Britain’s Got Talent superstar Susan Boyle was born on April 1, 1961 in Blackburn Scotland. At a young age, Boyle was diagnosed with learning disabilities, due to brain damage from childbirth, which prohibited her from fully succeeding in school. She always had an interest in music and at the age of 12, Boyle began performing in school productions.
Boyle went on to work in the kitchen of West Lothian College and continued singing for pleasure. In 1995, Boyle auditioned for My Kind of People, a televised talent show popular in the U.K. She was ultimately rejected from the show and her brother has speculated that it was because of her unconventional looks.
In 1999, Boyle pursued her dream to become a famous singer. She paid for a professionally cut demo tape that she sent to record companies, talent competitions, and TV shows. She took singing lessons and sang locally but never had her big break. Encouraged by her singing coach, Boyle tried out for Britain’s Got Talent in Glasgow, Scotland. She performed a rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables, which was watched by over 10 million viewers when it first aired.
Boyle ultimately lost the reality talent competition, coming in second place behind the dance group Diversity. After the show, she recorded her album, I Dreamed a Dream, and it has become Amazon’s best-selling album in pre-sales. After only six weeks of sales, the album became the biggest selling album in the world for 2009, selling 8.3 million copies.