Susan Boyle, Scottish singer, chats with Kevin Cooper about working with Simon Cowell, wanting to sing with Michael Bublé, her latest album Ten and next year’s tour of the UK.

Susan Boyle is a Scottish singer, who rose to fame after appearing as a contestant on the third series of Britain’s Got Talent which aired in 2009, when she sang I Dreamed A Dream from the musical Les Misérables.

She released her debut album, I Dreamed A Dream in November 2009 which went on to become the UK’s best selling debut album of all time. It also set the record for the biggest first week sales of a debut album and was also the second best selling album of 2009 in America, topping the Billboard 200 for six weeks.

With the release of her second album, The Gift, in 2010, Boyle became only the third act ever to top both the UK and American album charts twice in the same year.

Having released a total of eight albums, her latest, Ten, was released in May 2019, an occasion to mark the tenth anniversary of her Britain’s Got Talent audition.

Between 2009 and 2013 Boyle has sold over nineteen million albums worldwide, and had earned her two Grammy Award nominations. Other awards included the Icon Award presented to her in 2013 by the Radio Forth awards and the Fans Choice Award from the Scottish Music Awards.

In 2010 she wrote her autobiography, The Woman I Was Born To Be – My Story, and in 2012 she was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.

Whilst busy rehearsing for next year’s UK tour, Susan Boyle took some time out to have a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what she had to say.

Hi Susan, how are you?

I’m very well thank you Kevin, and I am really looking forward to Christmas. More to the point how are you?

I’m very well thank you and yes, me too, we certainly have the weather for it at the moment (laughter).

Yes, we do. We have already had snow here in Scotland but that’s to be expected, it is December (laughter).

That is very true. Now before we move on let me firstly thank you for taking the time to speak to me today.

It’s no problem, no problem at all. Thank you for wanting to speak to me.

And just how is life treating you at this moment in time?

I have to be honest with you and say that life is treating me very well. I can’t wait to get myself over to Italy where I will be singing for the Pope.

We will come onto the Pope a little later, but I have to ask you, can you believe that you have now been recording albums for the last ten years?

No, as it has flown by so quickly. Having said that; it has really been very exciting. When I look back at my audition on Britain’s Got Talent, the place where all of this started for me, I just can’t believe that it has been ten years since I was on the show.

On the subject of Britain’s Got Talent can you believe that your audition tape has had three hundred million hits on YouTube?

Gosh, really; well that is totally unbelievable. Sometimes I really do have to pinch myself at some of the things that have happened during the last ten years.

On the subject of ten, you titled your last album Ten and I have to say that the fans absolutely love it. Were you happy with it?

Yes, I have to say that I was, in fact I was very happy with the album. It was great for me to be able to include the four new songs on there as well. A bonus for me was being able to work with Michael Ball on A Million Dreams.

I recently spoke to Michael and he told me that the two of you had a wonderful time recording together.

(Laughter) well you could say that we had a bit of banter, yes. Michael is forever the joker, so we really did get along great.

I have to say that I personally think that Michael is fantastic.

He is; he really is so I have to agree with you, he is a lovely man and was very helpful to me in the studio. He always has a smile for you, and he is such a lovely man. I personally think that he is a big smoothie (laughter).

I have to ask you; just what is Simon (Cowell) like to work with?

Well let me dispel an urban myth right from the start. Despite what you may read in some newspapers, Simon is not nasty at all; he really is a lovely guy. I have now worked with him for the past ten years and I can honestly say that he is a great guy. He really is very nice.

He likes to portray himself as being a nasty man.

Yes, he does, but let me tell you, that is all bravado just for the cameras. Simon really is a lovely guy.

Are there currently any thoughts on a new studio album?

There are but we won’t be acting upon them until sometime next year. That will be staying firmly on the shelf until possibly June or July next year. That is all that has been confirmed at the moment.

Looking through your back catalogue, you have dueted with some fantastic artists; some alive and some sadly no longer with us. Who have you enjoyed singing with the most?

(Laughter) I have to say that I really did enjoy singing and recording with both Donny Osmond and Michael Ball. They are both really nice guys and when we sing together it really does seem to work.

I’m so pleased that you have mentioned Donny Osmond because I really do love This Is The Moment which you recorded with him for your Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs From The Stage album.

Thank you, that is so kind of you to say that. Donny is a very nice man and I learnt such a lot from him when we were in the studio together.

Another favourite of mine is your duet with the late Elvis Presley on O Come, All Ye Faithfull which you recorded for your Home For Christmas album. However, I hear that recording that song was not all plain sailing?

I have to say that for me to record O Come, All Ye Faithfull with Elvis really was something special. As you know, Elvis is the ultimate iconic figure so that really was a very special moment for me. You are right when you say that it wasn’t plain sailing; it took us months to be granted permission to record that particular song from Mr Presley’s Estate and Organisation, but I think that it was well worth the perseverance. I am so pleased that you like the song.

Is there anyone out there who you have not sung with who you would like to?

(Laughter) I have lots of ideas but right at the top of my list, I really would love to sing with Michael Bublé; that would be a dream come true.

I have to say that there seems to be a pattern emerging here as you seem to be picking all of the smoothies (laughter).

(Laughter) well in that case, I guess that I must really be a smoothie at heart (laughter).

