Like millions of people around the world, including Simon Cowell, I was stunned and inspired by Susan Boyle's performance on Britain's Got Talent. She talks like my Scottish grandmother and sings like an angel.
Now we can hear an earlier, jazzier Boyle. According to The Daily Record, a Scottish newspaper, she sang this version of "Cry Me a River" for a charity CD in 1999. The Daily Record also reports that Menagerie Entertainment, an American company run by a Scot, has offered her a recording contract in the United States. She said it's too early for that and she wants to take "baby steps."
I've often wondered what the world was like for artists -- actors, dancers, singers, writers, directors -- before the 20th century brought movies, radio, and television. Each town or village had their own performing artists or ones who traveled from nearby towns. Many more people found acclaim even if only in a smaller realm. But mass entertainment makes huge celebrities of a few and relegates many others, often just as talented, to lesser notice.
Susan Boyle, and Paul Potts before her in the 2006 Britain's Got Talent, remind us that talented people are everywhere. And I hope they inspire many of us to take the plunge and put ourselves out there with whatever talents we've hidden or let wither.
When I win the Pulitzer Prize and later the Nobel Prize for Literature, I'll thank Susan Boyle in my acceptance speeches.
Until her first album comes out, which Cowell has already predicted will be number one in America, we can enjoy this earlier recording.
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