Alex Boyé has had a long, distinguished music career performing all over the world, and most recently, his accolades continue to impress. He was recently named "2017 Rising Artist of the Year" in a contest hosted by Pepsi and Hard Rock Cafe.
However, in his most recent album "Coming to Amerika", Boyé explores the journey that brought him to this point and is now using his own success to help lift up others.
We had the distinct honor of speaking with him just a few weeks ago, and his story is remarkable.
I got started in music by necessity.
I grew up in London, and at age 16, my mom moved back to Nigeria. The plan was for her to be there for three weeks, but I did not see her for eight years. I was in and out of foster homes. Eventually, I was lucky enough to attend a boarding school with a lot of other kids from low income families, and I would stay with my uncle during breaks.
After school, I was homeless for a while. I'd go to clubs because London is cold at night, and they were open late. I became a dancing fool! I loved it. And then one night, I heard a song on the dance floor, I wish I could remember it. It was as if I received 10 years of therapy in 3 minutes and 58 seconds.
I thought, man if I could do that for someone else...
I started auditioning as an extra for music videos. I landed a spot as a dancer for George Michael's song Fast Love. From there, I was able to get a part dancing for the MTV Music Awards Europe. We had a 12 hour rehearsal for that, and I remember one of the singers coming in for the last 30 minutes. I said to myself "that guy has got the right idea", and so I got together with three other dancers to form the group Awesome.
We were signed by Universal for a year, and then we moved to another label out of Germany. We ended up touring for the next seven years. The Backstreet Boys and N'Sync actually opened for us. We would eventually open for folks like Jay-Z and Missy Elliott. It was an incredible time, and the rest is history I guess.
Well, first the spelling of "Amerika" with a "k" is a tribute to my mom. That's how she'd spell it when she sent me letters, and she didn't actually want me to come.
The album as a whole is about my own story coming here. The song Dancing To The Sunrise is about that moment getting off of the plane for the first time, I kissed the ground. I'm sure everyone around me thought I was crazy.
The song Bend Not Break is about resilience, and those struggles I had with mental health, especially during those homeless periods. We've actually started the Bend Not Break Foundation for youth suicide prevention and mental health awareness.
So the whole album is really just about trying to use my own journey to lift people up.
I'll tell you what, it was painful being dropped by Universal. I felt like I was on top of the world, and then they dropped us with a fax. It was rough, but it's a business. Nothing is personal.
What I love about what this (Timbredio) is that it's a whole group of artists and they're just rising together. No man is an island. I see the music industry now and how powerful things like collaboration are. Your personality can still shine, but you must always involve people.
You can't do it alone.
It was such an honor speaking with Alex, and we thank him dearly for his time. Sign up today to here his album Coming To Amerika!