African Hipster 17

When he finally embraced who he truly was, 
an authentic and inimitable style emerged

An awakening, that is an accurate way to describe the musical journey of Alex Boyé, the African pop YouTube sensation, south Salt Lake valley resident, and married father of five children. Born in London, England to Nigerian parents, Boyé had a tough childhood. He never knew his father and when he was 12, his mother left him to go back home to Nigeria for a visit that was supposed to last a couple of weeks. The weeks ended up lasting eight years and Boyé was put into the foster care system, living in Tottenham, being raised by caucasian parents. It was a devastating situation for him. Consequently, Alex Boyé felt a revulsion for his African heritage and really pushed back from it.

When Boyé was 16, he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints when he was introduced to it by his manager at McDonald’s. A few years later he served a mission in Bristol, England and it was while he was serving that Boyé performed publicly for the first time. With the encouragement of some church members, he joined a successful European boy band called Awesome when his mission was over. In the long run, Awesome did not pan out and due to many circumstances, Boyé ended up moving to Utah.

He felt that his calling in life was music and avidly continued to pursue it, first as an LDS artist. Boyé dabbled in many different genres and could do them all, but it was hard work.

“I was a jack of all trades, but a master of none. Maybe my heart just wasn’t in it?”

Then, the awakening. It came in 2012 when Boyé was contacted by the Piano Guys to collaborate with them on a cover of Coldplay’s hit, “Paradise.” He went to the studio to record with them and it just poured out of his soul.

“Generally, recording is hard for me. It was weird, but in the studio it was so natural and came so easily. Then the video got picked up by the Huffington Post, Time, US Weekly. It went viral fast. And I realized there must be something to this. I was always trying to find something I would be known for worldwide.”

Boyé did not just want to be an LDS artist. He loves to record sacred music. It is a labor of love. However, he knew he wanted to find his own niche in the music world and there it was the entire time, right inside of him.

He has been reconciled with his mother for a very long time and they now have a very warm relationship. She had always encouraged him to incorporate Africa into his music, but he had resisted. Now with this mammoth Africanized hit, her response to her son was pretty straightforward.

“You stupid boy, I told you a long time ago.”

The musical transformation of Alex Boyé was immediate and seamless. “I realized I need to embrace it. I am now more comfortable with who I am. I feel like an unofficial ambassador to Nigeria and am proud to highlight the beauty of the country and its culture.”

Musically, there is no doubt that Boyé now knows who he is. He is an African hipster. His YouTube channel is filled with an abundance of cover songs with an African twist and he is getting worldwide recognition for it. Just recently, Boyé worked with Pepsi’s “The Sound Drop” and Epic Record’s artist Jidenna. He also was approached about doing a tour in Australia. They love his music down there and his YouTube videos continue to be popular, consistently getting millions of hits when released.

The authenticity and originality of his African vibe is propelling Alex Boyé far into the music industry and he will continue to work hard to do what he loves and to express who he is.

“I have finally found myself and now people want me to be who I am.”

With a drum in his hand, a painted stripe under his right eye and a sick beat, the Africanized lion of hip hop is awake and roaring loudly.