Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thanks, Mick...

I can only imagine how Susan Boyle must be feeling right about now. In just a few short weeks, her debut album, I Dreamed A Dream, will be released. All those years of waiting and hoping and dreaming...and the dream is finally coming true.

Months before its release date, the album has already been at the top of "the charts". Demand for the album has been so high that Amazon has limited each customer's purchase. Imagine that! Barnes and Noble recently advertised that there was no limit there!

Months following her debut at Britain's Got Talent, people are still flocking daily to the youtube sites and listening to I Dreamed A well as other recordings that Susan as done in the past, one of them being Cry Me A River.

Even Mick Jagger has offered his opinion in Irish Central...that Susan's heartfelt, soul-stirring rendition of Wild Horses is better than his! I could have told him that, but I was glad to read it in print. Thanks, Mick...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Glamorous is fun...

I love the fact that Susan has curly hair with a mind of its own at times and the fact that she is very down-to-earth...a lot like you and me.

I can't imagine going from living alone with Pebbles (her ten year old calico cat) in "obscurity" to finding fame at the top of "the charts" in a matter of a few short weeks, but that is exactly what has happened to Susan Boyle.

From every interview I've read and every news article that has been published, Susan is so ready for this and is enjoying every minute of it!

I think I'd love it...especially a Harpers Bazaar makeover!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Susan's Story...

There's a story in each of us. We're the sum of every experience we've had throughout our years, especially the lives of others who've touched ours.

Susan's story begins in a small village in Scotland - Blackburn, West Lothian. Her parents, Patrick and Bridget, had immigrated from County Donegal, Ireland, to Scotland. The youngest of nine children in a devout Roman Catholic family, Susan was born on April 1, 1961, when her Mother was forty-seven years old.

Her surviving siblings include sisters: Bridie and Mary and brothers: John, Joseph, James and Gerard (Gerry). Her sister Kathleen, who was closest in age to Susan, died of a fatal asthma attack eight years ago. Her sister Patricia died of crib death when she was just a few months old before Susan was born.

Susan comes from an immensely talented family. Her father was a singer, her mother an accomplished pianist and her siblings are all talented in music and the arts. Family gatherings are often a time for music. Although Susan had been singing since an early age, it was at a wedding when Susan sang at the age of ten that her talent was seriously recognized. Her mother placed her in the choir at her church when Susan was 12 years old.

Susan's childhood wasn't an easy one. Due to complications at birth, Susan experienced oxygen deprivation for a period of time, resulting in learning difficulties as she grew older. Susan struggled in school because of it. She was bullied and mocked by the other children and spent a great deal of time alone. As she grew up, Susan sought refuge in music, spending hours in her room listening to her favorite records and singing along with them.

After finishing school, Susan worked under a six-month contract as a trainee-cook in the kitchens of West Lothian College. In the following years, Susan invested her life helping others by doing volunteer work at church, helping the elderly. Susan attended the Edinburgh Acting School and participated in the Edinburgh Fringe. She took singing lessons from voice coach Fred O'Neil. Susan enjoyed visiting the theatre to listen to professional singers and took advantage of performing at every local opportunity she had. Early video clips of her singing show a young and lovely Susan and a dynamic voice even then.

Susan has lived in the same rented four-bedroom, two story council home all her life. Eventually, Susan's brothers and sisters left home, one at the time, leaving Susan alone with her parents. Over the past ten years, Susan has known her share of grief, losing her father and her sister Kathleen a short time apart...then losing her mother in 2007 at the age of 91. Since 2007, Susan has been living in the family home alone, except for her beloved ten year old calico cat, Pebbles.

Susan had spent those last few years caring for her mother, Bridget, who had been ill. Mother and daughter had been inseparable. They had watched the talent show, Britain's Got Talent, together; and believing strongly in her daughter's talent, Bridget had encouraged Susan to enter.

Susan's mother died in 2007. For a while, Susan didn't sing...she couldn't. Somewhere along the way, however, Susan knew there was something she must do for her mother. In August 2008, she mustered the courage and applied for the third series of Britain's Got Talent. There was an initial audition, and she was accepted. The rest, as they say, is "is history".

No doubt, you've seen the video clips of each performance, and you know that Susan came in second in BGT. In my opinion, that may actually have been a "blessing in disguise". Now, she has time to pursue much bigger and better things...such as pursuing the dream she had in the first place - being a professional singer!

Susan has participated in a glamourous photo shoot with Harper's Bazaar. There have been dozens of interviews, and Susan has met her share of "stars". She has traveled to America and been met by a thousand fans at the airport. Susan is now living her dream come true. Currently, Susan is living in a plush apartment in a wonderful section of London and concentrating on completing her first album , I Dreamed A Dream, which is due out November 24th. Even months before its release date, the album has been at the top of the charts.

I'd like to believe that Bridget Boyle somehow knows that the world has fallen in love with Susan and now knows what Bridget knew all along, that her daughter has an incredible gift...

Note: I wish that I could have interviewed Susan personally about her life. There are so many questions I'd like to ask her. I'd also like to tell her how impressed I am with the courage that she has demonstrated in pursuing her dream. Instead, I had to read every interview that I could find to get the answers in her words.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Susan Magdalene Boyle, my favorite Scot...

Unless you've been living in an ice cave in Siberia, you've heard of Susan Boyle! More than likely, you've been one of the millions of "hits" on youtube, listening to her Britain's Got Talent debut. I'd venture to guess if you've heard her once, you've listened several times. I know I have.

The last time I was a true "fan", I was fifteen years old and standing in line outside Ellis Auditorium in Memphis, Tennessee, on a bitter cold February day in 1961. This was my chance to see a young Elvis Presley in concert at the Special Matinee Memphis Charity Show, and I could hardly wait. A few years have passed since then and to be honest, I really haven't been a "fan" in all the years since. Oh, sure, there have been performers whose music I've enjoyed, but I couldn't tell you anything about them...other than maybe the name of a song I liked.

One day, not too long ago, a friend of mine emailed me a link to a performance by a Britain's Got Talent contestant. I had never heard of BGT or watched it for that matter, but I was curious and clicked on the link. There was Susan. She was eating a sandwich and, obviously, waiting for her turn to perform. It was hard not to see the shock of curly hair, those eyebrows and the dress that was the wrong color for her lovely "Winter" complexion. Oh, but there was something about her. When she said she was going to "make that audience rock"...somehow I knew she would do just that. Although she did not appear nervous when it was her turn, I was nervous for her. I wanted to slap the members of the audience and the panel of judges who rolled their eyes and made faces. I really did.

Oh, but then Susan opened her mouth and sang...with crystal clear notes and perfect pitch. I loved it. I loved the fact that jaws visibly dropped all over the audience, including the three too-quick-to-form-an-opinion judges! I loved it when the audience rose to their feet at the first crescendo and when they gave Susan a standing ovation! I was already reeled in as a dyed-in-the-wool fan, but her spunky answers and enthusiasm after her performance sealed it...