“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”
This oft-quoted advice from Joel A. Barker (author and businessman) beautifully illustrates the life of Alex Boye. As a teenager, Alex found the courage to turn his dreams into visions and then boldly took action, not only changing his world but the lives of others.
Sixteen, homeless, alone, broken, eating out of garbage cans, Alex felt like an absolute zero. Walking the busy streets of London, no one took notice of him. Alex noticed everyone. He recalls, “I remember walking along the street, and I just felt like everyone was better than me, everyone was having a better experience than me, my life sucked, and I wondered why it has to be me that is going through all these experiences.” Finding his refuge in music, Alex would escape to the dance clubs; it didn’t hurt that they were open till 6:00 a.m. either. He quickly made friends with a few of the DJs who sometimes allowed him to sleep under their booths. He couldn’t have known then, but the clubs would offer him something far more valuable than shelter—a choice.
Alex shares, “I was done for it; I was dancing and crying my eyes out, and just having a really hard time. I was almost suicidal. There was this song that was playing, and it just stopped me in my tracks. To this day, I can’t remember what song it was—I wish I could. The words were really powerful; something like, ‘Keep on going, keep moving, you can do this, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, there’s more to life than this, don’t give up, don’t let go of who you really are,’ and I just felt my spirit leap. It just jumped out!” At that moment, Alex had a choice: remain a dreamer in the dark or take action, step into the light, and change his world. In the three minutes it took to play the song, Alex made a choice that changed the trajectory of his life. “I made the decision that day that I somehow wanted to be a musician; I wanted to make music my career. I remember thinking that if I could do what that song did to me to somebody else, man, I’d be living a good life!”
Flash forward to 2018. Alex had just finished recording an album with Randy Jackson from American Idol. As everyone was packing up to go home, Alex visited the ‘loo’ (where most of us do our deep thinking while taking care of business). “I had this really strong feeling that I needed to do a song on the album about suicide prevention.” The lights were off, people had called for their Ubers, and Alex ran out yelling, “Guys, we got to record one more song!” When questioned what the song was going to be about, Alex replied with, “Imagine that you’re trying to talk someone off the ledge, and you’re the only one who can stop them. What would you say?” One of his friends broke down and shared that it was the one-year anniversary of a close friend who had taken his life. He’d spent the year questioning and thinking about all the “what ifs.” Alex told his friends, “This is no accident. We have to write this song.” Alex recalls, “We wrote that song in one hour, and I know that there was a higher power involved in this because it was just so easy, so smooth, so natural. It was a powerful experience.”
Alex has received hundreds of messages from people whom the song has helped. “It’s crazy! It’s [my life] gone full circle from when I was in a night club, and I heard a song that changed my life, and now this song is doing the same thing for many others. It’s just been a huge blessing.” The title of the song? “Bend Not Break.”
Alex’s life has come full circle, and now he’s embarking on another journey to share a vision that changed the trajectory of not just a young boy’s life but the worlds. Hold on to the edge of your seats Hamilton fans! Grab your sneakers and get ready to rap and hip-hop to a brand-new musical coming soon to a theatre near you! Alex’s current project is telling the story of Joseph Smith, the first modern-day prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The musical is told from the viewpoint of an African American slave, and “It’s going to be so hip, so cool!” he says. Similar to how Hamilton tells the story of our founding fathers, Alex will use rap and hip-hop to tell the story of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Alex and his fabulous team are finishing up an eight-minute promotional music video. With choreographers like Tia Stokes, Marc Cameron, aka “Big Chocolate,” and Rick Robinson, those familiar with the dance scene know there’s going to be some moves! Alex’s vision is to create a musical production that will be performed on local stages as well as Off-Broadway and Broadway.
Alex has connections with a lot of talented people in the entertainment industry who are interested in collaborating and working with him to bring his vision to life. However, taking action sometimes requires more coin than you have in your coffers. Looking for sponsors and donors to help tell the story is just another hat Alex has put on. Fundraising can be a daunting task, but Alex and his teams are up for it. “This is not going to be something we are going to only push in the LDS realm. I remember when the Book of Mormon musical came out. It was this crazy thing, and everyone was confused as to whether or not it was the church doing it (it wasn’t). Instead of complaining, the church took the high road and placed a picture of me in the playbill. I’m holding a Book of Mormon with my cheesy grin and the words, “You’ve seen the play, now read the book.” Ten years later and they’re still using that picture. It’s almost like everything is happening for a reason. This musical I’m doing—this is the real Book of Mormon musical told by us [members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints], not by somebody else. It’s a story about America then told by America now, by a multi-racial people.” Alex’s enthusiasm and excitement are contagious. He shared, “I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s just been in my mind for so long. It’s like do it—do it now. Whether I have the money or not, I’m just doing it. It’s happening. I’ve been meeting the right people, and it’s just been incredible.”
An American Prophet—An Urban Musical may be about Joseph Smith and the First Vision, but it is also about Alex’s vision and determination to share and make a difference in the lives of others. When asked about one of his favorite moments that took place during the filming of the music video, he said, “I’ve got this black girl who can’t seem to find herself in this religion because she thinks nobody looks like her, nobody talks like her. She was in tears, and she’s like ‘I’m singing R&B, I’m singing in the style I grew up in, and I’m telling the story about the most powerful message that I love the most.’ It just hit me. This is the process. This is going to be amazing!”
Sure there’s always going to be skeptics who tell the dreamers to get their heads out of the clouds, but to those Alex says it best. “We’re supposed to dream. We’re supposed to have huge visions. If not, we wouldn’t have a Steve Jobs, we wouldn’t have a Bill Gates, we wouldn’t have a Jeff Bezos, an Elon Musk, a Richard Branson. Those are the guys who dreamed so far out of the box it’s not even funny. We need more people to do that—to be brave. This is the year of vision for me. This is my vision, and I want to tell the story of the First Vision in a way it’s never been told before. I think that one of the big things for me has always been that there’s no plan B—that’s kind of my thing. If you’re going to go for it, you go all out. You’re resilient, you’re determined, and you push through. Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it was the wrong decision. If we’re not struggling, if it’s all smooth sailing along the way, what story are we going to have to tell?”
Alex’s story may have started out a bit rough, but those experiences have helped shape and define who he is now—an artist, a musician, an actor, an activist, a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a dreamer, a visionary, and a doer changing the world with his cheesy grin, infectious enthusiasm, love, and music—one song at a time.
Visit alexboye.com to learn more.
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