August 16, 1970|
London, England, UK
Julie Boyé (m. 2007)
Boyé was born in London, England on August 16, 1970 to Nigerian parents. While pregnant, Boyé's mother went to London while his father remained in Nigeria. By his own account, Boyé never knew his father. His mother remarried and worked for London Underground, cleaning tracks at night. One day his mother said she was going to Nigeria for a couple of weeks for a visit and did not come back for eight years.
As a teenager, he listened to and was influenced by Motown artists, including Stevie Wonder, Kool and the Gang, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Nat King Cole, Jackie Wilson and Otis Redding. At the age of 16, Boyé was working in a McDonald's in London when he was introduced to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) by a manager. He was baptized soon afterward. Boyé first performed in public while serving as a missionary for the LDS Church in Bristol, England.
Awesome performed at local dances and other small venues until 1996 when they won a vocal competition on Capital Radio, London's largest radio station. Subsequently, 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.
The band sold 500,000 albums 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. 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.
In 1999, Boyé joined two other artists in London to discuss recording a demo tape of church hymns with a pop/R&B spin. One of the artists sat at the piano and hit upon a jazz sound for the hymn "Count Your Many Blessings" which became the signature song for the group. That evening they began to improvise church hymns and eventually created ‘Soul Saints’. Within a couple of weeks, the group had started recording the songs and gave performances at Hyde Park, London before going on to tour in Utah. Wayne Scholes was the group’s manager and Excel Records acted as a consultant while Soul Saints were in the United States.
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." Boyé followed that success with the role of Aminadab in the Lightstone Films production of David and Goliath. In 2005, Boyé received an award from the LDS Booksellers Association for his album Testimony. Boyé also appeared in a 2008 episode of the BYU produced TV show The Writers' Block.
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. He had two solo parts in the choir's album Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.
In 2010, Boyé performed the single, "Born to Be a Scout", at the National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. Boyé was signed to Deseret Book's Shadow Mountain label. In August 2010, he was a featured soloist in a concert connected at the re-dedication of a Catholic church in St. George, Utah.
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 he could close the rally.
Boyé was featured in a video by The Piano Guys, released in January 2012 as "Peponi", a cover of Coldplay's "Paradise" on YouTube. In early 2013 he did a cover of the Lumineers' "Ho Hey" that also generated a large number of YouTube hits.
In early 2013, Boyé 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 the Royal Albert Hall. A documentary DVD entitled Front Man telling Boyé's story has also been produced. In 2013, Boye released a song entitled "I Am Gold".
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. The video went viral, propelling Boyé's combined YouTube views to over 100 million. It was selected as YouTube's best pop cover of 2014. He also released his Lemonade video on You Tube with more than 1.7 million views
Boyé had a role in the 2014 film Saints and Soldiers: The Void. He also released a YouTube music video to promote the film. He attained some acclaim for his cover of Taylor Swift's song "Shake It Off", with over 600,000 views, as of January 1, 2015.
In December 2014, Boyé released an original Christmas song and YouTube video entitled "Newborn – Wise Men Still Seek Him".
In January 2015, Boyé released an Africanised version of "Circle of Life", with proceeds from the sale going to the koinsforkenya mission. In 2015, Boyé was awarded the Governor's Mansion Artist Award.
In June 2015, Boyé and his band, Changing Lanes Experience, performed their version of Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" on the 10th season of America's Got Talent. After receiving great comments from the judges, they advanced into the next round to perform on Judge Cuts Week. In August 2015, he and the band were eliminated on Judge Cuts Week 4 after performing their version of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk".
In September 2015, Boye was announced to be cast as The Heavenly Guide in the remake of the film Saturday's Warrior. It was released in Utah theaters on April 1, 2016 before expanding it to various other states in the following weeks and months.
Boyé appeared in a duet with Marie Osmond on her album Music Is Medicine that was released on 15 April 2016. The video for the song "Then There's You" was released on the video streaming site Vevo on March 27, 2016 and features the duo performing in a Las Vegas backdrop at Caesars Palace Hotel and the Paris Hotel. In September 2016, it was announced that Boyé would be cast as Pastor Aiken in Drop Off, a family film which premiered on DVD by October 2016.
Boyé was selected as the "Grand Prize Winner" of the Hard Rock Rising 2017 Battle of the Bands. That same year, Boyé performed as the guest artist for the 2017 Mormon Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Concert, performing a mix of originals and covers.
In September 2018, Boyé released single "Bend Not Break", produced by Randy Jackson (American Idol).
Boyé met his wife, Julie, in an LDS singles ward and they were married in the Salt Lake Temple on 6 January 2007. As of June 2017, they are the parents of six children. 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.
In 2009, Boyé began raising money to buy a house for a local refugee family with sales of his single, "Crazy for You."
On 22 February 2012, Boyé became a United States citizen in a ceremony at the Rose Wagner Theater in Salt Lake City. He was surprised when he was invited by the judge conducting the ceremony to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner".
- Testimony (2004)
- Spirit (2007)
- Be Still, My Soul: Classic Hymns & Folk Songs (2009)
- Africanized (2014)
- African Gospel Inspirations (2016)
- Hope for Israel (2011)
- We All Bleed the Same (2016)
- Africanized Christmas (2016)
|2012||"Peponi (Paradise)"||The Piano Guys||The Piano Guys||Featured Artist|
|2015||"Revelation"||Alan Hewitt & One Nation||Evolution||Featured Artist|
|2016||"Then There's You"||Marie Osmond||Music Is Medicine||Featured Artist|
|2004||3.2 Percent (TV Series)||Himself||1 episode|
|2005||David and Goliath||Abinidab||Movie|
|2008||The Writers' Block (TV Series)||Joshua||1 episode|
|2012||Front Man: The Alex Boye Story||Himself||Documentary|
|Restoring Love||Himself/Singer||TV movie|
|2014||The Hour of Power||Himself/Musical Guest||1 episode|
|Saints and Soldiers: The Void||Private Perry||Movie|
|2016||Saturday's Warrior||The Heavenly Guide||Movie|
|Drop Off||Pastor Aiken||Movie|
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