By Socrates Mbamalu
Alex Boyé has become known for his uplifting music. Now his support of mental health campaigns has seen him being honoured for adding his voice to suicide prevention efforts.
Three years ago, Nigerian-born Alex Boyé appeared on one of America’s best-known talent shows, America’s Got Talent. He was 44 years old at the time and had been singing for 25 years. With his signature white mark under his right eye, a boisterous spirit and great charisma, he took to the stage and blew away the judges with his energy and music. Boyé has gone on to become an important voice in music.
His rendition of the Lord’s Prayer in Kiswahili three years ago has 10 million views on YouTube, while his Africanised cover version of “Let It Go” has more than 101 million views. In all, Boyé, an independent artist, has 1 billion YouTube views.
On his YouTube channel, Boyé writes, “I take pop songs and Africanise them. Here you will find music that elevates, bringing smiles, hope and soul purpose to those who listen. With every musical visual image you see on my page, I want you to know I will put everything I have and more to delivering powerful musical content that when you share with your friends and family, I promise, will make a difference!”
Boyé kept that promise with the release of two songs, “Still Breathing” and “Bend, not Break”. In a press release, Boyé says, ‘”Bend Not Break’ is a song that encourages people considering suicide to look beyond their current circumstances and make a different choice; to bend and not break, while “Still Breathing” shares the thoughts of someone who attempted suicide but survived. After some time, they recognise the gift of life again and are grateful that they’re still breathing.”
Robert Gebbia, CEO of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, requested permission to use Boyé’s song as their main theme song for Suicide Prevention Week and its message during Mental Health Awareness Month. Boyé will also participate in the #realconvos campaign organised by the foundation. On 25 April 2019, Boyé will be honoured with the 2019 Erase The Stigma Leadership Award presented by the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services Agency.