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THE CHRISTMAS CANDLE

>2009, the year synonymous with SUSAN BOYLE. The year she stepped onto the Britain's Got Talent stage and surprised the world. Little did she realise the global phenomenon that she was to become.

The shy devout lady with the unmistakable Celtic brogue auditioned in front of a three strong panel of judges charged with deciding which of the British hopefuls really did have talent. The singing voice of Susan Boyle turned out to be a watershed moment neither she nor anyone involved in the show could have possibly foreseen. Still almost three years on she is the defining moment.

In her own fashion, during three and a half minutes of television airtime, aired to slack- jawed intakes of breath Susan Boyle fashioned a new kind of fame. She broke every rule of the talent show book and tore up a considerable number of the pages of popular music marketing into the bargain. She symbolized an astonishing variety of the little-people's revenge, quite by accident.

After her audition, in which she confounded the judges, the audience and anyone with access to YouTube's expectations, she dazzled her way through a version of I Dreamed A Dream, a tornado of opinionated column inches, speculation, rumination and conjecture around Susan Boyle grew feverishly.

In the blink of an eye Susan went from unknown to worldwide fame. News crews from around the globe were camped on the small narrow street in provincial Blackburn Scotland, outside her childhood home. Everyone wanted Susan Boyle.

For one brief moment, vanity itself collapsed. As that ancient old maxim – 'Never judge a book by its cover' – clanked around the globe with viral intensity, it was as if the world was about to offer its first unspoken apology for prizing preconceptions above all else.

Coming second in the talent show final was not enough to dampen the fevered excitement surrounding Susan, the statistics are testament to how one very ordinary woman scaled the realms of extraordinary.

In 2009, her first album, I Dreamed A Dream switched from being the most pre-ordered album in Amazon's global history to the fastest selling global debut of all time. The album topped the charts in 21 countries including the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Greece, Belgium and South Africa and she performed on the most coveted shows around the globe. Ten million albums were sold.

With a synchronicity you'd have difficulty making up. Susan Boyle's global record sales hit a monumental 14 million on the fourteenth month after her first album was released, with The Gift, her second album in 2010, cementing her superstar status.

The momentum propelling Susan has yet to waiver. The third album released in 2011 'Someone To Watch Over Me' met with critical acclaim and acceptance from the music industry as well as record levels of demand that saw her venture to Australia, Asia, Europe and the USA.

Her list of awards, achievements and musical records is something most can only dream of- quite simply she continues to escalate into unchartered territory for not just singers of her ilk but Western singers, full stop.

To date the list of successes is in itself compelling reading. 500 Million YouTube hits and the most watched clip of 2009. Two Grammy nominations, 3 Guinness World Records, over 20 million albums sold, no.1's albums in 40 plus countries, more platinum album certifications than can be counted. Performing to half a billion people on the final of China's Got Talent, headline grabbing performances on the biggest tv shows around the globe, she has sung for the Pope, the Queen, ticked off her wish list of meeting musical and screen idols and smashed music records held by the Beatles that had remained unchanged since the 1960's achieving 2 simultaneous number one albums in the US and the UK in 12 months and in 2011 she became the first female artist in 65 years of the UK charts to have 3 albums go straight to number one in succession . Coupled with a successful autobiography, a musical about her life story, her first live tour and her television shows that annihilated ratings, Susan is an unstoppable force.

Susan Boyle crossed over into a world where seeing her share shelf space with Rihanna, Michael Buble, Gaga and Take That no longer looked like an anomaly. It made sense. The idea of Susan Boyle capitalising a substantial corner of the record-buying market for herself and defying the rapid downturn in the industry as a whole was her own edifying achievement.

Despite her magnificent success, Susan has retained her humility, the humility that touches so many of her ardent followers and fans. Her interest in chart positions and the financial benefits of success still are not a motivation. She remains loyal to her friends and family, shunning the celebrity world and all it's tempting trappings for the humble family home that she grew up in with her 9 siblings. A brief foray into the property market allowed Susan to purchase the now dubbed 'Posh House' which remains an office and wall space for the accolades and awards that she has collected over her career of four years.

The future of Susan's star remains bright. Her next venture is, her fifth studio album in four years, Home For Christmas, which sees her unique twist and impeccable vocals on favourite Christmas songs. The album features a duet with Elvis Presley. Susan is the first Brit to have been granted a duet to feature on their album by the Graceland Estate.

Her debut acting role will be seen globally in November 2013 in the Christmas Candle. Playing Eleanor Hopewell, the Church Wardens wife- the film, another first for Susan Boyle cements her versatility within the world of entertainment. Susan shows no sign of slowing down.

The remarkable story of Susan Boyle, proves time and time again that there is more to this woman than being a symbol for a moment of reflection. She entered our consciousness in a moment of surprise and continues to reignite that element of surprise with everything she does. The over riding determination to change her life for the better and make her mother proud is still the driving force behind everything that Susan does. She is not a fleeting icon, she has embedded herself in the history books with the raw combination of strength and fragility, beauty and solitude that is her singing voice with which she captured the world's imagination.

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