Alex Boyé

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Alex Boyé
Born 1970
London, England
Nationality English
Occupation Singer
Spouse(s) Julie
Website
alexboye.com

Alex Boyé (born 1970)[1] is a British-born Mormon singer and actor of Nigerian descent.

Early life[edit]

Boye was raised in a Tottenham council area that has been described as 'tough'. He converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) at age 16.[2]

Professional life[edit]

Boyé first performed in public while serving as a missionary for the LDS Church in Bristol, England.[1] After completing his mission, he became a backing dancer. Among those who he performed with in this role was George Michael.[3]

In 1995, he formed and became the lead singer of the European boy band "Awesome".[4] They performed at local dances and other small venues until 1996 when they won a vocal competition on Capital Radio, London's largest radio station. Universal Records of Europe signed Awesome to a five-album recording contract. Awesome released three singles off their first album, Rumors, which made top-10 charts all across Europe.[4]

The band sold 500,000 CDs and performed alongside artists that included Bryan Adams, George Michael, Simon and Garfunkel, MC Hammer, and many others. But Boyé disliked the lifestyle of a touring musician. "I had this dream of being a musician, but it was taking me down a road that led somewhere I didn't want to go," he said.[1] Boyé decided to leave the band in 1999 to pursue a solo career. He lost all of the material possessions he had gained as a member of Awesome when the record company took the apartment, the clothes, the phone and the money.[4] In 2000, Alex moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, to pursue a career in Christian music. He released his first religious album "The Love Goes On" in 2001.

When the lead actor portraying Frederick Douglass in the Rodgers Memorial Theatre's production of Frank Wildhorn's Civil War dropped out three weeks before the play opened, Boyé was recruited as a replacement. With no prior acting experience and no knowledge of the Civil War, he learned his lines and united the cast. Glenn McKay, the theatre's board president, had recruited black performers for the show from the Calvary Baptist choir and other area churches, but was having trouble melding them with his Davis County regulars. McKay said Boyé "saved the production."[1] Boyé followed that success with the role of Aminadab in the Lightstone Films production of David and Goliath.[5] In 2005, Boyé received an award from the LDS Booksellers Association for his album "Testimony".[6] Boyé also appeared in a 2008 episode of the BYU produced TV show The Writers' Block.[7]

Boyé was seeking a way to build an LDS audience when he met Craig Jessop, then conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, at an LDS music festival and he encouraged Boyé to audition for the choir. Boyé joined the 360-voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir in 2006 and, when accepted, became one of three black choir members. He also continued to pursue a solo career.[8] He had two solo parts in the choir's album, Come Thou Fount.[9]

In 2010, Boyé performed the single "Born to Be a Scout" at the National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. This song comes directly from the movie he wrote it for, "Scout Camp."[10]

Boyé was also signed to Deseret Book's Shadow Mountain label.[1] In August 2010, he was a featured soloist in a concert connected with the rededication of the Catholic church in St. George, Utah.[11]

In August 2011, Boyé was invited to take part in Glenn Beck's "Restoring Courage" rally in Jerusalem. Boyé was given a minor non-singing part, but at the last minute Beck asked him to sing to a group of individuals who had helped put on the rally. Beck was so impressed that he rearranged the next evening's program so that Boyé could close the rally.

Songs by Boyé have appeared in movie soundtracks including Charly (2002), The Dance, Baptists at Our Barbecue and Church Ball.[12][13] Boyé was featured in a video by The Piano Guys, released in January 2012 as Peponi, a cover of Coldplay's Paradise on YouTube.[14] In early 2013 he did a cover of the Lumineers "Ho Hey" that also generated a large number of YouTube hits.[15]

In early 2013, Boye signed with Wenrick-Birtcher Entertainment (Eddie Wenrick & Baron R. Birtcher) as his managers.

In March 2013, Boyé opened for a performance by Olivia Newton John at Royal Albert Hall.[3] A Documentary DVA entitled "Front Man" telling Boyé's story has also been produced.[16] In 2013 Boye released a song entitled "I Am Gold".[17]

In early 2014, he, along with the One Voice Children's Choir, created an Africanized Tribal Version of the popular song "Let It Go" from the movie Frozen.[18] The video immediately went viral, propelling Boye's combined YouTube views to over 100 Million.

