Susan Boyle Tells Oprah She Was 'Let Loose' By Star-Making Audition

'People started recognizing me in the street' after audition, singer says.

When [artist id="3180740"]Susan Boyle[/artist] stopped by "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on Tuesday (January 19), the humble "Britain's Got Talent" runner-up discussed her meteoric rise to fame over the past year, in which she quickly went from YouTube sensation to a genuine chart-topping singer whose debut album, I Dreamed a Dream, has sold more than 8 million albums since its November release. Not surprisingly, she admits that her life is much different that the one she led pre-fame.

"That's when I was let loose," she joked to Oprah about her January 20, 2009, audition for the reality-TV competition. "Before the audition my life was kind of mundane routine like everyone else's. After the audition, people started recognizing me in the street [and I was] being seen as a professional singer.

"It's astounding and it's very humbling," she said later about her chart-topping success. "A lot of people take the time and trouble to spend their money on an album on an unknown artist, they don't know what they're going to get for the money."

As for her makeover since the video first emerged of the Scottish native, she approves of it. She thinks she looks a bit more polished. "It's absolutely nice," she said. "This is more professional, more polished — wouldn't you agree?"

On the show she sang "Who I Was Born to Be," and she said the song serves as a reminder to everyone to never let go of their aspirations. "It serves as sort of an example to other people with the same kinds of dreams," she said. "So dreams can come true."

She also touched on her public breakdown in the spring of 2009 after she lost "Britain's Got Talent" and the media was following her every move. "I hadn't eaten for about a week, I hadn't slept — the feeling was one of extreme exhaustion," she said. "I was very exhausted. It's a chapter of my life that's over with now."

Although Boyle's talent is all her own, she credits her mother's presence for giving her the strength to seek out her dream.

"She's right here in this room. She would have been really proud," she said of her late mother. "I do feel there is a lingering presence — and that person is my mother."