The web is being populated with a ton of incredible covers of “Let It Go” from Disney’s “Frozen,” but the one stealing everyone’s hearts and buzzing through everyone’s ears is Alex Boyé’s Africanized tribal cover, featuring the One Voice Children’s Choir and the incredibly talented Lexi Walker.
The video has accrued over 13 million views since it was posted on February 13, making it an undeniable, viral hit. So, we just had to catch up with the man responsible for the production and hear more about his extensive background in music, his work with the One Voice Children’s Choir, and other big YouTube collaborations.
What made you want to cover “Let It Go”?
I came home after being away for work for two weeks, and my wife Julie said, “You have to see this.” She turns on the music and plays “Let It Go” from “Frozen.” My daughter Adanna, who’s 4-year-old, began strutting and prancing all over our living room in her little Elsa dress, singing word-for-word! It wasn’t until I heard my daughter singing it, then hearing that kids all over the globe are doing the same thing, that I realized how big this is.
How did you connect with the One Voice Children’s Choir and the talented Lexi Walker?
Lexi is a member of the One Voice Children’s Choir. I have known Masa Fukada, who is the director and founder of the Choir, for seven years. We have performed on the same stage on numerous occasions together. For so many years we kept saying that we should collaborate some day. So glad we finally have!
Can you tell us about your background in music?
My background in music is pretty erratic and unusual! I started off singing in a rap band in England, where I’m from. Then I became a missionary for my church, and sang religious music for about two years. I then formed a boyband back in the late ’90s. (We opened up for The Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, and Jay-Z, to name a few.) I then left the band to pursue music in America because I felt drawn to the American culture and couldn’t fight it off any longer. I sang religious music in the U.S. for about 14 more years, which led to me being invited to join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as a soloist, which I still do to this date. The musical skills and discipline I have learned from being in the Choir has given me more dimension in my music, and has truly been one of the best things I have ever done musically.
This isn’t the first video for you on YouTube. Tell us about some of your other big collaborations.
I have done collaborations with Lindsey Stirling and The Piano Guys, who are both from Utah, where I also live.
Why do you think this song in particular has been such a viral hit for you?
I’m really not sure why it became so big. It still absolutely blows my mind! But I think because the song was already a phenomenon, so it was a no-brainer. However, I believe a huge reason for the success is Lexi Walker, who is an absolutely child phenomenon (11 years old), and sings with so much heart and soul, you would not believe such an enchanting and controlled voice could come from such a small person. Also, the amazing kids choir who are so professional and sing fearlessly with animation, you can’t take your eyes off of them. The African twist I put on it I think throws people into a quandary and makes them want to keep listening because it’s intriguing. And, of course, the incredible backdrop. We were very fortunate to have gotten permission to shoot at the Ice Castle in Midway, Utah, which is a breathtaking feast to the eyes.
The one thing we noticed was how high-quality your videos are. How are you able to support that high level of production on YouTube?
I beg profusely and pull favors.
What do you hope people take away from your covers and music?
The theme behind the music I do is pop music with an African twist, or, as a fan coined it, “Africanized.” My mother has been telling me for the last 20 years that I should incorporate some of my African heritage into my music. (My mum and dad are from Nigeria). It took me 20 years to listen. It turns out she was right all along, as all mothers are!
I hope people will take away my heart and passion for various styles of music, and that when they hear it, it will transport them to the shores of Africa without having to use a passport.