Susan Boyle talks celebrity and her new album, Hope

In person, Susan Boyle is about as sweet and down to Earth as you imagine she’d be. She’s polite, modest about her success, and even giggles innocently at the mention her new boyfriend. Just don’t mistake her sweetness for weakness.

For a person who went from church volunteer to overnight best-selling singing sensation at age 48 following a breathtaking performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” on a 2009 edition of the reality show Britain’s Got Talent, she’s shrewd as a show-business vet when it comes to managing her celebrity and the media.

“I met him in America, and that’s all you’re knowing because it’s private,” she says through a laughs when I ask her about her new beau. I prod further, hoping to glean some further information (for the record we know he’s a doctor Boyle met during a stop in Miami). I ask about the difficult balance of maintaining privacy in this day and age.

“It’s a good balance. I like to keep people guessing,” she replies, again with the laugh of someone playing (and winning) a game of catch-me-if-you-can. “It keeps people interested… You have to do that. That’s the psychology.”

In a celebrity culture where sharing the minutiae of your personal life on social media has become the norm, Boyle stands among the few who want to maintain an air of mystery.

It’s no surprise, as Boyle is something of the anti-celebrity. It’s true that her reality show success was a thoroughly modern path to fame, but at heart she’s a woman who still lives in her childhood home in Scotland, and who, for the most part, insists on keeping her personal life just that – personal.

Instead, she and I talked about her career and new album, Hope, which features covers of classics that range from John Lennon’s “Imagine” to Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” to Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.”

Interviewing a singer about their music? What a concept.

(See next page for interview)

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