I Dreamed a Dream” is a global sensation. It has become the fastest-selling debut in British history, according to the Official UK Charts Company, and it reached No. 1 in Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand. According to Columbia it has sold three million copies around the world. (NYTimes 12/3/09)
So what does the success of this previously “frumpy unknown” (NYTimes) say to Folk fans? The vast majority of folk artists have very similar characterstics to Susan Boyle: an earthy unpretentiousness, a simple lifestyle, little concern for fashion. And to a significant degree, many folk singers also share a remarkable gift: a powerful and beautiful voice. And to top off all of that, most folk musicians also write their own compelling lyrics.
The NY Times article pointed out that “as a woman of modest and unfashionable means…she has what most…sensations lack: a compelling story.” And here is where I took the most encouragement regarding folk music: Folk artists almost universally have compelling stories. They are ordinary people with extraordinary talents, and when they get noticed, it’s because of those talents, not because of slick, expensive ad campaigns.
On the Folk Show, we hosts of the program love bringing these artists to your attention!