Susan Boyle at Edinburgh's Usher Hall - "I got chased into a loo once..." Ahead of her new tour, the global sensation reflects on 10 years in the spotlight

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SUSAN BOYLE cuts a diminutive figure when framed against the grandeur of Edinburgh's Usher Hall, one of the greatest concert halls in the world.

As she edges tentatively towards the edge of the stage for a photo-shoot to promote her upcoming tour, her smile hides the nerves.

Having spent the morning promoting the tour, which opens at the Lothian Road venue on Sunday 1 March, she has not long arrived for an afternoon of interviews and moments before stepping onto the stage, confided, "I'm excited right now and a bit nervous actually. I have never sung here before so it will be a whole new experience for me. It'll be quite something stepping onto that stage. I'll have to up my market now. Where do you go from here?"

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The nerves, she insists, are a good thing, "It's good nerves, I channel them into whatever I'm doing and try to do good at it. I've been promoting the concerts today, doing a bit of everything, and that has helped build up my excitement."

Susan Boyle at the Usher HallSusan Boyle at the Usher Hall
Susan Boyle at the Usher Hall

Susan's The Ten Tour, as the title suggests, celebrates the Britain's Got Talent hopeful turned global superstar's ten years in the spotlight, a decade in which the 58-year-old went from singing her local Blackburn karaoke to performing for the Pope and in front of millions on TV worldwide.

"It all feels a bit surreal," she admits, "When big things happen, they're what I call my 'pinch you' moments and there have been quite a few 'pinch you' moments over the last ten years."

Appearing on the ITV talent show led to further appearances on its US counterpart, America's Got Talent, and brought Susan daily recognition, however, despite all the attention she still comes across as naturally shy. That said, she enjoys the fame... most of the time, anyway.

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"I got chased into a loo once," she exclaims, "So sometimes it's okay, sometimes it's not. Then you get the funny ones who come up to you and say, 'You're Susan Boyle!', and I say, 'Well, that's what it said last time I looked at my birth certificate,' but on the whole the public tend to be protective of me."

Susan Boyle at the Usher HallSusan Boyle at the Usher Hall
Susan Boyle at the Usher Hall

Looking back to her life before that life-changing audition for Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan, her response when asked if she could ever have imagined the last ten years back when the highlight of her week was singing at her local karaoke is typically candid.

"I had some audiences there, I can tell you - 'Get aff, yer rotten!'," she jokes with self-deprecation, before adding, "No, actually, they were very kind to me. Maybe they felt sorry for me, I don't know, but it's a different ball game at this level and I've been very lucky.

"If you told me then, where I'd be now, I would have said, 'Maybe later, but not now'. I was pretty chronic when I began but I could always imagine myself doing it. I feel more prepared now. It's a bit like building blocks, you have to gradually build up over the years and I think I'm ready for this one now."

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The desire to sing came naturally to Susan, who says, "Even as a baby I used to keep my mum and dad up with my bawling, always had a good set of lungs on me.".

Susan Boyle at the Usher HallSusan Boyle at the Usher Hall
Susan Boyle at the Usher Hall

Today, as the publicity machine for her tour ramps up, Susan is accompanied by her team - her PA, a hair and make-up stylist and a press manager are all present. It's a team effort she says. It might be Blackburn's most famous daughter you see on stage, but she insists that on the tour, they are all one big family.

"I love the atmosphere of being on tour. I love the fact that we are all together as a team, we all gel," she says. "Behind the scenes the team are doing publicity, on the night there's a team doing the lighting, the sound, then there's the band, it doesn't just happen itself. If it wasn't for the crew and all the team we just wouldn't have a show."

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"I'll have a go," she quips. "I've only had two driving lessons so far, from my PA here..."

"And I'm still alive..." her PA chips in.

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"I think she's still up for it..." Susan adds, throwing a questioning glance towards the PA who confirms, "Susan will be back on the road again this year, I guarantee it."

"Just don't tell the police," chips in the singer, laughing again.

The Ten Tour will find her joined on stage by special guests including fellow BGT alumni Jai McDowell. "I've always wanted to work with Jai, so this is my chance and we'll be singing All I Ask Of You together," she reveals, teasing, "and there might be a wee surprise or two. We also have Chris Judge and the Soul Nation Choir joining us."

"In a recording studio you are in a bubble, you can show off when you have a live band and this tour will be the full package," she promises. "I can't wait. When you are up there, you are in another sort of bubble, one where you get the reaction of the audience as well. You connect, and that is something that has to be learned; you have to be able to connect with the song. If you can't connect with the song, you can't connect with the people."

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The concerts will find her performing a "50/50 mix of album songs and some new ones" including River Deep Mountain High, which the singer describes as "a good raunchy number that gets people up and dancing."

"I'll be singing a couple more uptempo numbers as well for the same reason," she adds, reflecting, "Up here, the audiences are very good to me, they're very warm and they're very nice. Scottish people put me where I am, so these concerts are a thank you to them for all their support."

So just how excited is she for the opening concert and the start of her ground-breaking tour, "On a scale of 1 to 10, maybe 21," she laughs, adding in her own understated way, "Just come along and see what you think."

Susan Boyle: The Ten Tour, usher Hall, Lothian Road, Sunday 1 March, 7.30pm, £35.75-£60.50, http://www.usherhall.co.uk/