Patti Boulaye

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Patti Boulaye
Boulaye in 2019
Background information
Birth namePatricia Ngozi Ebigwei
Born (1954-05-03) 3 May 1954 (age 70)
Mid-Western Region, Nigeria
Occupation(s)Singer, actress
Years active1970–present
Spouse(s)Stephen Komlosy

Patricia Ngozi Komlosy[1] OBE (née Ebigwei; born 3 May 1954), known professionally as Patti Boulaye// , is a British-Nigerian singer, actress and artist who rose to prominence after winning New Faces in 1978 and was among the leading black British entertainers in the 1970s and 1980s. In her native Nigeria she is best remembered for starring in Lux commercials and Bisi, Daughter of the River, as well as her own series, The Patti Boulaye Show.[2]

Her stage name is said to have been inspired by the actress Evelyn "Boo" Laye.

Early life[edit]

Boulaye was born after her mother went into labour in a taxi that was passing through two towns in Mid-Western Nigeria and was raised in a strict Catholic household with nine children, including airline pilot Tony Ebigwei, who was killed in the Nigerian Airways plane crash of 1978. She is of Efik and Igbo origin.[3][4] As a teenager Boulaye survived the 1967–70 Biafran war and attributes this to her strong faith.

At the age of 16 she left Nigeria for the United Kingdom[5] where she decided to become a nun. However, during a sightseeing trip in London, Boulaye stood in a queue for what she assumed was Madame Tussauds but turned out to be an audition for the original London production of Hair and soon won a part, which launched her career in musicals. Her father, who did not approve of showbusiness, disowned his daughter but later forgave her.[6]



After Hair, she featured in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, but landed her first starring role as Yum Yum in The Black Mikado under her birth name, Patricia Ebigwei.[7]

Other stage productions she has starred in include the title role in Carmen Jones (at London's Old Vic Theatre, in a production directed by Simon Callow) and Jesus Christ Superstar.[8] In 2003 Boulaye launched her West End musical, Sun Dance, which took twelve years to put together. Hailed[by whom?] as a celebration of "the colours and music of Africa in a display of ceremonial dances, rituals and initiation ceremonies, all played out to the beat of African drums". It was written and produced by Boulaye herself and opened at the Hackney Empire.[9] Boulaye featured in an excerpt from the show forming part of the interval act at the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest, staged at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham. she received the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) award.[10]


In 1978, now with several years of experience under her belt, Boulaye appeared on New Faces where she was the only contestant in the series to be awarded maximum points by the judges, and would later win the All Winners Final Gala Show. Boulaye played the part of Charlotte opposite Lenny Henry in The Fosters, Dempsey and Makepeace, and Brothers and Sisters. In 1984, she had her own series, The Patti Boulaye Show on Channel 4.[11] The Christmas special, which featured Cliff Richard, was a ratings success and an album was released in conjunction with the screening of the series.

Boulaye has made over 200 TV appearances including Royal Command Performances at the London Palladium.[citation needed] She starred in 12 of BBC TV's annual "Joy to the World" Christmas programmes, produced by Major Sir Michael Parker KCVO CBE at the Royal Albert Hall, with Sir Cliff Richard, Roger Moore and other internationally acclaimed stars. Boulaye appeared in two episodes of Pointless. She appeared as a contestant in a series of BBC's popular Celebrity MasterChef and later in an episode of BBC One's Money For Nothing, and Channel 5's When Talent Shows Go Horribly Wrong.[citation needed]

In January and February 2016 Boulaye appeared in the three-part BBC series The Real Marigold Hotel, which followed a group of celebrity senior citizens, including Miriam Margolyes and Wayne Sleep, on a journey to India.[12]

Patti Boulaye with journalist Garry Bushell

In July 2018, Boulaye devised and hosted her TV chat show series "Life With Patti Boulaye" which is recorded and streamed Worldwide by Disruptive Live TV.[13][14] Life with Patti Boulaye is the result of Boulaye's concern about the alarming state of the mental health and suicide rates among young people. Guests on the show are from all walks of life and are encouraged to share some of the challenges they have faced and to explain how they overcame them.[citation needed]


Boulaye had a starring role in African movie Bisi, Daughter of the River (1977), which was said to be the biggest grossing African movie ever made, running in the cinemas in Nigeria for three years.[15] She starred in The Music Machine – billed as the British Saturday Night Fever – in 1979,[16] and also appeared as a cabaret singer in the 1980 Helen Mirren movie Hussy.


Boulaye's victory on New Faces led to the release of the 1978 album You Stepped into My Life. Prior to this, she had spent a year touring and releasing several singles with a British-based American girl group.[17]


Boulaye is the founder and president of the charity "Support for Africa Charity",[18] which has built five clinics in rural Africa and a school with HRH Prince Harry's Charity, "Sentebale", in Lesotho.


