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The music phenomenon Susan Magdalane Boyle was born in Blackburn, West Lothian, Scotland, to Patrick and Bridget Boyle. From singing in her local Catholic church, “Our Lady of Lourdes”, local choirs, and karaoke at pubs Boyle went to music stardom after participating in the talent show “Britain's Got Talent” on 11 April 2009. Prior to her successful audition Boyle had tried out for “My Kind of People” several times and had recorded a song for charity included on the album “Music for a Millennium Celebration, Sounds of West Lothian.” She had also attended singing lessons with voice coach Fred O’Neil, studied at Edinburgh Acting School, and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe festival. In 1999, Boyle recorded a professional demo uploaded to the internet after her audition for “Britain’s got talent”. Her pursuit of a musical career is motivated by the need to commemorate her mother.
After and winning local singing competitions and her mother’s urging she eventually applied for an audition for the third series of Britain's Got Talent and after a preliminary audition in Glasgow her performance at the city's Clyde Auditorium. Her interpretation of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables in the first round was viewed by over 10 million people. In the semi-finals, she was the last of the Top 40 to make the cut, performing “Memory” from the musical Cats from which she received the most votes giving her a ticket to the finals. Even though a favourite to win, she placed second with her rendition of “Diversity”. 17.3 million viewers watched the finale. From that, her music career took off with a performance at the Independence Day celebrations at the White House.
Boyle participated in the “Britain's Got Talent Tour” performing in cities such as Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dublin, Sheffield, Coventry, Birmingham and London. On November 2009, her first album “I Dreamed a Dream” was released which included covers of “Wild Horses”, “You'll See”, “I Dreamed a Dream” and “Cry Me a River”. The album’s pre-sales on Amazon soared and after release sold 411,820 copies in the UK and 701,000 copies in its first week in the US, where it remained on atop the Billboard chart for six consecutive weeks. In the six weeks following its release, “I Dreamed a Dream” sold 9 million copies becoming the biggest selling album in 2009. Before the album’s release Boyle embarked on a tour of the US where she also appeared on a television special, “I Dreamed a Dream: the Susan Boyle Story” with excellent ratings. “I Dreamed a Dream” by Susan Boyle was used as the theme song for the anime movie “Eagle Talon The Movie 3”. Boyle performed as a guest singer for the 2009 edition of Kōhaku Uta Gassen, annual songfest on 31 December in Tokyo. In May 2010, Boyle was elected the seventh most influential person in the world by “Time” magazine, and in September that year was officially recognized by the Guinness World Records for having the fastest selling debut album by a female artist in the UK, the most successful first week sales of a debut album in the UK and for being the oldest person to reach number one with a debut album in the UK.
Boyle sang for Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Britain in 2010. Preceding her second album Boyle held a contest entitled “Susan’s Search”, the winner sang a duet with her on the album, “The Gift” which was released in November 2010. Because of the album’s success Boyle became one of three artists to reach number one on the UK as well as US charts twice in one year. On November 30, she appeared on two TV shows; ABC’s “The View” singing “O Holy Night” and NBC's “Christmas at Rockefeller Center” performing “Perfect Day” and “Away in a Manger”.
Susan Boyle’s success became evident not only from her record sales but also online. The YouTube video of her BGT audition had 2.5 million views within the 72 hours of its post and 66 million after the first week. The video was the most popular article on “Digg” and made front-page news on “Reddit”. By the end of 2009, Boyle’s audition video was viewed more than 120 million times making it the most popular video of the year. Boyle’s performance was mentioned in many newspapers around the world. Within a week of her appearance on Britain's Got Talent, Boyle appeared on TV many times; she was a guest on STV's The Five Thirty Show, she was interviewed via satellite on CBS's Early Show, “Good Morning America”, on NBC's “Today”, on FOX's “America's Newsroom” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and on Larry King Live where Boyle sang an a cappella verse of “My Heart Will Go On”.
In March 2011, Susan Boyle in collaboration with Geraldine McQueen released a single, “I know him so well” the income of which will go to “Comic Relief.” That same month Elaine C Smith at the Scottish Variety Awards presented Boyle with an Outstanding Achievement award, where she also performed “A Perfect Day”, “Who I Was Born To Be”, and “I Dreamed A Dream” earning standing ovations for each song. In April 2011, Boyle attended the unveiling of her waxwork figure at Madame Tussauds in Blackpool.
Susan Boyle has lent her support to the rising star 11 year old Jackie Evancho who is launching her first album in the UK. The duet, “A Mother’s Prayer”, is featured on Jackie’s UK debut album “Dream With Me” which is being released in the UK on Monday 6th June 2011. Susan Boyle is a music phenomenon that can be best described with 2010 Grammy Award host Stephen Colbert’s words who said, “you may be the coolest people in the world, but this year your industry was saved by a 48-year-old Scottish cat lady in sensible shoes.”