Alex Boye describes his music and band as pop music with an African Twist. Several months ago, I came across him while browsing social media. I was very impressed with his original take on covers of Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Of’ and ‘Uptown Funk’ by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. Afterwards, I watched most of his other YouTube videos then eventually bought Boye’s ‘Lemonade.’
Last week, I just so happened to flip the channel, and there was Boye auditioning for America’s Got Talent. A very good surprise. His live performance with the band was fun and energetic, quickly getting applause and raising the audience to their feet to dance. The performance ended with Boye jumping off the stage and landing in a split in front of the judges. When the crowd settled down from their standing ovation, Howie Mandel stood up exclaiming, “Alex, I stood up at the end, so did everybody, but I can’t shake it off. I got to be honest with you. In my 6 years here, this is my favorite music act ever. It really is.” The rest of the judges were equally impressed:
Mel B, “…You filled the whole room with your excitement and energy, I didn’t want it to stop…”
Heidi Klum, “… It was contagious…”
Howard Stern, “…I could watch you all day. You’re terrific…”
Who is Alex Boye and where did he come from?
Alex Boye, a 44 year of Nigerian heritage, was a Londoner who rose to boy band stardom in 1996 after winning a recording contract. Boye was a Mormon and not wanting to go down the wrong path, he left the band in 1999 to pursue a Christian music career in Salt Lake City, Utah. He married, had kids, and became an American citizen all while continuing his music career and expanding into Pop music. Boye’s mother was very influential with giving him the idea to develop a unique way of incorporating African styles in his music and videos. Elaborating with ABC4 Utah, he explained, “My mom, twenty years ago, she was always saying to me…’You need to put some of your culture in this music.’ ”
Becoming a YouTube sensation by learning from other musicians
Boye joined YouTube on January 6, 2012 and currently has 433, 375 subscribers and 103,334,090 views. On Facebook, he has 81,000 page likes and nearly 20, 000 followers on Twitter.
In an 2014 interview with ABC4 Utah, Boye credited fellow musicians for his YouTube success, “I got the Piano Guys (Stephen Sharp Nelson, John Schmidt) and Lindsey [Stirling] to thank because they taught me their formula, and if it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t even know how to start.” The Piano Guys denied having the secret to making a viral video, but they told Classic fM, “We have found some success in striving to always be original – pushing ourselves to do something no one has ever done before. When we cover other artists’ tunes, we ensure that we do it in an original way. In every piece of music and video we strive to push the boundaries of creativity.”
Forbes described how Lindsey Stirling seized an opportunity in May, 2011 to trade her violin performance for Devin Graham’s cinematographer/director skills in producing a music video and posting it to his YouTube channel of 25,000 subscribers. She told the Washington Post, “I started to put all my energy into learning to market yourself on YouTube, and I talked to people. I learned from Devin Graham,other YouTubers, and really learned how to market myself.”
The Next Level
During his audition with America’s Got Talent, Boye shared his goal, “My dream is to absolutely slay it with these incredible people with our own Vegas show and everyone coming to see us every single day, every week, and we put a smile on their faces.” Essentially, Boye wants to leverage his online success to secure a live show that will showcase his talents to tourist coming from all over the world.
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