Are you there? Yes, I’m here. The phone begins to ring. Hi Alex, It’s Sista Beehive and Sista Laurel. What’s up, how are you, he says. Wait a minute Sistas, he says in that smooth British accent, just let me turn down the M.J. I got blastin. He’s in the car; no doubt on his way to a meeting or a rehearsal, Alex Boye is a busy man! The three of us casually chat for a few minutes and do some catching up.
So Alex how long have you been with Motab (Mormon Tabernacle Choir), Sista Beehive asks. Three years now, I did the auditions and they asked me to report on January 6th. They said there are only two reasons you shouldn’t be there: either you’re dead or on your honeymoon. I was neither so I showed up. That’s where I did the orientation of the choir school. You can’t miss it, if you do, you’re done, it’s over. So I did that, then it’s the exam, I was admitted into the choir and off to choir school. Choir school is about three months long. Man, it was hard-core, intense, but a good experience for me. It’s three nights a week, something like 12 hours a week. Choir school is where you are prepared to be in the choir. There’s one starting now, with about seventy-five new members.
What did you do before the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Sista Laurel asks. Hustle around trying to get girls, just being an idiot, you don’t want to know! Oh really, we say, he has us intrigued. So can you share a pick up line you used to use back in the day? He does…it’s bad. We’re not gonna do a Brotha like that and tell you what it was…furthermore we suggest he stop telling people he ever said it. Fortunately, someone was nice enough not to hold it against him. We know his wife; she’s great. Sista Beehive for some reason suggests that he start a dating school. Sista Laurel knows that he would have to issue everyone refunds.
I was watching the video of you singing Rocka My Soul, says Sista Beehive. I could have sworn I saw you poppin and trying to break it down. Alex is laughing hysterically. Some one once bet me that I couldn’t moon walk across the Tabernacle stage he says. We think he was trying to reverently take on that bet. But we’ll let you be the judge.
Just the one he says, in 1959 for Battle Hymn of the Republic. We are shocked. Does the choir submit all their albums for nomination we ask? Yes they do he says. They actually submitted I Want Jesus to Walk with Me, which was one of the songs I did with the choir. That was heart warming to me. It was evident that they do want to appeal to a larger audience, of all the songs they could submit they sent a Negro Spiritual. We didn’t win anything for it, but it really meant something to me even though nothing happened.
When I was a little older than sixteen I saw them in England. I only went because someone hooked me up with a ticket. I just didn’t think that me a kid who listened to Hip Hop and Motown would even connect with this music. Prior to seeing the choir my Bishop and everybody at church had been asking, Alex, are you going to go on a mission? I just couldn’t say yes to them, I had one foot in that world and one foot in the secular world. Well anyways, I went to the concert. And it changed me, I felt the spirit so strong, and I knew I was going on a mission. That’s why I tell people, don’t sweat, you’ll feel the spirit. It truly is the Lord’s choir. I’ve had the Spirit testify of that on many, many occasions. That’s why I’m still here. I have ADHD, I don’t stick to things for too long. Even my Mother says, Alex it has been three years and you are still in the choir. That’s a great testimony, says Sista Beehive, especially for those who say Mormons don’t musically sound like us, it lets them know that the spirit can still speak to you even through the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Who is in charge of teaching Motab rhythm and how to clap, asks Sista Laurel. No one he says laughing, it’s a free for all. Some get it and some don’t. So tell us, what is happening with your solo career, Sista Laurel says. Well, I like the way Sister Gladys Knight said it, “I want to bring a little more chocolate to the vanilla.” As members of the Church we deserve to have every style. If you go to an ice cream store you would be mad if you go in and they only serve one flavor. You would say I’m going to Baskin Robins where they have pistachio and rocky road, bubble gum, all that. We do deserve variety, that’s what I look forward to. I want to be a part of that store. I just want there to be some of my flavor. I’m not saying that I’m the answer. You know when I realized that, that I wasn’t the answer and started trying to be a part of the team, I felt the spirit more in my music and people felt the spirit more through my music.
Anyways, I love that Motown flavor Smokey Robinson and the Temptations, Motown that’s where I developed a love for music. So I did a Motown album, my original songs, just with that style and feel to it. Cause I get sick of the stuff that’s out there today. I wanted to do some good solid music, but the strangest thing happened to me when I was working on this album. I had a really strong impression to do a hymns album, I wasn’t interested and I kept fighting the feeling. I thought I don’t want to do that, nobody has asked me to. I was doing the Motown album and I kept getting a feeling of guilt, so I finally went to the studio and chose some hymns. I had eight songs and I needed three more and I couldn’t think of what songs to do. I was just stuck there. I get a phone call from Elder Ballard. His secretary says, he wants to speak to you. I’m thinking, there’s only two reasons an Apostle calls someone…. (to be continued) READ PART 2 HERE
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be singing Negro Spirituals during Music and the Spoken Word on Sunday, January 17, 2010. To find out more about how you can attend or listen to this broadcast visit: http://www.mormontabernaclechoir.org/info/matsw.
To Learn more about Alex Boye visit: http://www.alexboye.com/ or http://www.facebook.com/alexboye.music
Your Sistas in the Gospel,