Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Alex Boyé Brings Some African Flavor To Michael Jackson's Song "They Don't Care About Us"

British-born singer Alex Boyé’s powerful “Africanized” rendition of Michael Jackson’s controversial 1995 song “They Don’t Care About Us” is one of the best covers I’ve heard recently. The African touch works really well on this cut. It augments the tribal feel of the percussion-heavy original. And I like how Boyé—who is of Nigerian descent—doesn’t try to imitate MJ’s singing style but brings his own raw African-tinged vocal style to the mix. And the vocal arrangement is top-notch—boasting a soul-stirring tribal-chant breakdown and some dope beatboxing. And the background vocals are also quality.

Additionally, the cover has a terrific video, which was directed by filmmaker and photographer Bryce Johnson. It contains some great dancing from Boyé, an awesome African drumming group, skilled beatboxers and colorful ethnic garb.

 Boyé was born in London, England to Nigerian parents.  The singer spent several of his early years in Nigeria before moving back to England.  When he was 16, he discovered The Church of the Latter Day Saints and converted to the faith.  He kicked off his professional career in music as a backup dancer for prominent pop artists such as George Michael.

 And following his stint as a backup dancer, he formed and became the lead singer of the European boyband Awesome in 1995. The group won a vocal competition on Capital Radio, one of London’s most popular radio stations.  This led to the group signing a five-album contract with Universal Records Europe. The group released three singles from their debut album Rumors, which made the top ten on various pop charts across Europe. The group was very successful, selling more than half a million CDS and performing alongside big-name artists such as Bryan Adams, The Backstreet Boys, Mary J. Blige, Smashing Pumpkins, Simon & Garfunkel and MC Hammer.

In 1999, Boyé left Awesome to pursue a solo career, as he felt being in the group was heading him toward a lifestyle that he wasn’t interested in pursuing. The following year, he moved to Salt Lake City, Utah and began his career as a solo artist in which he recorded and performed Christian music. He released his debut solo album, The Love Goes On, in 2001. The gospel album contains a mix of hip hop-flavored LDS hymns and R&B originals by Boyé. And in 2006, he became a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, while still continuing his solo career.

Boyé’s has been enjoying a quite a successful career as a solo artist. In 2005, he received an award from the LDS Booksellers Association for his album Testimony. And his songs have been featured on movie soundtracks, including the 2002 film Charly. And in 2013, he opened for Olivia Newton John at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Additionally, the singer was featured on The Piano Guys’ beautiful cover of Coldplay’s hit song “Paradise,” which was released in 2012 as “Peponi.” It blew up and currently has more than 32 million views on youtube. And his “Africanized” rendition of the song “Let It Go” from the Disney blockbuster film Frozen has also gone viral with more than 60 million views. Boyé’s gorgeous cover of the Disney song features the One Voice Children’s Choir, and it was voted the #1 cover song of 2014 on youtube.

Boyé has also been getting a lot of love for his uplifting and infectious original song “Lemonade,” which has been pulling in hundreds of thousands of views on youtube. And in August of last year, the talented singer/songwriter dropped his album Africanized. The album features covers of popular pop songs that have been given some African flavor—as he calls it “Africanized.” Some of the tracks on the album of include the following covers: “Happy” (Pharrell Williams); “Royals” (Lorde); “Grenade” (Bruno Mars); and “Roar” (Katy Perry). The album also contains his cover of “Let It Go.” And he recently did a cover of Taylor Swift’s smash “Shake It Off,” which can be found on youtube.

At his website, Boyé wrote that his “ultimate goal is to make people feel good and give them a few moments of uplift.” And he has certainly done that over the years through his music and performances. To learn more about Boyé, visit his website.

Boyé's cover  of  "They Don't Care About Us"

Boyé's original song "Lemonade"

They Don't Care About Us at Amazon

Africanized (album)_ at Amazon

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