She shot to fame as a contestant on Britain’s Got Talent a decade ago and in an exclusive chat with Tracy Grimshaw on Tuesday’s episode of A Current Affair, Susan Boyle has opened up about how fame has changed her life.
Boyle recalled the judges and crowd not being friendly towards her during her first audition on the hit reality show but knew she captured the audience with the first few bars of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’. She had unsuccessfully auditioned 12 times for various other talent shows before her appearance on Britain’s Got Talent.
The 58-year-old told Grimshaw the pressure of the show almost got too much for her and she almost quit, but it was advice from judge Piers Morgan that encouraged her to continue on. She eventually placed second in the competition.
“When you’ve got a lot of pressure and a lot of different things going at once, it is difficult,” she said. “But you say to yourself, ‘This is what you wanted to do. This is what you really put yourself in for.’ You set the bar higher and higher as you go on.”
Following the finale of the show, Boyle suffered a breakdown and described herself as a “raw rookie”. She said she didn’t receive any training and wasn’t sure how to deal with the media. Thankfully, after 10 years in the business, Boyle said she’s “a bit more relaxed now” and takes everything in her stride.
She was also diagnosed with Asperger’s in 2012, something she described as a “relief” after believing she was living with a more serious health condition. It also explained why she found it more difficult to deal with pressure than others who have been on similar reality shows.
“Asperger’s, you just have to make people aware that sometimes you have to go at a certain pace, don’t be too bombarded with things,” she said. “At the very beginning I was very bombarded.”
Boyle also told Grimshaw she wasn’t ashamed of her diagnosis and didn’t think it was something she needed to keep secret. She also explained what it’s like when her condition is triggered.
“It feels like you’re in a bubble and you can’t talk really well,” she said. “If people give you a bit more time, I can eventually get my words out and I’m okay.”
The singer said she now uses relaxation techniques to calm herself down and also opened up about what’s on her bucket list. She explained she dreams of riding a bike and that she’s currently learning to drive. She’s also interested in getting a pilot licence and a horse.
‘I just want to keep going, keep entertaining people, making albums, touring,” she said. “I’m as happy as anything.”
And despite selling millions of albums, the singer admitted she still lives in her same Scottish childhood home.
“It’s sentimental,” Boyle said. “You never leave it.”
She also admitted that she still does her own shopping, catches the bus and said that doing the things she always did keeps her grounded.
The star is set to release a new album to mark a decade since her first audition and will tour the UK and Scotland next year. She will also return to the Britain’s Got Talent stage as a contestant on the upcoming all-stars version of the show, where contestants from around the world compete against each other.