She's 48, she was discovered on a reality show and, having overcome insults about her appearance, she's on the verge of releasing her debut CD.
But the story of Susan Boyle goes beyond what viewers saw on Britain's Got Talent.
The singer, who was born with a learning disability after being starved of oxygen as a baby, opened up to Great Britain's The Daily Mirror about her abusive past this week.
“You’re looking at someone who would get the belt every day," she said. “There was discipline for the sake of discipline back then. But it’s all very different now. I think teachers are taught to understand children with learning disabilities a lot better.”
Boyle added that students "used to knock me about a bit and try to make me cry."
Susan's father died in the 90s. Her mom passed away in 2007. How has she thrived in the face of all these obstacles? Through a powerful belief in herself and her talent.
“I have my faith, which is the backbone of who I am... I had a slight disability, but rather than let that rule my life I had to find my abilities and make the most of them instead.”
She's certainly done so. Boyle's album will be released on Monday. It faces stiff competition from albums from Adam Lambert, Rihanna and John Mayer. But Susan has dealt with more pressing problems in the past.
“This feels like a good way of making up for that – a very, very enjoyable way of making up for it," she said of the CD, which she describes as "a reflection of my whole life.”
Will you buy Boyle's album?