Alex Boyé

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Alex Boye
Born (1970-08-16) August 16, 1970 (age 48)
London, England, UK
Nationality UK/USA
Spouse(s)
Julie Boyé (m. 2007)
Children 6
Website alexboye.com

Alex Boyé (born August 16, 1970)[1] is a British-American singer and actor. He was named the "2017 Rising Artist of the Year" in a contest sponsored by Pepsi and Hard Rock Cafe.[2]

Early life[edit]

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.

Boyé was raised in the Tottenham neighborhood that has been described as "tough". He spent much of his youth in foster homes with Caucasian parents.[1]

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.[1]

Career[edit]

The 1990s[edit]

After completing his mission, Boyé became a backup dancer, including for George Michael.[3]

In 1995, he formed and became the lead singer of Awesome, a European boy band.[4]

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.[4]

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.[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 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’.[5] 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.[6]

The 2000s[edit]

In 2000, Boyé moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, to pursue a career in Mormon music. He released his first religious album The Love Goes On in 2001.[citation needed]

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.[7] In 2005, Boyé received an award from the LDS Booksellers Association for his album Testimony.[8] Boyé also appeared in a 2008 episode of the BYU produced TV show The Writers' Block.[9]

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.[10] He had two solo parts in the choir's album Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.[11]

The 2010s[edit]

In 2010, Boyé performed the single, "Born to Be a Scout", at the National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia.[12] Boyé was signed to Deseret Book's Shadow Mountain label.[1] In August 2010, he was a featured soloist in a concert connected at the re-dedication of a Catholic church in St. George, Utah.[13]

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.[citation needed]

Songs by Boyé have appeared in movie soundtracks including Charly (2002), The Dance, Baptists at Our Barbecue and Church Ball.[14][15]

Boyé was featured in a video by The Piano Guys, released in January 2012 as "Peponi", a cover of Coldplay's "Paradise" on YouTube.[16] In early 2013 he did a cover of the Lumineers' "Ho Hey" that also generated a large number of YouTube hits.[17]

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.[3] A documentary DVD entitled Front Man telling Boyé's story has also been produced.[18] In 2013, Boye released a song entitled "I Am Gold".[19]

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.[20] 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.[21] He also released his Lemonade video on You Tube with more than 1.7 million views[22]

Boyé had a role in the 2014 film Saints and Soldiers: The Void. He also released a YouTube music video to promote the film.[23] He attained some acclaim for his cover of Taylor Swift's song "Shake It Off",[24] 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".[25]

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.[26]

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.[27]

In early 2016 Boye and the BYU Men's Chorus released a version of Christopher Tin's "Baba Yetu" (Our Father in Swahili).[28]

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.[citation needed]

Boyé was selected as the "Grand Prize Winner" of the Hard Rock Rising 2017 Battle of the Bands.[29] That same year, Boyé performed as the guest artist for the 2017 Mormon Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Concert, performing a mix of originals and covers.[30]

In September 2018, Boyé released single "Bend Not Break", produced by Randy Jackson (American Idol).

Personal life[edit]

Boyé met his wife, Julie, in an LDS singles ward[1] and they were married in the Salt Lake Temple on 6 January 2007.[31][32] As of June 2017, they are the parents of six children.[33] 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.[34]

In 2009, Boyé began raising money to buy a house for a local refugee family with sales of his single, "Crazy for You."[35]

On 22 February 2012, Boyé became a United States citizen in a ceremony at the Rose Wagner Theater in Salt Lake City.[36] He was surprised when he was invited by the judge conducting the ceremony to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner".[37]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Testimony (2004)
  • Spirit (2007)
  • Be Still, My Soul: Classic Hymns & Folk Songs (2009)
  • Africanized (2014)
  • African Gospel Inspirations (2016)

EPs[edit]

  • Hope for Israel (2011)
  • We All Bleed the Same (2016)
  • Africanized Christmas (2016)

Singles[edit]

Year Song(s) Artist Album Role
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

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
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

