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Plucked from obscurity when she stunned the judges on the UK TV show Britain's Got Talent, Susan Boyle has gone on to great singing success.
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But Boyle faced hardship yet again in 2000, when she lost her sister Kathleen to an asthma attack. She took the loss hard, and turned to her music for solace.
Boyle began taking singing lessons from voice coach Fred O'Neil in 2002, hoping to improve her chances of fame. She made several amateur recordings for benefits and local performances, but seemed resigned to only local notoriety.
In 2007, Boyle's mother passed away. The death crushed Susan,
who subsequently withdrew from the local talent show and karaoke circuit. For nearly two years, Susan refused to sing. Instead, she lived alone in her mother's house with her cat, Pebbles. Now unemployed, Boyle devoted her time to volunteering with the elderly at her local church, and rarely thought of singing.
But in August of 2008, Boyle's singing coach urged her to tryout for the television talent show Britain's Got Talent. Convinced that the performance would be a final tribute to her mother, Boyle auditioned in Glasgow, Scotland. She performed a rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables on the first round of the show, which was watched by over 10 million viewers when it aired on April 11, 2009.
Boyle's humble looks provided a sharp contrast to her studio-quality voice. The performance stunned the audience and cynical judges, including American Idol producer Simon Cowell. Boyle's performance was widely reported, and the clip became the most watched video on YouTube. She soon became the dark horse favorite of the competition, and her admission on the show that she had "never been kissed" endeared her to audiences.
After the show aired, Boyle became known as "The Woman Who Silenced Simon Cowell." Her overnight fame overwhelmed the 48-year-old, and on the eve of the final show, she threatened to quit the competition. After rallying for her final performance, Boyle lost to the dance group, Diversity. Critics of the loss say that Boyle may have lost due to an internet voting scam. Regardless, Boyle continues to perform. Her first album, I Dreamed a Dream (2009) was released in November 2009. It was a huge hit, selling over a million copies in six weeks, and topping charts in the United States and United Kingdom. A year later, in November 2010 Boyle released a Christmas album titled The Gift. The Gift also soared to the No. 1 spot on U.S. and U.K. charts. Boyle's third album, Someone to Watch Over Me, was released in November 2011.
In June 2012, Boyle announced that she had begun recording a fourth album with a new producer, but hasn't released any specific details about the project. On her website, Boyle wrote to fans about her newest album: "I'm not going to give any hints at the moment, as I want this album to be more of a surprise, but I'm having a great time and I'm working with another fabulous guy, so I'm hoping you will all love this new album."
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After the Britpop music scene of the early 90's, a new genre of celebrities stepped into the London spotlight from athletic superstars such as David Beckham to pop culture phenomenons like Simon Cowell and Susan Boyle. Alternative rock acts like Elastica and Oasis were replaced with soulful songstresses like Amy Whinehouse and Adele, and actors like Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley and Robert Pattinson became international superstars. The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton also became a royal, social and fashion icon, as well as a defining figure of the decade. Biography celebrates these cultural icons of the new post-Britpop era.
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