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Susan Boyle

March 2014

DESPITE amassing a rumoured £20m fortune, Susan Boyle is determined to stay in the four-bedroom former council house in Blackburn, West Lothian, where she grew up.
“As we speak it’s where I am,” says the 52-year-old, who bought the house off the local council for £65,000 five years ago.
By then both her parents had died and her eight siblings had moved out.
“It’s getting back to your roots,” she says.
“I like to keep in touch with my roots and I like to keep in touch with my memories.”
With the first wave of her earnings after her appearance on Britain’s Got Talent, she did buy a £300,000 new-build detached villa at the other end of the village but moved back to the family home after feeling unsettled by the change.
“I have no plans to move out,” she insists.

Indeed, after we speak, there are stories that she acquired the adjoining property and is knocking through to create a six-bedroom house for herself.
The council-owned property was home to a couple who had complained to West Lothian Council about the noise she made. When they moved out, she bought it.
Now she says: “I do have some brilliant neighbours.”
When I call it’s another Boyle who answers.
“That’s my PA,” she says.
Are there a lot of Boyles in Scotland.
“There’s an epidemic of them,” she giggles.
Does she mind being called Subo?
“I don’t mind. It’s an abbreviation of Susan Boyle.”
“It’s a matter of fact response but not intended that way. Susan Boyle doesn’t do sarcasm.
“I’m feeling chirpy this morning,” she admits, with another chuckle.
She laughs a lot but doesn’t say a lot. Each sentence is short and to the point. And sometimes the strong accent is hard to understand.
Since her appearance on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, Boyle has released five albums and amassed millions of fans around the worlds.
I tell her that, after I posted on Twitter that I would be interviewing her, one fan calling himself @Mr SuboFan, said: “Make the most of it. Over 60 fans from Canada, USA, Italy, Australia, etc will be in Nottingham for concert.”
“I’m really looking forward to that, it’ll be really good. I think it’s awesome and very humbling,” is all she says by way of a response.
Does she know why she has become so popular?
“I’m not manufactured. I’m not pop. I’m more of a variety act. And I’m approachable. I am, in inverted commas, normal.”
Much has been written about her Aspberger’s, a subject that the other Boyle tells me is off-limits during the interview.
She revealed that she had the condition, a form of autism in which the sufferer struggles with their emotions and have difficulty in social situations, in December. She told The Observer that she was misdiagnosed at birth.
She said: “I was told I had brain damage. I always knew it was an unfair label. Now I have a clearer understanding of what's wrong and I feel relieved and a bit more relaxed about myself.”
It explains why it has taken her five years to embark on her first UK tour.
Last year, she toured Scotland and enjoyed the experience.
“It was really good and I was ready for it,” she explains.
And the UK tour?
“The timing was right this time.”
What does she remember about her appearance on Britain’s Got Talent?
“At being very shocked at getting through,” she laughs.
“I will always remember it.”
Her version of I Dreamed A Dream went viral, so it was inevitable that, despite coming second to dance group Diversity, Simon Cowell would sign her to his Syco Records label.
The album of the same name, released later that year, became the UK's best-selling debut album of all time.
And since then?
“I’ve been abroad, I’ve met the Pope, I’ve met the Queen, I’ve been on tour for the first time in Scotland, I’ve made five albums... it’s been a whole big rollercoaster,” says Boyle, whose show at the Royal Concert Hall on Sunday is will be her first visit to the city.
Although she honoured most of the dates on the Britain’s Got Talent Tour in 2009, Nottingham was one of the few cities she missed out on, pulling out due to exhaustion.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” she says.
“I’ve heard such a lot about it. I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait!”
Will she get a chance to look around the city, maybe immerse herself in the Robin Hood legend?
“I’ll probably have time to look around,” she begins.
“I’ll probably get picked up by the Sheriff of Nottingham , you never know,” she laughs.
At least I think she said “picked up.” It’s easy to misunderstand her. As did the journalist who reported that she’d made serious enquiries about applying for a job in bookies recently.
It was suggested that she feared losing her fame and fortune and was making plans for a regular job.
Says Boyle: “That was just banter. There was nothing serious intended. I was sort of messing about.”

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