Susan Boyle and “I Dreamed a Dream” – Antidote For the Blues and Beyond

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I’m usually an upbeat person. Sometimes, though, when I’m tired or have a jam-packed calendar, I feel blue. When this happens I listen to Susan Boyle sing “I Dreamed a Dream.” It’s cheap therapy and every time I hear the song I get chills. My thinking: If a shy Scottish woman from a small village can dream, then I can too.

Some viewers have criticized Boyle’s second appearance on Britain’s Got Talent. Euan Ferguson writes about her talent in a “Guardian” newspaper article, “How Susan’s Song Took on a Life of it’s Own.” As Ferguson notes, “Never in our fast-changing history, until Susan Boyle, have we managed to quite so swiftly canonize and then pillory another human being . . .”

The media joined in on the criticism, Ferguson continues, and he thinks Brits “need to shout a little less, and get out a little more.”

“Washington Post” Staff Writer Jose Antonio Vargas has also written about Boyle’s talent. In her article, “How a Villager Became the Queen of All Media,” he says Boyle dominated YouTube, MySpace, and Wikipedia because “the sleepless Internet is her round-the-clock stage.” Vargas thinks some viewers are attracted by the “one-act-play” quality of the YouTube video.

I listen to Boyle’s rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” when I’m discouraged and encouraged. Apparently I’m not alone. Maria Puente describes Boyle’s attraction in a “USA Today” article, “Why Susan Boyle Inspires Us: A Story Like a ‘Disney Movie.'” She describes Boyle as “cable catnip” for the English-speaking media. Puente cites her reasons for Boyle’s global popularity: vindication, surprise, guilt, psychology, hope, distraction, empowerment, authenticity, and spiritual solace.

All of these reasons are valid. It seems to me, however, that we’re over-analysing Boyle’s performance. She dominated the world media for one reason: The woman can sing. Her voice is clear, her pitch, as the British would say, is “spot on,” her range is wide, and her voice is strong. Boyle made a smart decision when she chose to sing “I Dreamed a Dream” because it showcased her singing talent.

A while ago, Rosalynn Carter made an astute comment about using talent. “You have confidence in your ability,” she said, “and then be be tough enough to follow through.” Her comment applies to Boyle. Since childhood, Boyle knew she could sing. She sang in local pubs, practiced in front of her cat, and followed through by entering the contest. A bout of the jitters, public criticism, and a make-over haven’t stopped Boyle from singing.

Are you feeling blue? Do you need a break? Are you close to reaching a goal? Have you reached your goals and set new ones? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I think you will benefit from listening to Susan Boyle sing “I Dreamed a Dream.” Sing along with her, if you wish, and celebrate her talent and yours.

Copyright 2009 by Harriet Hodgson

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