Susan Boyle

Susan Boyle
Susan Boyle. Photo by Bryan Bedder / Getty Images

Susan Boyle's Early Years and Personal Life

Susan Boyle was born April 1, 1961 in Blackburn, West Lothian, Scotland. She was the youngest of a large family and born when her mother was 47. A deprivation of oxygen during a difficult birth left her with mild brain injury causing learning disabilities. However, later, after her commercial success as a singer, she was told that she has Asperger syndrome and her IQ is above average.

Susan Boyle has revealed that she was a victim of bullying as a young child.

As an adult, most of the care for Susan Boyle's mother fell to her. The pair lived together, and her mother passed away at the age of 91. Grief over the death of her mother caused Susan Boyle to stop singing for a few years.

Singing Experience

While growing up Susan Boyle sang in school choirs and musical productions. She took singing lessons from vocal coach Fred O'Neil. With the encouragement of her mother, Susan Boyle entered a wide range of local singing competitions and has a large collection of trophies to attest to her success. She auditioned for the TV talent show My Kind of People at a shopping mall in 1995. Susan Boyle believes that she was too nervous to make a solid first impression.

When her mother died at the age of 91, Susan Boyle put her music on hold. She later chose to enter Britain's Got Talent as a tribute to her mother.

Susan Boyle's Top Songs


'Britain's Got Talent' Contestant

On April 11, 2009, Susan Boyle's audition in the first round of the talent competition Britain's Got Talent was broadcaste.

Amid incredulous looks from the judges and barely suppressed laughter from audience members, Susan Boyle sang "I Dreamed a Dream" from the musical show Les Miserables. Her critics were instantly silenced as attention shifted from her ordinary looks to extraordinary singing talent. She was put through to the show's semi-final.

Susan Boyle sang "Memory" from Cats in the semi-final May 24, 2009. Advancing to the final, she finished second to the dance troupe Diversity on May 30, 2009.

Susan Boyle's Musical Style

Susan Boyle possesses the voice of a singer of classic pop standards and show tunes. Both songs that she sang on Britain's Got Talent were from Broadway shows. However, her recording of "Cry Me a River" and demo of "Killing Me Softly" show some versatility leaning in the jazz and R&B areas. Susan Boyle herself has said that she hopes to be a professional singer in the model of Elaine Page who came to fame in stage shows such as Evita, Cats, and Chess.

Recording Artist

Following her stunning first televised performance, Susan Boyle became a worldwide sensation inspiring praise for the ability of an everyday person to rise to stardom simply due to their singing talent. Her performances have been seen and heard over 100 million times on the video site YouTube.

Speculation began almost immediately over Susan Boyle's prospects for success as a recording artist.

In the days before the Britain's Got Talent final, stories began emerging of the stress being experienced by Susan Boyle. She was portrayed as argumentative and subject to public outbursts. The day after the show concluded, she was admitted to a private clinic. An official statement read that she was, "exhausted and emotionally drained, suffering from exhaustion."

Susan Boyle's first album I Dreamed a Dream was released in late November 2009. It included a powerful cover of the Rolling Stones ballad "Wild Horses." The album became a worldwide sensation. It sold over 700,000 copies in its first week of release in the US. It topped the album chart for six consecutive weeks and with sales over three million in less than two months, I Dreamed a Dream became the second bestselling album of all of 2009.

It earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album. 

The Gift

For her second studio album, Susan Boyle recorded a Christmas themed collection titled The Gift. In advance of the album's release, Susan Boyle published her autobiography The Woman I Was Born To Be - My Story. The Gift soared to the top of the charts in its first week of release becoming Susan Boyle's second consecutive #1 album. However, the first week sales were just over 300,000 copies, less than half of that of her first album. With continued holiday season sales, The Gift ultimately sold more than two million copies in the US and earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.

Later Recordings

By the release of her third studio album Someone To Watch Over Me in November 2011, Susan Boyle's days as a chart-topping artist in the US were over. The album debuted at #4 selling over 100,000 copies but quickly descended the chart. Among the diverse collection of songs on the album are a cover of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence" and Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now."

Susan Boyle returned to Christmas music for her fifth studio album Home For Christmas released in 2013. It included a digitally created duet with Elvis Presley on "O Come, All Ye Faithful." All of the proceeds from the single were donated to charity. The album also included duets with Johnny Mathis. It peaked at #3 on the US holiday album chart.

Susan Boyle's sixth studio album Hope was released as a concept album in October 2014.

It included songs centered around the theme of hope and inspiration. Among the songs are John Lennon's "Imagine," Sarah McLachlan's "Angle," and Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here." The album spent a phenomenal 35 weeks at the top of Billboard's inspirational albums chart.

In November 2014, Susan Boyle revealed that she was dating her first boyfriend.