1961, in Dechmont, West Lothian, Scotland. The musical powerhouse is known for winning over the judges of “Britain’s Got Talent” with her rousing rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream”, from “Les Misérables” musical. Since rising to fame in 2009, Susan has sold millions of albums, sold out tours around the world, and become an unlikely celebrity.
Susan was brought up in the sleepy town of Blackburn, West Lothian. Patrick, her father and the family patriarch, was a World War II vet, a miner and a part-time singer, whereas her mother, Bridget, juggled a busy home life with her career as a shorthand typist. Patrick and Bridget both hailed from Lanarkshire, and have family ties to Ireland. Susan was Bridget’s last child of nine, born when the latter was in her mid-40s, and for years falsely believed that her difficult birth had led to her suffering from learning disabilities due to a lack of oxygen. Around 2012, Susan actually found out that she had been misdiagnosed, and had an above average IQ.
The singer, who was bullied for years during her childhood, participated in government training programs, and sang at small local venues after leaving school with few qualifications. Her vocal coach was Fred O´Neil; Susan later enrolled at Edinburgh Acting School, and in 1995 auditioned for the Michael Barrymore show “My Kind of People”.
Three years later, Susan recorded her renditions of “Killing Me Softly”, “Cry Me a River”, and “Don’t Cry for me Argentina” at Midlothian’s Heartbeat Studio. Having spent all her money on the professional demo tape, Susan sent copies around to local and national TV stations, radio talent competitions, and record companies, with no response.
In 1999, Susan recorded a track for “Music for a Millennium Celebration, Sounds of West Lothian”, a charity CD produced at a West Lothian school to commemorate the Millennium. Only a thousand copies of the CD were made, and ten years later, Susan’s cover of “Cry Me a River” was posted online and became a topic of discussion.
Bridget encouraged her daughter to audition for “Britain’s Got Talent” after she’d won several small singing competitions. Neil claims that Susan previously abandoned an “X Factor” audition as she believed that the possible contestants were being picked for their looks. When it came to auditioning for “Got Talent”, Susan almost backed out at the last minute, believing she was too old, but was encouraged by Neil and others to perform.
Ultimately, Bridget’s unexpected death was the catalyst that inspired Susan to pursue a musical career, in honor of her late mother. Her touching “Got Talent” audition was also Susan’s first public performance since Bridget passed away.
Susan applied to audition for the third season of “Got Talent” in August 2008, and accepted after a preliminary audition which took place in Glasgow. Her televised audition was held in the famous Clyde Auditorium and aired in early April 2009, being seen by millions of viewers and going viral online almost immediately. Although judges were at first skeptical of Susan’s singing abilities due to her appearance, she soon proved them wrong.
I Dreamed a Dream – The Susan Boyle Musical, on sale today!Susan Boyle will make a guest appearance on the Liverpool…
Susan’s version of “I Dreamed a Dream” was credited with rising ticket sales for Cameron Mackintosh’s production of “Les Misérables”. Susan was one of over three dozen acts that made it to the semi-finals of the competition; during the first semi-final, which aired in late May 2009, she performed “Memory” from the musical “Cats”. Despite being a fan favorite, the West Lothian native lost out in the final – which was seen by a record 17.3 million viewers in the UK – to the dance troupe Diversity.
However, Susan’s erratic behavior during the final was a cause of concern, as speculation about her mental health became a trending topic. The next day, Susan was admitted to a London-based private psychiatric clinic, and said to be “exhausted and emotionally drained”. As Susan had become one of the most recognizable people in the UK, she received an outpouring of support during a decidedly difficult moment; Simon Cowell even offered to waive her contractual obligation to participate in the “Got Talent” tour.
Three days later, Susan checked out of the clinic and confirmed that she would be part of the “BGT” tour, despite concerns over her health. Once again, the singer proved naysayers wrong as she performed in 20 out of 24 dates, garnering positive reviews from cynics and fans alike.
Susan and her team wasted no time in releasing “I Dreamed a Dream”, her debut album which became available to the public in late November 2009. In Britain, the album broke records and became the fastest selling debut album of all time, beating Leona Lewis’s “Spirit”, selling over 410,000 copies.
The album enjoyed similar success in the US, selling over 700,000 copies in its first week, and boasting the best opening week for a debut artist since the 1990s. Despite narrowly missing out on the coveted best-selling album of 2009 title, which went to Taylor Swift’s “Fearless”, Susan’s project was one of just two albums to sell over three million copies in the States. It’s important to note that while Taylor’s album sold 3,217,000 copies compared to Susan’s 3,104,000, the bulk of Susan’s sales were in the physical category, rather than digital downloads or streams.
Having broken records around the world, Susan appeared in her own TV special – “I Dreamed a Dream: the Susan Boyle Story” – in mid-December 2009. The heartwarming special was viewed by over 10 million in the UK alone; months later, Time magazine would vote Susan one of the world’s most influential people.
Susan announced her second album, “The Gift”, in July 2010. The sophomore project was a Christmas album, and was released in November 2010; prior to which, Susan held “Susan’s Search”, a competition in which the winner sang a duet with her on the new CD. Drumming up even more publicity for her album, Susan also published her bestselling autobiography, “The Woman I Was Born To Be – My Story”, in October 2010.
