Susan Boyle

1961 -

Singer. Born and brought up in modest circumstances in Blackburn (West Lothian), Boyle was one of ten children of a miner. Diagnosed with learning difficulties, she left school with few qualifications and, having no regular employment, remained in the family home caring for her aging parents. She took singing lessons, but most of her performances were confined to her local church and amateur singing competitions. She immediately came to international attention when she shocked judges with the quality of her performance on the ITV show Britain's Got Talent in 2009. She sang I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables and confounded those who judged her on her frumpy appearance. Although she was beaten in the final of the competition, she found herself in demand, especially in the USA where she appeared on a succession news and talk shows, including the Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live. Her fame was magnified through the Internet, with emotionally-charged videos of her performance being watched by millions. An album was released six months later which almost immediately reached No. 1, becoming the best-selling debut album in UK chart history and the fastest-selling debut album worldwide for a female artist. She also embarked on a tour of the US, where she was welcomed by crowds of fans. Boyle won Top Scot in the prestigious Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards (2009). She sang as part of the Opening Ceremony for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Boyle has received honorary degrees from Queen Margaret University (2012) and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (2015).

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