In 1999, Boulaye defended Conservative Jeffrey Archer after he made alleged derogatory comments about black Britons. During a radio interview, he stated: "[Three decades ago], your head did not turn if a black woman passed because they were badly dressed, probably overweight and probably had a lousy job."[19] Boulaye defended Archer, stating: "I am talking as a black woman who knows Jeffrey Archer very well ... and he is not a racist. I think he would make a very good mayor."[20]

In the 2000 London Assembly election, Patti Komlosy was placed 13 on the Conservative Party Londonwide list, but was too far down to be elected.[21]

Other work[edit]

The 1980s saw an increase in fitness awareness and Boulaye was among the celebrities whose voices featured on the Shape Up and Dance keep-fit albums. In Africa, she was the face of Lux for 29 years,[15] The Patti Boulaye Show was shown on several NTA stations, and in 1999 she was invited to sing for Olusegun Obasanjo during his inauguration. In 2002 Boulaye was appointed to the Entertainment Steering Committee for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, and led 5000 gospel singers down The Mall in the celebrations singing songs including "Celebrate Good News", especially written by Boulaye for the occasion.

Boulaye's autobiography, The Faith of a Child, was published in March 2017.[22][better source needed]

Libel action[edit]

In 1999, Boulaye, then a supporter of the Conservative Party, sued The Guardian for libel after the paper wrongly quoted her as saying "This is a time to support apartheid because it's unfashionable"; she later stated she had been set up by a reporter who claimed to have misheard her when she referred to "a party" (The Conservatives) as opposed to "apartheid".[23] The Guardian was later forced to pay £15,000 in damages.[20]

Personal life[edit]

A devout Roman Catholic, Boulaye has two children and two grandchildren with husband Stephen Komlosy.[24][25]


  • Patti Boulaye (1976)
  • You Stepped into My Life (1978)
  • The Music Machine (1979)
  • Magic (1981)
  • Patti (1983)
  • In His Kingdom (2004)
  • Patti Boulaye's Sun Dance [album] (2004)


  1. ^ "No. 61256". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2015. p. B13.
  2. ^ "Patti Boulaye Bio". Billboard. Archived from the original on 9 June 2010.
  3. ^ Lewis, Ros (3 June 2016), "Patti Boulaye: ‘My mother hid up to 30 people at a time in our house’", The Guardian.
  4. ^ Iggulden, Amy (8 April 2005). "'My brother had died in 1978. Now here he was, walking towards me'". The Daily Telegraph.
  5. ^ "Patti Boulaye | Biography, Albums, Streaming Links". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  6. ^ Moreton, Cole (22 September 2007). "Patti Boulaye: 'God took away my career - with a lot of help from the Tories'". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022.
  7. ^ Lane, Terry (25 November 2001), "The Black Mikado (1975)" Archived 26 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine, A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
  8. ^ Williams, Hazelann (1 March 2014). "Patti Boulaye: African ambassador". The Voice. Archived from the original on 1 December 2018. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Sundance Review". Archived from the original on 12 June 2011.
  10. ^ "British - Nigerian singer Patti Boulaye bags OBE award". Vanguard News. 8 February 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  11. ^ "biography". Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  12. ^ "BBC One - The Real Marigold Hotel, Series 1 - The female residents". BBC. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Life with Patti Boulaye, Chat show inspiring Fortitude in young people". Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  14. ^ "Live - Disruptive".
  15. ^ a b Amawhe, Onome (7 November 2017), "I am glad the Lux advert made such an impact", Vanguard (Nigeria).
  16. ^ Shenton, Mark (29 January 2017). "Leigh Zimmerman, Dominick Allen, Patti Boulaye, Anne Reid, Amanda McBroom and George Hall Among Line-up at London's Crazy Coqs". Playbill. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014.
  17. ^ Cummings, Tony (April 2004). "Patti Boulaye: The African star of musicals goes gospel". Cross Rhythms (80).
  18. ^ "Support For Africa Charity". Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  19. ^ "Black Tory defends Archer". BBC News. 10 August 1999. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  20. ^ a b "The Big Picture". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 15 June 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  21. ^ "BBC News | UK Politics | London & Local Elections 2000 | Party list candidate". Retrieved 5 January 2023.
  22. ^, Yours.
  23. ^ "PARTY' PATTI LIBEL VICTORY". The Daily Mirror. 26 June 1999.
  24. ^ "'My brother had died in 1978. Now here he was, walking towards me'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  25. ^ "Patti Boulaye biography, net worth, age, family, contact & picture". Retrieved 24 July 2022.

Biography Autobiography

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