Ending the year on a high note, Susan performed a medley of Christmas hits on “The View” and “Christmas at Rockerfeller Center”, which aired on ABC and NBC respectively. Her third album, “Someone to Watch Over Me”, was released almost a year later, described as an eclectic mix of operatic pop, adult contemporary, and crossover music. Although the album wasn’t as successful as its predecessors, it was still certified gold or even platinum in several countries.
Nevertheless, Susan continued to churn out albums over the years. November 2012 brought with it her fourth project, “Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs from the Stage”; it was reported that Susan had taken piano lessons to play the instrument on the album.
Susan Boyle as Eleanor Hopewell in 'The Christmas Candle' – her first movie role – in production now… pic.twitter.com/pNZo9DHY20
— John Smith (@SusanBoyleNow) March 4, 2013
In November 2013, Susan made her acting debut as Eleanor Hopewell in “The Christmas Candle”, a festive movie based on the novel written by Max Lucado. Around the same time, she released her fifth album, “Home for Christmas”.
The powerhouse vocalist’s sixth album, “Hope”, was released during October and November 2014 in the US and UK, and included a live performance of “You Raise Me Up” with the Lakewood Church choir. It would become Susan’s sixth consecutive top 20 album in the States, debuting at #16 on the Billboard 200 chart, and spending months at the pinnacle of the Billboard Top Inspirational Albums chart.
In 2015, Susan took a much-needed break to spend more time with her family and friends. The recording of “A Wonderful World”, her seventh studio album, was postponed to the following year.
Two years later, it was confirmed that Susan would be a contestant in “America’s Got Talent: The Champions”. Unsurprisingly, the musician received a golden buzzer, and eventually sang her way to the finals, but sadly didn’t win.
Last but not least is “Ten”, Susan’s most recent studio album which was released in spring 2019, and includes a riveting duet with Michael Ball. The musician’s last notable public performance took place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony, where Susan sang “Wings To Fly”.
Susan is famously down-to-earth and still lives in her family home, an ex-council property with four bedrooms in Blackburn, which she purchased in 2010 with the profits earned from her debut studio album. Her father passed away in the 1990s, and with her eight siblings leaving home to form their own families, Susan dedicated herself to caring for her mother Bridget, and was never interested in marrying or pursuing a long-term relationship.
When Bridget died in 2007 aged 91 years old, it was reported by a neighbor that Susan refused to leave the house for up to four days, and wouldn’t answer the phone or door. Although Bridget’s death served as a catalyst for Susan to change her life around by auditioning for “Got Talent”, for many years she remained disinterested in finding love. When asked in a late 2012 interview if she’d tried her luck with online dating, Susan jokingly quipped: “Knowing my luck I’d go out on a date and you’d find my limbs scattered around various Blackburn dustbins!”
The musician is a practicing Roman Catholic, who’s often performed with her church choir at her church in Blackburn, where she remains an active volunteer and often visits elderly members of the congregation.
Susan was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in 2012, but didn’t make her diagnosis public until a December 2013 BBC interview. Despite being a philanthropist who has given over a dozen charity performances, and endorsed various non-profit organisations, Susan has yet to work with charities that focus on her own medical condition.
In July 2013, Susan endorsed the Better Together campaign that aimed for Scotland remaining part of the UK in the controversial 2014 independence referendum. The West Lothian native stated: “I am a proud, patriotic Scot, passionate about my heritage and my country. But I am not a nationalist. We have still been able to retain our identity whilst being a part of Britain.” Unsurprisingly, some people found Susan’s statement offensive and thought that she should steer clear of discussing politics.
In November 2014, news outlets began reporting that Susan was dating her first boyfriend, a man said to be around the same age as her. The singer and the mysterious doctor, who reportedly met while Susan was on tour, hit it off immediately, but were never photographed together. Susan also declined to share his name or any personal details, but later said: “I did have a gentlemen friend… But if I had a man friend it would be purely platonic – I’ve been on my own too long now to get married.” For now, as of early 2023, we can assume that Susan remains single.
Then, in the past, Susan has also expressed her desire to adopt or foster children; sadly, she was allegedly denied the opportunity to adopt due to her age. Although her busy career has left her with little to no time to begin fostering, Susan dotes on her pet cat, and enjoys spending time with her many nieces and nephews.
Susan has also undergone a drastic style change in the last few years, after she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Despite losing weight for health reasons and not aesthetic ones, the singer made the most of her new physique to overhaul her image. Although the recording artist still uploads the odd make-up free selfie, and doesn’t mind looking less than perfect, these days she can typically be seen in elegant gowns and designer threads.
Fans became concerned to Susan’s well-being when she took a long social media hiatus from November 2021 onwards. A year later, she was spotted enjoying herself at a Robbie Williams concert at the Ovo Hydro Glasgow, with onlookers claiming that ‘she was really enjoying herself as she sang away’.
As there have been no mentions of new albums or projects for the time being, it remains to be seen whether Susan has something up her sleeve for 2023.