Alex Boyé

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About Alex Boyé

A British singer, songwriter, and actor of Nigerian descent whose career has traversed such diverse roles as R&B singer, Mormon Tabernacle Choir member, and creator of Africanized versions of mainstream pop songs, Alex Boyé first emerged into the European music scene of the late-'90s fronting the boy band Awesome. Baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) at a young age, he eventually relocated to the U.S., settling in the Mormon enclave of Salt Lake City, Utah, where in the 2000s he began a career in Mormon music and subsequently fell into an acting career, appearing in a number of musicals and religious-themed television shows and films. After releasing several solo albums of soul- and R&B-inspired sacred music, he became a member of the acclaimed Mormon Tabernacle Choir and appeared many times as one of their soloists. In the early 2010s, Boyé found mainstream success adapting popular songs like "Let It Go" from Frozen and Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" to African tribal rhythms, many of which became viral YouTube hits. His profile was raised even more when in 2015 he competed on the tenth season of the reality show America's Got Talent. Working with producer Randy Jackson, Boyé released the 2019 album Coming to Amerika, loosely based on his own life story. Born in London to Nigerian parents, Boyé spent much of his youth living in foster homes after his mother returned to Nigeria without him. He was introduced to the LDS Church as a teenager and, after being baptized, spent some time doing missionary work in the U.K. A natural singer who grew up on classic Motown, soul, and R&B music, Boyé sought work in the music business and found work as a backup dancer for George Michael. In 1995, he formed the boy band Awesome, who signed a deal with Universal Records and enjoyed success throughout Europe in the latter half of the decade, releasing two albums and touring with acts like NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys. Boyé left the group in 1999 and within a year had relocated to Salt Lake City, where he began recording a solo album of Mormon religious music set to R&B and hip-hop beats. Released in 2001, The Love Goes On was actually his second solo outing, following his secular R&B debut, No Limits, which was released that same year in Germany. Not long afterward, with no prior acting experience and little knowledge of American history, Boyé was cast as abolitionist Frederick Douglass in a Utah production of Frank Wildhorn's play Civil War after the lead actor dropped out just weeks before opening night. Boyé's work ethic and exuberant positivity endeared him to the cast and audience, and over the next several years he continued to act, appearing in the Mormon film David & Goliath while releasing additional Christian albums like 2004's Testimony and 2007's Spirit. Around this time, he also became a member of the famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir and later featured as one of their soloists on their 2009 album Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing. That same year, Boyé released his own album of simply arranged hymns, Be Still, My Soul: Classic Hymns and Folk Songs. Boyé's breakout into mainstream culture began in the early 2010s when he teamed up with fellow Utahns the Piano Guys to record an African-styled twist on Coldplay's song "Paradise." Titled "Peponi," after the title's Swahili translation, the video for the song eventually amassed millions of streams on YouTube. Until then, Boyé had rarely engaged in the musical culture of his African heritage, but the song's success sent him in a new direction and before long he was uploading his own "Africanized" covers of popular songs like the Lumineers' "Ho Hey" and Lorde's "Royals." In late 2013, he realized a childhood dream of playing London's Royal Albert Hall when he was asked to open a show there for Olivia Newton-John. The following year, Boyé broke out in a big way with an Africanized version of "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen, which featured Utah's One Voice Children's Choir. The video went viral to the tune of one hundred million streams and was named YouTube's best pop cover of 2014. That same year, he compiled his covers and videos into the CD/DVD set Africanized. In 2015, Boyé and the Utah band Changing Lanes Experience competed on the tenth season of America's Got Talent, playing covers of Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" and Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk." Even as his mainstream success was mounting, Boyé remained active in the Mormon community and went out of his way to collaborate with Utah ensembles, like on his 2015 cover of the Civilization IV video game theme song, "Baba Yetu," which featured the Brigham Young University Men's Chorus. He also sang a duet with Marie Osmond on her 2016 album Music Is Medicine. After taking home the grand prize at the Hard Rock Cafe's Hard Rock Rising Battle of the Bands in 2017, Boyé began working with American Idol alum Randy Jackson and producers Blac Elvis and Neff-U on an ambitious album that combined themes of his own life's journey with social awareness. Released in 2019, Coming to Amerika was anchored by the anti-suicide single "Bend Not Break." ~ Timothy Monger

London, England
August 16, 1970

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