You have a magical quality to be able to turn a song into your own. I am a massive Simon and Garfunkel fan but now whenever I hear you singing Bridge Over Troubled Water, it is your version that I listen to.

Thank you, you are so kind. Whenever you sing a song you are telling a story about how you feel about that particular song. I always do my very best to bring my own emotions to that song, and as you know, I wear my heart on my sleeve most of the time. It is all about the emotions.

Next March you will be touring the UK with The Ten Tour; are you looking forward to being back out on the road?

I really can’t wait to be back out on the road; in fact I am already getting very excited at the thought. Currently I am in rehearsals for the tour, and now I can’t wait to get out there and perform. It’s been a few years since I last toured but let me tell you, this is going to be a totally different tour to that, a totally different format with different songs. There will be a few surprises too. Are you coming along yourself to see the show Kevin?

Yes, I am, in fact I will be reviewing and photographing the show here in Nottingham at The Royal Concert Hall on Friday 6th March.

Okay, in that case I will see you there. Do make sure that you come by and say hello.

Thank you, I will. Whilst on the subject of the tour, now that you have got such a large back catalogue, does putting together a set list for the tour give you a headache?

Yes and no. The majority of the fans come along to hear the hits, but fortunately, they also enjoy listening to a few fresh songs as well. I will be doing a few more upbeat songs on this tour, something to get them up on their feet, something to get them dancing, something to help them have a great night out; that’s what I am aiming for.

On Thursday 23rd December 2010 you released your autobiography, The Woman I Was Born To Be. Was that something that you wanted to do or something which you felt that you had to do?

It was something which I felt that I had to do. I really felt that I needed to do that. I felt that people needed to know certain things about me; things like I had a disability, I suffer from Asperger Syndrome, but I have overcome it. The message that I wanted to put across was that if I could overcome my disability then other people can too. I wanted to be an example to the people out there who wanted to do what I did.

There are lots of rumours and whispers currently circulating regarding Susan Boyle : The Movie what can you tell me about it?

(Laughter) well what I can tell you is that things are in negotiations at this very moment. Unfortunately, that is all that I can tell you, but it is still very early days.

If it happens, are you looking forward to seeing the movie?

If it happens and believe me, it will happen one day, it will be very exciting and also very moving, so yes; I will go along to see the final movie.

You have mentioned it briefly; on Friday 13th December you will be meeting His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican. How does that feel?

What can I say; I am really looking forward to meeting His Holiness.

I was going to ask you what you will be wearing when you meet His Holiness because I don’t know if you know or not, but Friday 13th December is Christmas Jumper Day (laughter).

(Laughter) really, well I am sure that His Holiness wouldn’t mind if I wore a Christmas jumper to meet him, but I think that I will wear something a little more formal (laughter). Perhaps I will put on a Christmas jumper after I have met him.

Then on Saturday 14th December you will be performing for His Holiness in a concert with Lionel Richie and Bonnie Tyler. Are you excited?

Yes, I am, I am very excited. However, what you have to remember that this is not the first time that I have done this. On 16th September 2010 I sang at the Papal Mass performed for Pope Benedict XVI in Glasgow at Bellahouston Park in front of a crowd of 65,000 and I actually got to meet His Holiness. If I am totally honest with you, I have just about come back down to earth. That really was a very special moment to me.

Will there be any nerves?

(Laughter) yes, of course, there will be lots. It’s not very often that you get the chance to perform for someone as important as The Pope.

And the smoothie theme continues with Lionel Richie (laughter).

Oh yes, Lionel is nice, in fact he is really nice (laughter). I met Lionel a few years ago now when he was performing in Glasgow. I was invited to meet him backstage and he was really nice. He was very sweet to me.

Who were you listening to when you were growing up?

I was actually listening to a mixture of people, but I would have to say that it was predominantly The Osmonds. I was also listening to a lot of musical theatre, but it would all depend upon my mood.

Who has inspired you?

A lot of people have inspired me; I was inspired by The Osmonds. I was inspired by the musicals, when I was growing up there were lots of influences, far too many to mention (laughter).

What would you say has been the highlight of your career so far?

The highlight of my career so far would have to be the very first time that I was put through to the next stage of Britain’s Got Talent. I thought that all of my Christmases had come at once. That really was the highlight for me.

We have looked back at the past ten years, but where would you like to see yourself in the next ten years?

I would like to still be making records; I would like to still be entertaining people because for me, that is what it is all about. For me, meeting people and making then smile is what I really do enjoy.

What was the first record that you bought?

That’s easy, that was I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor. I’ve probably still got that single somewhere (laughter).

Who did you first see performing live?

Don’t laugh at this but I went along and saw U2 a couple of years ago now. After that I saw One Direction, and I have to say that I thought that they were very good.

What was the last song or piece of music that made you cry?

That would have been Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton. It is such a sentimental song that it always makes me cry. It really is such a beautiful song.

As Christmas is rapidly approaching, what would be Susan Boyles perfect Christmas?

My ideal Christmas would be spent with friends and family, and it would be a nice peaceful Christmas with no fighting.

On that note Susan, let me once again thank you for taking the time to speak to me today, it’s been delightful. Have a great Christmas and I will see you in the New Year.

Thank you, Kevin; it was really nice to talk to you. You have a wonderful Christmas and we will speak again soon.