Neal E. Boyd

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Neal E. Boyd
Neal Boyd 08-10-08.jpg
Neal E. Boyd signing an autograph after performing at St. John Lutheran Church-Ellisville, Missouri, U.S.
Background information
Birth nameNeal Evans Boyd
Born(1975-11-18)November 18, 1975
Sikeston, Missouri, U.S.
DiedJune 10, 2018(2018-06-10) (aged 42)
Sikeston, Missouri, U.S.
GenresOperatic pop
Years active2008–2018
LabelsDecca (2009–2018)

Neal Evans Boyd (November 18, 1975 – June 10, 2018)[1] was an American pop opera singer. He was best known as being the winner of the third season of America's Got Talent.

Early life[edit]

Boyd grew up in Sikeston, Missouri, his father of African American descent, and a European mother. Boyd and his brother were raised solely by their mother, and, subsequently, endured poverty conditions.[2] He discovered operatic music in junior high school when his older brother was doing a school project involving classical music and brought home a CD of the Three Tenors. Boyd was so enthralled by the passion and skill of the famous trio that he started learning to sing in Luciano Pavarotti's and Plácido Domingo's operatic styles. Boyd graduated from Sikeston High School in May 1994, where he was senior class president.[3][4]

He earned a bachelor's degree in speech communications from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri (May 2001), a bachelor's degree in music from the University of Missouri School of Music in Columbia, Missouri (May 2001)[4] and a master's degree in management from the online University of Phoenix.[5][6] Boyd was president of the Student Senate at Southeast Missouri State University,[7] where he was also a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity.[8] While in college, Boyd interned at the capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri.[9]

He was the winner of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Vocal Collegiate Championship in 2000 while in the voice studio of Professor Ann Harrell of University of Missouri. This national win led to his solo debut at New York City's Carnegie Hall in March 2001.[citation needed]

After teaching music for the 2001–2002 school year in his hometown of Sikeston, Missouri, in 2002, he attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston to study opera.[4][10] This led to a role as the slave "York" in Michael Ching's World Premier Opera "Corps of Discovery, A Musical Journey," commissioned by University of Missouri.[citation needed]

America's Got Talent[edit]

Boyd was the winner of America's Got Talent in 2008, and was awarded the $1-million prize and a headline show in Las Vegas, Nevada.[citation needed]

Performances and results[edit]

Week Theme Song choice Original artist/composer Performance order Result
Audition Inspiration "Nessun dorma" Puccini Final Advanced
Vegas Verdicts Classical Singers "Unchained Melody" Todd Duncan Advanced
Top 40 Group 1 "Somewhere" Leonard Bernstein 10 Advanced
Top 20 Group 1
"Mama" Il Divo 7 Advanced
Top 10 Inspirations "All by Myself" Eric Carmen 8 Advanced
Top 5 Finals "Nessun Dorma" Puccini 3 Winner


Boyd was awarded the $1-million prize and a headline show in Las Vegas hosted by Jerry Springer.[citation needed]

On October 2008, his hometown declared the month of October "Neal E. Boyd Month."[11]

Boyd signed to Decca Records and released his debut album, My American Dream, on June 23, 2009, the day of the fourth season premiere of America's Got Talent. It debuted at #195 on the Billboard 200 and #3 on the Top Classical Albums Chart.[citation needed]

On March 10, 2010, Boyd performed for the 44th U.S. President, Barack Obama while visiting Missouri.[12][13] He also performed for Presidents George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.[citation needed]

Boyd was the co-owner of Cox & Boyd Insurance Solutions, an insurance agency with locations in St Louis and Sikeston Missouri, and the Vice President of sales for Voluntary Benefit Services which is located in St. Louis, Missouri.[citation needed]

Boyd died at the age of 42 on June 10, 2018, of heart/kidney failure and liver disease.[14][15][16]


Boyd was a Republican.[17] He ran for a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives in 2012,[18] but lost to Democrat Steve Hodges by 66 to 34%.[19] On September 5, 2013 Boyd announced that he would again seek to be elected to the Missouri House of Representatives from the 149th district in 2014. He was defeated in the August 2014 Republican primary by Don Rone, who won the seat in the November general election.[citation needed]

In 2000, he sang at the memorial service for former Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan who died in a plane crash during his U.S. Senate run against then Senator and later U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.[citation needed]

In 2005, he sang the National Anthem at the inauguration of Missouri Governor Matt Blunt.[citation needed]

On August 28, 2012, Boyd performed Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.[citation needed]

Various Missouri state and local officials nicknamed Boyd "The Voice of Missouri" due to his appearances at many prominent statewide events.[20]



Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
US US Class US
Year End
2009 My American Dream [21] 195 3 10 29


Year Single Peak Album
2009 "God Bless the U.S.A."[citation needed] My American Dream

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Neal Evans Boyd | 1975 - 2018 | Obituary
  2. ^ "Neal E. Boyd - My American Dream - Music".
  3. ^ " Entertainment: A Neal Boyd timeline (06/30/08)".
  4. ^ a b c Essner, Leonna (June 5, 2002). "Boyd makes name for himself in song". Sikeston Standard Democrat. Also re-published by the Southeast Missourian as "Sikeston throws a party for Neal Boyd".
  5. ^ " Local News: Candidate questionnaire: Neal E. Boyd (10/01/12)".
  6. ^ " Local News: After weight loss, Boyd says 'time is now' to run for House (03/15/12)".
  7. ^ " Local News: Singer Neal E. Boyd to run for Missouri House seat (09/13/11)".
  8. ^ "Southeast Missouri State University".
  9. ^ " Column: Lucas Presson ~ Southeast Missourian: The Sunday Interview: Neal E. Boyd is raising his voice".
  10. ^ Darnell, Kathryn (2008-05-15). "Holding a High Note". Vox Magazine. Archived from the original on 2013-02-05. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  11. ^ "October declared Neal E. Boyd month in Sikeston". Sikeston Standard Democrat. September 25, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  12. ^ "Missourian Neal E. Boyd to perform for President Obama during visit".
  13. ^ "Singer Neal E. Boyd looking forward to meeting president at St. Louis event" (March 9, 2010) Southeast Missourian
  14. ^ Hipes, Patrick (June 11, 2018). "Neal E. Boyd Dies: Former "America's Got Talent" Winner Was 42". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  15. ^ "Remembering Neal E. Boyd". WPSD Local 6 - Your News, Weather, & Sports Authority. 11 June 2018. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  16. ^ Neal E. Boyd, America's Got Talent winner, Sikeston native passes away at 42
  17. ^ "Singer Neal E. Boyd to run for Missouri House seat" (September 13, 2011) Southeast Missourian
  18. ^ "'America's Got Talent' winner Neal E Boyd to run for Missouri legislature" (Sep. 14, 2011) Digital Spy
  19. ^ Ruch, Amber (November 7, 2012). "Hodges wins Mo. House seat in 149th District". KVFS.
  20. ^ "Neal Boyd timeline". Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  21. ^ "Neal E. Boyd". Decca Records. Retrieved 2009-06-19.
  22. ^ "Catch up with singer Neal E. Boyd, winner of America’s Got Talent" (Summer 2010) Mizzou Archived 2010-06-19 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Terry Fator
America's Got Talent winner
Season 3 (Summer 2008)
Succeeded by
Kevin Skinner