Susan Boyle spent her early life faithfully attending her local Catholic church, taking singing lessons and performing in small karaoke venues, and caring for her aging mother, whom she promised that she would someday enter a singing contest. Boyle’s first public performance after her dear mother passed away in 2007 was before an enormous audience—more than 10 million viewers of a 2009 episode of Britain’s Got Talent.
As she walked onstage, 47-year-old Boyle was greeted by a surprised and skeptical audience. And then, as if the world stopped for just a moment, she captured the audience and stunned the judges as she sang “I Dreamed a Dream.” Her dream swiftly became reality as tens of millions of viewers around the world became acquainted with her phenomenal performance, via the live broadcast and an online video that quickly went viral.
Who was she, where did she come from, and the most often heard query—where has she been?! Boyle never sought stardom. Over the years, she had quietly pursued her dreams from the small village of Blackburn, West Lothian, Scotland, gaining just a bit of local notoriety by performing at church and community events. As a child, she struggled with learning differences and, she reports, was bullied in school.
By the end of 2009, however, the world was very aware of Boyle. After she came in second on Britain’s Got Talent, her debut album, released in November 2009, became the best-selling album of all time in the UK. Her subsequent albums have been extremely successful as well. She has toured widely, collaborated with household names, and performed before the Queen of England.
In addition to revealing her tremendous talent, Susan Boyle has been an inspiration to many. She is a beautiful example of overcoming the stereotypes of age and circumstance, to rise to world acclaim. Her first public song is really her story—she dreamed a dream.
Live Your Dreams. Pass It On!
This billboard about Live Your Dreams features Susan Boyle; singer.
Download Backstory PDF
Pass It On®
Veronica (Vicki) Le Gare from California, USA MAY 18, 2020
She is truly an inspiration!
Jenna Herritt from Kent state APRIL 14, 2020
I love this tribute. Absolutely wonderful.
rebeca from Connecticut MARCH 29, 2017
i was bullied before and now im entering depression. this inspires me to forget about what everyone else thinks and just be you.
Julianna from Montana NOVEMBER 21, 2016
so touching i am gonna cry
Anonymous MAY 11, 2016
creeper from minecraft DECEMBER 15, 2015
It was my Mum who got me into singing properly—she knew I had to do something with my voice because she knew I was talented. She was the one who pushed me into joining a choir all those years ago, when I was about 12. I remember she told me to start with t
NULL from NULL JANUARY 27, 2015
You should always sing your heart out. Music is the key to happiness and if you keep pushing yourself to something that you really want and you will get it eventually. Practice makes perfect and don't let someone tell you that you can't because you can no matter what they say. Always push yourself to your full potential and live life not caring what they say.
Len from Phoenix MAY 9, 2014
A few years ago, I was visiting my home town of San Diego and I saw this great billboard and was inspired to become an actor. She is such a great singer and when I get on stage next month, I'll think of her for living her dream and thank her for telling me to live mine.
Ohodgee Nieves from Hartford,CT FEBRUARY 15, 2014
I know Susan Boyle was on Britain's got talent and she was a good singer.
Darnell Ervin from Winston-Salem FEBRUARY 11, 2014
She can sing. But she had an impact on my life and the life of others. Even when she was talked about that didnt stoop her form puersing her dreams.
vanessa from washington FEBRUARY 5, 2014
i like her music
vanessa from washington FEBRUARY 5, 2014
salie franklin from jonesboro, AR AUGUST 29, 2013
I LOVE THE WAY SHE LETS HER SELF RUN FREE!
Yolanda Contreras from Provo, Ut. JULY 8, 2013
Nothing in this life passes by accident; I read Susa n Boyle's Billboard and her experience touched my heart; I am one of them. I have lived my entire life hidden my personal talents- fears are my great obstacle.
Thank you so much for given my encouragement to overcome my monsters.
Maddie from Nun ya APRIL 5, 2013
She is beautiful in heart and doesn't let a couple thousand haters bring her down
At the end...
She made history
Me from Wedj MARCH 12, 2013
I like her music!
Molly from CT MARCH 11, 2013
Anything is possible so pursue your dreams!
Emily from Pulaski, WI FEBRUARY 20, 2013
Susan Boyle rocks
me from earth FEBRUARY 20, 2013
i love susan
tcratty from indiana MARCH 22, 2012
I loved Susan Boyle when she sung I dream a dream.
Cliff Brown from New York, New York APRIL 20, 2011
This lady has the most beautiful voice in the world! I wish I could dream a dream just like her!
Kathryn J. from AZ Peoria MARCH 8, 2011
I WANT TO BE A SINGER WHEN I GROW UP BUT I'M ONLY 11 SO I HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO!
Peppyalicekullen from USA FEBRUARY 15, 2011
She doesn't look like she has a good voice, but no one can judge anyone by their looks. WAY TO GO SUSAN!!!
louise b from canada JANUARY 26, 2011
Christie H from CAN JANUARY 17, 2011
I LOVE the Susan Boyle billboard.. She's the PERFECT person to represent this characte trait. But you have to know the WHOLE story to fully understand it or at least watch the audition, anyways.
Debra W from DeSoto.Mo. JANUARY 5, 2011
I love Susan Boyle Billboard.. It's such a nice warm greeting when I drive home and always inspires me as well. Thank you.