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Baker, Celia R. (17 July 2009). "Former British pop sensation Alex Boyé finds his voice in Mormon Tabernacle Choir". Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on 3 May 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  2. ^ KSL.com. "Alex Boyé to replace Christopher Jackson in Mormon Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Day concert". KSL.com. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b 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. ^ Music.mandy.com https://music.mandy.com/uk/band/1330/soul-saints. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ universe.byu.edu http://universe.byu.edu/2000/02/17/soul-saints-give-youth-something-to-sing-about/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Alex Boye on IMDb
  8. ^ "Alex Boyé: "The Song of the Heart"". ldsgenesisgroup.org. Genesis Group. Archived from the original on 26 March 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  9. ^ Profile, IMDb.com; accessed 15 June 2016.
  10. ^ "About Alex Boyé". Alex Boyé. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011.
  11. ^ "Alex Boye in concert to spread message of hope". Deseret News. 6 May 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  12. ^ Scout Camp (film details), imdb.com; accessed 15 June 2016.
  13. ^ Lloyd, R. Scott (4 August 2010). "Mutual respect at time of celebration". Church News. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  14. ^ "Alex Boyé". shadowmountainrecords.com. Shadow Mountain Records. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  15. ^ "Video: 'Hi, I'm Alex Boye I am a recording artist and I'm a Mormon'". Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  16. ^ Jensen, Emily W. (11 January 2012). "Alex Boyé sings Coldplay and the LDS Church on Twitter". Deseret News.
  17. ^ Porter, Brooke (29 January 2013), "Mormon recording artist Alex Boyé to take new Lumineers' "Ho Hey" cover out to sea (+ video)", Deseret News
  18. ^ "Deseret Book link on Front Man". Archived from the original on 14 March 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  19. ^ Deseret News, 15 September 2013.
  20. ^ 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
  21. ^ Petersen, Sarah (31 December 2014), "Alex Boye's 'Let It Go' and Piano Guys make YouTube's "Best Pop Covers of 2014"", Deseret News
  22. ^ You tube
  23. ^ Petersen, Sarah (2 August 2014), "The Clean Cut: Alex Boye releases "Danny Boy" music video for Saints and Soldiers film", Deseret News
  24. ^ Petersen, Sarah (11 November 2014), "The Clean Cut: Alex Boye releases cover of Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off'", Deseret News, retrieved 15 June 2016
  25. ^ Petersen, Sarah (16 December 2014), "The Clean Cut: Alex Boye releases original Christmas song", Deseret News, retrieved 15 June 2016
  26. ^ Boyé awarded Governor's Mansion Artist Award, mormontabernaclechoir.org; accessed 15 June 2016.
  27. ^ Saturday's Warrior details, DeseretNews.com; accessed 15 June 2016.
  28. ^ "Baba Yetu", DeseretNews.com; accessed 15 June 2016.
  29. ^ "Hard Rock Rising 2017 - Announcing Our Winners". Hardrockrising.com. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  30. ^ https://www.rexburgstandardjournal.com/entertainment/mormon-tabernacle-choir-announces-change-in-guest-artist-for-pioneer/article_49eb3438-626d-11e7-846b-73d9a77c43a1.html
  31. ^ "Famous Mormons in Music and Entertainment". 22 June 2012. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013.
  32. ^ McClure, Emily (28 February 2012). "Alex Boye's American dream comes true with U.S. citizenship". Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  33. ^ Boyé receives worldwide feedback from Book of Mormon challenge, DeseretNews.com, 22 May 2012.
  34. ^ LDS Church Press release on "I'm A Mormon" campaign, mormonnewsroom.org.uk; accessed 15 June 2016.
  35. ^ Sheahan, Nicole (11 December 2009). "Alex Boye: Being the Change — Inside Mormon Music". Deseret News. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  36. ^ LDS Living article on Boye becoming a US citizen, ldsliving.com; accessed 15 June 2016.
  37. ^ "Singer now a citizen: Alex Boye performs at naturalization". Church News. 2 March 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2012.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Interviews