Susan Boyle has experienced an overnight sensation. One minute prior to her performance, people were laughing, rolling their eyes, and snickering to each other. But she kept her poise, and in turn has generated over 30,000,000 Youtube hits, is currently a Trending Twitter topic throughout the whole week, and appearances on Larry King, News and more.
So what created Susan Boyle’s fame?
1.) The economy. People are looking for hope, and in a time of recession, good stories rule.
2.) The Story. She’s your next-door neighbor. Not everyone relates to Madonna or Puff Daddy, but Susan Boyle relates to every single person: the musician, the architect, the shoe salesman, the fashion designer, etc. Why? Because there is a part of her in every one of us. She’s never been kissed, lives alone with her cat, is caring for her ill mother, unemployed, unknown, chasing a dream, laughed at, and ultimately conquered the naysayers.
3.) Her name. Its easy to remember. Tay Zonday of Chocolate Rain is also easy to remember. In fact, that’s not his real name, he made it up so to have a memorable name – it worked. The same goes for Movies, videogames (Zelda, Super Mario Bros.) and brands like Coke, Pepsi, Sony, WaWa, and McDonalds. In contrast, Dexys Midnight Runners of “Come on Eileen” fame are a difficult name for example. In this age, people are brands too – and an easy name creates and easy road to memory.
4.) Her look. She’s a breathe of fresh air. She’s not a Barbie Doll, or a Miley Cyrus knockoff. She doesn’t wear tight leather pants or sport a $100,000 bracelet. In this DIY world, authenticity is the new superstar. We see it with bands who record in their basement, painters who sell their works online, and moviemakers who budget JUST enough to release their films. Today people want to connect, relate, and identify.
5.) The internet. If this performance happened 10 years ago, it would have still spread, but world of mouth today is so much more impressionable and easily accessed. We no longer email our 5 friends – we Twitter out to our 1,000 followers. Viral marketing is at its peak – between Facebook status updates, Tumblr blogs, Twitter, Ustream, Digg, and Youtube – Susan Boyle took over more than she could have even 5 years ago.
6.) The Stage. She perhaps was set up to fail in front of the biggest musical stage in the world – “American Idol‘s cousin “Britain’s Got Talent“. If a tree falls and no one hears it, does it make a sound? The Answer: No. Things only count if people are exposed to it. A music performance in my basement could be magical, but if there is no audience, then it never happened.
7.) The Crowd. They were against her. Even the judges Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan, and Amanda Holden were unsure, too. Just like David vs. Goliath, Barack Obama’s historical underdog race, Vincent Papale‘s leap of faith, and Jackie Robinson’s drive to greatness – these stories make us believe, and these underdogs lift us up with their heads held high.
8.) The song choice. In a world of people constantly chasing the dream, it was quite fitting that Susan Boyle sang Les Miserables “I Dreamed the Dream”. The lyrics are touching, the orchestration is masterful, and the melody is memorable – all while showing her strong voice in the process.
Truth is, call it ‘Psychology’ or whatever you want – It truly was the perfect storm. To have the worst expectations from a first impression, and then to hear one of the most beautiful voices – the effect was so extreme that she has became a sensation, and rightfully so. She had a dream, and dreams can come true.