Carol Y from California NOVEMBER 19, 2010
Wow! A multiplicity of truly amazing people....living & dead. You are to be congratulated for spot-lighting them and giving them the accolades they deserve! Thank you!
Carol Y from California NOVEMBER 19, 2010
I saw this billboard near the community in which I live. Ms. Boyle is truly an inspiration and deserves commendation for the excellent character she possesses.
Mary T from West Australia 6172 NOVEMBER 11, 2010
Thank you for highlighting Susan Boyle as the example of perseverence, kindness and faith. Billboards not shown in Australia -- we need them to highlight great human endevour.
Richard L. Mendes from Cameron Park, California U.S.A. OCTOBER 5, 2010
This billboard is now in several California locations, including two recent one posed outside Fresno, the southern one gloriously nightlit. This photo of Susan shown here cuping a Shure Model 55 microphone emblematic of the 1950s is my absolute favorite of mine, thank you for using it for the billboard!
Juanita Polk from Monterey, Ca JULY 27, 2010
Please couldn't we have posters that can be used in a classroom or a church bulletin?
Brian O from Bay City, Michigan JUNE 24, 2010
I love this article. This just goes to show that when you believe in something and give it your all that you can make anything possible. It may take time and may take 110% of your heart but you can do it. I believe in some cases people have forgotten how to just make things happen. People let small obstacles stop them from achieving what they want. Susan Boyle took her heart and her passion and followed her dreams. I really hope that a lot of people can learn from her and that people will stop giving up and start going for the gold.
Charlie M from Decatur, AL JUNE 16, 2010
My wife and I, our married daughter, and family are always looking for the new ads on TV. What wonderful inspirations they are. We are grateful to this wonderful organization for promoting these ideas. Hopefully they will catch on and continue to be passed on.
Cynthia M. from Ohio JUNE 13, 2010
Some of the Values that describe Susan Boyle are:
Believe In Yourself,
Teaching By Example,
Live Your Dreams,
Making A Difference,
Spread Your Wings
Marie H. from Texas MAY 30, 2010
You could not have picked a better person for your bulletin boards. These boards should be available on every roadway in America. Susan is such an inspiration to so many people and has achieved her success through hard work and determination. Thank you for using her in your ad campaigns.
Pat W from Maryland MAY 24, 2010
Does Values.com have a list of where Susan Boyle billboards have been put up? Would love to know.
Grace R. from MA MAY 20, 2010
Wonderful billboard tribute. You couldn't have picked a better representative of courage and hope. Susan Boyle is an inspiration to many, many everyday people around the world. She did "dream a dream" and the world has reaped the rewards. God Bless Susan Boyle.
Kiki L. from Honolulu, Hawaii MAY 20, 2010
There is something angelic and magical about Susan's voice! She touches the hearts and souls of countless millions world-wide! KUDOS ON YOUR GROUP's NOBLE PURPOSES!!!
Mary B from Virginia Beach, VA MAY 19, 2010
What a perfect choice for a Billboard! Susan is a true gift to the World. She is a lady of very admirable conscience, and an inspiration to us all.
Rita A. from Vancouver, Canada MAY 17, 2010
First time I LOVE a billboard-ad-thingy!!
Gayle H. from Michigan / USA MAY 17, 2010
Susan Boyle is SO DARLING! And such an inspiration. I love her music and must congratulate you on choosing such an admirable Poster Girl for your campaign and billboards! Check out our Forum for her as well: www.forum.susan-boyle.com with over 50,000 members worldwide!!
Ali ShahanShah from India APRIL 28, 2010
A very inspiring fact of life. Living and giving has been her passion. Now she is getting what she has given!
Maggie, G from Denver, Colorado APRIL 28, 2010
I love you Susan I cried the first time I watched your video and I will continue crying every time I watch it. When I have a bad day, I listen to you sing. Thank you for helping us remember the hidden talents in ourselves and in each other.
Adrienne Hall from Randallstown, Maryland APRIL 27, 2010
Dear Sister Susan, it does not matter that you did not win Britain's Got Talent, what really matters is that your mother was listening and cheering you on in the spiritual realm. The initial part of your dream has been fulfilled. The best is yet to come. You are anointed to sing. There will be many offers and opportunities that will be coming your way. I love you dearly and my dream is that I will be in the audience on the very first row at one of your majestic concerts. Peace and Blessing be upon your gift, talent and skill.
María Méndez from Costa Rica APRIL 27, 2010
Susan: you are an example to those of us who have not had the courage to follow our dreams. God bless.
Beth W. from Surprise, Arizona APRIL 27, 2010
What a great source of inspiration! I use Susan's story to teach teenagers about the power of believing in themselves.
Pat D. from Saint John, NB Canada APRIL 27, 2010
Susan Boyle is one of a great number of people who have inspired the world by living their own dream motivated only by their own inner purpose. How wonderfully to be reminded that we all have this potential in some way! I drive my car listening to Susan often moved to tears by the authenticity of her voice, a gift to the world!
Jeremie C. from Canada, Ontario APRIL 21, 2010
Susan you're lucky. You're an awesome singer! Congrats on almost winning Britain's got Talent! GOOD JOB! :)