Ahead of her Edinburgh concert, Susan Boyle tells us about her perfect Christmas
From talent show hopeful to international singing star, Susan Boyle's rise has been truly meteoric. From that first Britain's Got Talent audition ten years ago, which has now been watched by countless millions, to jetting around the world and conquering America, the 58-year-old from Blackburn, West Lothian has done it all.
Despite her fame and fortune, the much-loved singer remains grounded - still lives in the same council house that she grew up in. As Christmas approaches, that means a lot of memories are flooding back. Here, ahead of her Ten Tour, which brings her to the Usher Hall in 2020, Susan shares them with us as she explains what Christmas means to her.
Perfect Christmas Day?
"My perfect Christmas Day is the same every year and I enjoy it immensely. I normally end up visiting a number of family and friends and having one too many Christmas dinners.
"I love spending time with my friends and their families, especially with young children around, that's what it’s all about, the children and watching the sheer joy on their faces when they are opening their Christmas gifts, or the utter horror at some gifts.
"I love being around children, there's no filter or ability to mask emotions, they just come out with it and to spend time with close knit families who love each other so much is what Christmas day is all about, also like a good game of charades in the afternoon to get the competitive juices flowing.
"I will also go to midnight mass at my local church as I do every year. It’s a wonderful candlelit service and it’s a real community occasion. Gives you a good dose of Christmas spirit."
What was Christmas like in your family home?
"With so many of us it was a bit like pandemonium. It was always a magical time in my family. At home my mother prepared a crib in our living room and a tree with tinsel branches and glowed with tiny coloured fairy lights. I would attend midnight mass with my parents.
"As a wee child I remember when I woke up my first thought was presents and I’d be straight out of bed. Our living room was filled with the scent of tangerines and overnight it had miraculously turned into Santa’s grotto.
"We each had our own wee pile of toys, they weren’t wrapped, My pile was always in the left hand corner by the window and when I was little I would have to squash past my brothers to get to them. It was all so exciting. It was always wonderful to spend the day together and go to mass."
How did you celebrate Christmas at School?
"Christmas time at school was also very special. We would make paper chains and listen to the best story of all, the story of Jesus’ birth.
"We sung Christmas carols together and I remember the first solo I sang was Child in the Manger to the tune of Morning has Broken. I was very nervous at the thought of singing on my own, so I hid behind the other children in the choir. The trembling stopped when I began to sing. As I finished, there was a moment of pure silence. Then I heard the clapping. It was the first time I felt good at something."
Best gift ever received?
"The best Christmas gift I can remember is when I was 13. It was the year my brother Gerard bought me my fist portable record player and two Donny Osmond LPs. It was the best Christmas present ever. It had two speeds so you could play LPs and singles. From that moment on all you could hear in our house was the Osmonds and me singing along."
Best gift you’ve ever given someone?
"The best gift I’ve given someone? Hmm... well I like to be generous and I like to give someone what they want, not just a pair of socks, which are useful but not exactly imaginative. In all seriousness though, it’s important to donate blood, to give someone a second chance when they most need it. That’s probably the most important gift I’ve given."
Favourite Christmas song
"My favourite Christmas song is White Christmas. Whenever I’m asked this question I giggle to myself as the first time I went to New York in 2009 to promote my album I Dreamed A Dream, I was doing an interview and they asked me what my favourite holiday song was. Well I didn’t know back then that holiday is what they call Christmas so I thought they meant a summer holiday song, so off the top of my head I just said teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini, well the confused looks on their faces and my team off camera on their knees crying with laughter. Luckily it was pre-recorded, so by the time we all finished howling with laughter, I got to do a second take."
Favourite Christmas food?
"That would have to be the full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Oh and a mince pie, I do like a good homemade mince pie."
One Christmas Wish?
"My one Christmas wish would be, peace to people throughout the world. We are living in challenging times right now and we need peace."
Susan Boyle The Ten Tour comes to the Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 25 March 2020, for further details & tickets visit https://www.susanboylemusic.com/tour/