Whether members of the community or students at Dixie State University, fans new and old gathered to see Alex Boyé perform on Saturday.
Jordon Sharp, chief marketing and communication officer, said about 4,000 people were in attendance at the Burns Arena on Saturday.
According to his personal website, Boyé hails from London and was raised by his Nigerian mother. He rose to popularity in the U.K. as the lead singer for the boy band “Awesome” and has been performing ever since. In recent years, he’s focused on spreading his African heritage through his music.
In conjunction with his planned concert tour, Boyé agreed to shoot a music video featuring various talents from the area and showcasing the beautiful locales of southern Utah, while focusing on the opportunities provided by higher education — particularly at DSU.
“We put this story line together of a student coming to the United States and finding out what his passions are,” Sharp said. “Alex Boyé was a great person to help tell that story — we’re telling the story of Dixie State and our students through the wonderful africanized music of Alex Boyé.”
Roger Hale, assistant professor of music and director of DSU’s choirs, was asked to provide a group of students to record some of the backup vocals for the video.
“They wanted to feature academics [in the music video],” Hale said. “This student comes on campus not sure that he can succeed…little by little he starts seeing all the opportunities that are available.”
Filming of the video took place over the course of a week, and Sharp estimated that around 500 people and 15 locations are featured in it.
Boyé spent the week in southern Utah and hosted the Fire & Ice Gala held by DSU on Friday.
“[The gala] is our biggest fundraiser for needs-based scholarships,” Sharp said. “He’s been here for a week, and he’s helped us not only create this music video that talks about finding our dreams, but then [Friday] we raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to actually provide money for those students to live their dreams.”
The most lucrative item auctioned off was a private concert put on for the winner by Boyé. Sharp said the auction was won for $40,000.
Boyé wrapped up his week with the concert on Saturday where he performed for nearly two hours. His performance was a mixture of original music and covers of popular artists like Michael Jackson and Elton John. Boyé also showcased some of his most popular music videos.
Throughout the concert, he paused to address the audience, detailing stories of his childhood, mother and his successful journey for U.S. citizenship. His message was one of hope, equality and being yourself in the face of adversity.
“One thing I’ve noticed is that we’re all struggling,” Boyé said. “No matter how pretty we look, handsome we look on the outside…We’re all going through something. Be careful how you talk to each other.”
For his final songs, Boyé invited various groups from DSU and the community to join him on stage and thanked them for participating in his new music video.
“I cannot wait for you to see this video,” Boyé said. “It’s going to blow you away. It’s the best thing I’ve ever been a part of, and I’m not just saying that because I’m right here.”
Among the groups invited to the stage were an inter-school children’s group made up of students from intermediate schools in the area called the Fusion Show Choir, DSU’s chamber choir, featured soloists chosen from the university, and DSU’s competition dance team.
Videos and pictures from the music video shoot played in the background while Boyé and those invited debuted his newest song: a cover of “A Million Dreams” from the movie musical “The Greatest Showman.”
Boyé and Sharp invited everyone to share the video once it launches with hopes that it would go viral. Boyé encouraged everyone present to “share the crap out of this video.”
“I wanted to include as many people as possible,” Boyé said. “[DSU] is already on the map, but we want to blow it up.”