Susan Boyle to sing for Pope Benedict


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Scottish singing discovery Susan Boyle is likely to sing for Pope Benedict during his tour of England and Scotland in September. A church spokesman said on Thursday that negotiations were still underway, but Ms Boyle was expected to sing at the open-air Papal Mass in Glasgow's Bellahouston Park.

Susan became an international star when her performance of I Dreamed A Dream from the musical Les Miserables stunned the audience and judges on the Britain's Got Talent show last year.

Although she eventually finished runner-up in the competition, her first album, I Dreamed a Dream, went to No 1 in the charts immediately. In only six weeks of sales, it became the biggest selling album in the world for 2009, selling 8.3 million copies.

Boyle 49, was born in Blackburn, West Lothian, Scotland to Patrick Boyle, a miner, World War II veteran and singer at the Bishop's Blaize, and Bridget, a secretary, who were both immigrants from County Donegal, Ireland. She was the youngest of four brothers and six sisters.

As a child she was diagnosed as having learning difficulties. After leaving school with few qualifications, she worked as a trainee cook at West Lothian College for six months. Susan went on to take some singing lessons and performed at a few local venues. Before her performance on Britain's Got Talent, her main experience came from singing in her local church, Our Lady of Lourdes, in local choirs, and in karaoke performances at pubs around her village. She also sang at the Marian basilica at Knock, during parish pilgrimages.

In 1999 she recorded a track for a charity CD to commemorate the Millennium produced at a West Lothian school. Only 1,000 copies of the CD, Music for a Millennium Celebration, Sounds of West Lothian, were pressed, but it won rave reviews in the Scottish press.

In that year Susan used all her savings to pay for a professionally cut demo, copies of which she later sent to record companies, radio talent competitions, local and national TV.

Susan's mother always encouraged her singing. Her father died in the 1990s and Susan looked after her mother until she died in 2007 at the age of 91.

In spite of her international fame these days, Susan still lives in the family home, a four-bedroom council house, with her cat, Pebbles. She remains active as a volunteer in her parish, and visits elderly members of the congregation in their homes.