Alex Boye: Calling America To Do Better
Alex Boye is the master at Africanizing the musical masterpieces of others alongside his own. Combining tremendous heart with deep Nigerian roots, this phenomenal artist took a road less traveled (and filled with enormous turmoil) and transformed it into a light that shines hope and happiness into many listeners' lives.
Raised in foster homes located in some of the toughest neighborhoods in London, Alex's spirit and eventual faith, never failed him rather bringing him enormous professional and personal success, the course of which includes being one of the few black choir vocalists accepted into the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as well as a member of the European sensation, Awesome.
Faced with many of the distasteful decisions and challenges fame always arrives with, Alex chose an alternate route, turning his back on well-earned financial rewards for something greater -- peace of mind. This courageous decision would lead him to a better place, open up new doors, and usher him into the age when he would "come into his own" and maintain the authenticity and spark that "IS" Alex Boye.
The father of four children, who strives to give-back much more than he ever takes, Alex Boye lives a life of absolute integrity underscored by an even bigger love for God, man, and country. In my opinion, Alex Boye is the epitome of what this nation use to be and what we are working towards becoming again.
Maybe the secret is to just keep all our eyes on Alex as we look towards achieving this goal. Apparently, he knows the way. Enjoy traveling with him as you read the interview below.
What is your personal mantra?
SMILE. Be happy with who you see in the mirror.
Your journey and story is truly one of amazement and admiration. What are you the most proud of in all of it?
Thank you. I have found my greatest successes have come from my failures. Honestly, the thing I'm most proud of has been finding the ability to get back up from failures and emotional knockdowns. Of course, I don't say that at the time. This realization comes from hindsight -- looking back on those situations and how it helped me grow a little more.
You've used your Nigerian roots to Africanize the pop music landscape. Why do you believe you have been so successful in merging these two elements?
I take a unique angle on "tried and tested" songs. Doing cover songs on Youtube has become very, very popular. Adding the African-flare to hit songs makes me unique because nobody else is doing it.
You went from growing up in foster homes in London to reaching world class stardom as part of the group Awesome. You gave this fame and coinciding riches up because you said "it was leading you down a road you did not want to go?" Explain this, including the difficulty of this decision based upon your challenging journey.
I once heard a quote that explains my situation perfectly. "We often spend our whole lives climbing the ladder of success, only to find that when we get to the top, we are leaning on the wrong side of the wall." I felt that alot when I was in the group. I defined myself by my recording contract and by how many fans I had. When that all disappeared, I felt like I had nothing, because I judged my successes on my accolades and not my self worth.
Nowadays, I don't define my life on whether I have a big record deal, a big song on the billboard charts or have Youtube videos with millions of views, because when all that fades away, I just need to be happy with who I see in the mirror.
You are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. How does your religion play into your life and music?
In my life, my religion plays a huge part of who I am and who I aspire to become. One thing it has helped me to do is to enjoy the journey NOW and stop stressing about the destination. Also to look for the good in every situation and not the bad. That has not always been an easy task, but it has made all the difference.
Share a bit about what it was like to be a vocalist in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
It was, seriously, one of the hardest and most rewarding things I have ever done. I truly learned a lot about the power of music and its influence for good -- how it can change people's lives. I guess the direction I have taken with my own music still aspires to that, even though my style of music is quite different.
Share your views on the current discussion regarding "prayer shaming" and our society's trend to push God out of it.
We must all be allowed to think, believe or "not believe" the way we feel is good for us. I don't believe in embarrassing people for what they hold true in their lives. We are all the same, yet different. I feel that unnecessary suffering comes from our lack of intolerance towards each other. We need to build each other up, not bring each other down.
You are a father. What is the most important lesson, you believe, you are teaching your children?
To always strive to maintain a healthy, positive attitude towards life. Life is not perfect, neither am I, but if you really look, there are many, many moments of perfection that can be found. Cheesy sounding I know, but it has never failed me, and I know it won't fail my children if they hold true to it.
What was the biggest surprise of your career?
Being invited to perform four separate times at Carnegie hall last year.
Not making it to the live round of America's Got Talent.
Share something about you that your fans would be surprised at.
I was homeless at the age of sixteen and ate food out of garbage cans.
What's next for you?
- 2016 Tour all over my home state
- Working on my own show in Vegas
If you hadn't become the mega star you are now, what would have you become?
Growing up, I loved art. I always thought I was going to be a graphic designer or an architect.
If I asked your wife what your most unique trait is, what would she say?
Hmmm…that I am stubborn, and that I never give up on my dreams
Do you support a specific social cause, either directly or indirectly? Please share.
I support 2 organizations that are dear to me.
Interweave Solutions - Interweave identifies areas of extreme poverty in the US and around the world and intervenes to create, educate and mentor "self-reliance" groups...in a nutshell. Instead of giving people who are poverty stricken money, they teach them how to make money. I love that! Here is an original song I wrote for the charity.
Engage Now Africa - a company where 100% of donations go straight to Africa to help end poverty. All of the administrative costs are privately funded. Here is a video I recorded in Ghana for them.
When all is said and done, how do you want to be remembered?
That I never gave up.
Alex Boye will be remembered for a great deal more than just "never giving up," I am certain. He will be remembered for bringing back strength, hope, faith, and leadership into a world where too much has dwindled away. Suffice-it-to-say, I am going to be in the front row of his 2016 tour as well as his debut in Vegas. And I reccommend that you mark those dates on your calendars as well. Undoubtedly, a better or more enjoyable use of your time cannot be had.
Many thanks to Alex Boye and his team for making this interview possible.