Boye had a role in the 2014 film Saints and Soldiers: The Void. He also released a YouTube music video to promote the film.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Boyé's mother and father are Nigerian. While pregnant, Boyé's mother went to London while his father remained in Nigeria. He was born in England and returned to Nigeria to live with his father for the first few years of his life. His mother remarried and worked for the London Underground, cleaning tracks at night. Boyé was raised in the Tottenham Court neighbourhood. He spent much of his youth in foster homes with Caucasian parents.[1] As a teenager, he listened to the music of Motown, including artists Stevie Wonder, Kool and the Gang, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Jackie Wilson and Otis Redding. When he was 16, Boyé was working in a McDonald's in London when he was introduced to the LDS Church by a manager. He was baptised soon afterward, without his mother's knowledge.[1]

Boyé met his wife, Julie, in an LDS singles ward[1] and they were married in the Salt Lake Temple.[20][21] They have three children, Adanna, Zander[22][23] and India.[3] In 2009, Boye began raising money to buy a house for a local refugee family with sales of his single, "Crazy for You."[24]

On 22 February 2012, Boyé became a United States citizen in a ceremony at the Rose Wagner Theater in Salt Lake City.[25] Boyé was surprised when he was invited by the judge conducting the ceremony to sing The Star-Spangled Banner.[26]

A video showing Boyé is part of the "I'm A Mormon" campaign launched by the LDS Church in Britain in the spring of 2013.[27]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Baker, Celia R. (17 July 2009). "Former British pop sensation Alex Boyé finds his voice in Mormon Tabernacle Choir". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Joe Shute "British Mormons take on The Book of Mormon", The Telegraph April 10, 2013
  3. ^ a b c Shute, "British Mormons"
  4. ^ a b c Boyé, Alex (2004). "International Perspectives of a Black Member in a "White" Church". Proceedings of the 2004 FAIR Conference. Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research. Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Alex Boye at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ "Alex Boyé: "The Song of the Heart"". ldsgenesisgroup.org. Genesis Group. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  7. ^ IMDb entry for Boye
  8. ^ "About Alex Boyé". Alex Boyé. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. 
  9. ^ "Alex Boye in concert to spread message of hope". Deseret News. 6 May 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  10. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1288505/
  11. ^ Lloyd, R. Scott (4 August 2010). "Mutual respect at time of celebration". Church News. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  12. ^ Alex Boyé. "Video: "Hi, I'm Alex Boye I am a recording artist and I'm a Mormon"". shadowmountainrecords.com. Shadow Mountain Records. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  13. ^ "Video: "Hi, I'm Alex Boye I am a recording artist and I'm a Mormon"". Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  14. ^ Jensen, Emily W. (11 January 2012). "Alex Boyé sings Coldplay and the LDS Church on Twitter". Deseret News. 
  15. ^ Porter, Brooke (29 January 2013), "Mormon recording artist Alex Boyé to take new Luminneers' 'Ho Hey' cover out to sea (+video)", Deseret News 
  16. ^ Deseret Book link on Front Man
  17. ^ Deseret News, Sep. 15, 2013
  18. ^ Moore, Alison (16 February 2014), "Alex Boyé teams up with One Voice Children's Choir and Lexi Walker for Africanized 'Let It Go'", Deseret News 
  19. ^ Deseret News, article on Boye promoting film
  20. ^ "Famous Mormons in Music and Entertainment". 22 June 2012. 
  21. ^ McClure, Emily (28 February 2012). "Alex Boye's American dream comes true with U.S. citizenship". Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  22. ^ "Boyes Family Jewels". 
  23. ^ Deseret News, May 22, 2012
  24. ^ Sheahan, Nicole (11 December 2009). "Alex Boye: Being the Change — Inside Mormon Music". Deseret News. 
  25. ^ LDS Living article on Boye becoming a US citizen
  26. ^ "Singer now a citizen: Alex Boye performs at naturalization". Church News. 2 March 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  27. ^ LDS Church Press release on "I'm A Mormon" campaign

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Interviews