Against all odds Susan Boyle is this week the subject of everybody’s conversation. Everywhere in the world. She got into fame after her remarkable (outstanding!) appearance on last week’s Britain’s Got Talent, on ITV1. And the Queen would definitely be well inspired to give her a medal of some sort, because her story is amazing and Susan certainly is an example of how it is possible to get through everything even tough your start in life was one of the most difficult possible…
AGAINST ALL ODDS
Against all odds because Susan Boyle was starved of oxygen at birth, which left her with learning difficulties. Three in 1,000 babies in the United Kingdom still either die or become severely brain-damaged at birth, by the lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain. And those who survive will generally later suffer devastating conditions (cerebral palsy or epilepsy). But new “baby cooling” medical techniques are now emerging that can save the life of 1 in 6 babies whose brains are starved of oxygen at birth.
THE STORY OF A BULLIED CHILD
Unfortunately for Susan, this disability made her a target for bullies and she was rapidly called names because of her fuzzy hair and because she was struggling in class. “I told the teachers, but because it was more verbal than physical I could never prove anything. But words often hurt more than cuts and bruises, and the scars are still there”, she said. Her ordeal continued as she found some comfort in singing when she was only five. She later received some professional voice training, but had to stop everything to look after her sick mother, who died in 2007, aged 91.
Until last week, the 47-year-old Scottish church volunteer from Blackburn (Scotland) was still bullied by yobs in her community, calling her names, throwing snowballs at her door and daring each other to knock and run away. They were endlessly mocking her.
SUSAN’S GOT TALENT
But everything changed overnight. On 11th April Susan Boyle, appeared on the Britain’s Got Talent TV show. At first, her “very old fashion” look made everyone smile. Then, when she said that her aspiration was to become a musical theatre singer like Elaine Paige, smiles became laughters. Everyone had already judged her. To everyone in the audience, she was another simple-minded looser who thinks she can sing. Susan was once again a victim of preconceived opinions.
As everyone was getting ready for the jury to give her the sack, “Thank you and goodbye! Next, please…”, the magic started. She performed “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical Les Misérables. Her singing was totally unexpected. Listening to her was suddenly sheer enchantment. The audience was silent. Gob-smacked. The jury was extatic, overpowered by the emotion. Susan litteraly amazed everyone: the jury, the public and the viewers at home. Susan, who nobody would have dared interrupt, was on top of the world! At the end of her performance, Amanda Holden, a jury member, told her: “I honestly think that we were all being very cynical and I think that’s the biggest wakeup call ever. And I just want to say that it was a complete privilege listening to that!”.
A GLOBAL PHENOMENON
All the media suddenly realised what this small woman was capable of. She became the headlines of the BBC, of CNN and of all the press in the world. Despite having only progressed through the first round of the TV competition so far, some music experts were now talking of record deal and how she could get straight to number one in America (where Robbie Williams, Westlife and Oasis have all failed…), how she could make millions with a successful tour, how she could also soon appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show in the US.
She became a global phenomenon with 10.5 million viewers on the night and more than 30 million people worldwide watching her performance online, via YouTube or DailyMotion. Even Demi Moore has become a fan! And she is now the bookies’ favourite (William Hill has slashed the odds from 5/1 to 1/2) to win a chance to perform at the Royal Variety Performance, the top prize of Britain’s Got Talent.
FUNNY WAYS, GREAT PEOPLE…
So what should one conclude of this marvelous story? Well, maybe next time we meet someone with a “funny look” or “funny ways”, someone who one would call a “freak” or a “nerd”, someone who people say is dull or unattractive, someone who lacks social skills or is too much studious, let’s not judge them on their sole appearance or manners, and give them a chance instead! Who knows what we could discover behind a “funny look” or “funny ways”… a best friend, a partner, an associate, a talent?
DO YOU WANT TO HELP A LITTLE BIT?
- Sparks - The children’s medical research charity
- Eva Mae Furniss - Raising money for research into birth asphyxia
SUSAN BOYLE’S VIDEOS:
Susan Boyle’s life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsaF5-moIvQ
Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY
Susan Boyle on the BBC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDDUQ86-i1o
Susan Boyle on CNN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIE5GKid8KU
Susan Boyle’s first CD for a charity, singing “Cry me a River” (1999): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5ETPG26ALE