I Dreamed a Dream (album)

Released 23 November 2009
Recorded 1999, July-September 2009
Genre Operatic pop, crossover, easy listening
Length 43:00
Label Syco, Columbia
Producer Steve Mac

I Dreamed a Dream is the debut studio album by Scottish singer Susan Boyle. It was released on 23 November 2009 by Syco Music in the United Kingdom, and by Columbia Records in the United States one day later. In the standard edition, 11 out of the 12 songs that appear on the album are cover songs, plus the original composition “Who I Was Born to Be”. It quickly became the world’s biggest selling album of 2009. The album has sold almost 14 million copies worldwide.

The album entered the UK album chart at number 1 and became the fastest-selling debut album ever in the UK, selling 411,820 copies, beating the record previously set by Spirit by Leona Lewis and outselling the rest of the top five albums combined during its first week on sale. The album remained at the top spot for four weeks, becoming the biggest selling album in the UK in 2009. In the U.S., I Dreamed a Dream debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, with 701,000 copies sold in its first week, breaking the record for the highest debut by a new solo female artist in the SoundScan era (post 1991). I Dreamed a Dream became the biggest opening sales week of 2009 in the U.S., beating out Eminem’s Relapse which sold 608,000. It was the second-biggest selling album of 2009 in the U.S., with 3.1 million copies sold, right behind Taylor Swift’s Fearless at 3.2 million copies. In only six weeks of sales, it became the biggest selling album in the world for 2009.

In August 2008, Boyle applied for an audition for the third series of Britain’s Got Talent (as contestant number 43212) and was accepted after a preliminary audition in Glasgow. When Boyle first appeared on the show at the city’s Clyde Auditorium, she said that she aspired to become a professional singer “as successful as Elaine Paige”. Boyle sang “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables in the first round of the third series of Britain’s Got Talent, which was watched by over 10 million viewers when it aired on 11 April 2009. Programme judge Amanda Holden remarked upon the audience’s initially cynical attitude, and the subsequent “biggest wake-up call ever” upon hearing her performance. This performance was widely reported and tens of millions of people viewed the video on YouTube. Boyle was “absolutely gobsmacked” by the strength of this reaction. After the appearance, Paige expressed interest in singing a duet with Boyle, calling her “a role model for everyone who has a dream”.

Despite being the clear favourite to win the final, she ended up in second place to Diversity; the UK TV audience was a record of 17.3 million viewers. However, Boyle was quickly signed to Simon Cowell’s record label and began the production of the album soon after the show. Cowell compiled a list of around 150 songs that had in part been accumulated from “various A&R guys” who sent them to him.

Track listing

No. Title Writer(s) Original artist Length

1. “Wild Horses” Mick Jagger, Keith Richards The Rolling Stones 4:53
2. “I Dreamed a Dream” Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, Herbert Kretzmer Patti LuPone, from Les Misérables 3:12
3. “Cry Me a River” Arthur Hamilton Julie London 2:41
4. “How Great Thou Art” Carl Boberg Christian hymn 3:12
5. “You’ll See” Madonna, David Foster Madonna 4:41
6. “Daydream Believer” John Stewart The Monkees 3:18
7. “Up to the Mountain” Patty Griffin Patty Griffin 3:29
8. “Amazing Grace” John Newton Christian hymn 3:33
9. “Who I Was Born to Be” Audra Mae, Mark Linn-Baker, Johan Fransson, Tobias Lundgren, Tim Larsson Original composition 4:08
10. “Proud” Steve Mac, Wayne Hector, Andy Hill The cast of Britannia High 3:20
11. “The End of the World” Arthur Kent, Sylvia Dee Skeeter Davis 3:13
12. “Silent Night” Josef Mohr, Franz Xaver Gruber Christian Christmas hymn 2:59


Production and recording

Produced and Arranged by Steve Mac.
Engineered by Chris Laws & Dann Pursey.
Pro Tools: Chris Laws.
Mixed by Ren Swan.
Recorded and Mixed at Rokstone Studios, London.
String Arrangements by Dave Arch.
Strings Recorded at Air Studios, London by Geoff Foster, Chris Barrett & Steve Orchard.
Assisted by Nick Carvonaro and Fiona Cruickshank.
String Leader: Rolf Wilson.
Strings contracted by: Isobel Griffiths.
Copyist: John Baker.
Choir: LJ Singers led by Lawrence Johnson. Choir Recorded at Sphere Studios & Rokstone Studios.
Sphere session assisted by Ronan Phelan.
Album Coordinator for Steve Mac: Nicki L’Amy.
Instruments and vocals

Piano: Dave Arch & Steve Mac.
Hammond Organ: Dave Arch.
Vibes on ‘Cry Me A River’: Franc Ricotti.
Drums: Chris Laws except ‘Cry Me A River’: Ralph Salmins
Guitars: John Parricelli.
Bass on ‘Who I Was Born To Be’: Steve Pearce.
All Keyboard and Synths: Steve Mac.
Background Vocals: Mae McKenna.