Right up Dubai's street: Internet sensation Boyce Avenue ready to rock the UAE
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Alejandro, Daniel and Fabian Manzano began their foray into music by posting videocovers of popular and classic songs, and have now garnered over two million subscribers on their YouTube channel, 1.5 million likes on Facebook and 350,000 followers on Twitter. Moving out of the online realm into the real world, they now play covers as well as their original tracks at concerts – their journey boosted with the chance to open for One Direction. Ahead of their performance in Dubai on Saturday, tabloid! caught up with Alejandro and Daniel.
Q: What made you jump onto the YouTube bandwagon?
Alejandro: We’re actually proud to say we were one of the first. There were a few people posting some web cam-type videos of themselves singing already, but we felt like we could be the first independent band to do videos, especially high quality ones and it really worked out, people really took to it.
Q: How did it all take off from there?
A: It was all word of mouth. People would see our videos and just watch them over and over and share them with friends. And as more people subscribed to our channel, the word spread even more.
Q: What does the advent of social media mean for the music industry?
A: It’s hard to say. But what does seem clear is that it is easier than ever now to get your music out to everyone on your own and independently, if you work hard and really utilise social media.
Q: Daniel, how does one go from being a Harvard Law grad to singing in a band?
A: Gracefully, of course. I practiced law for four years before we were able to all focus on only music full time. And I really just didn’t like law, or at least I wasn’t as happy as I knew I could be so even though music can be a more uncertain path. A lot of people thought I was crazy to quit to be in a band. I couldn’t have been happier. I always knew it was the right thing for me to make music and tour with my brothers.
Q: How did the name Boyce Avenue come about?
A: We were looking for a name that had a connection to our childhood and had special meaning to us, so we combined two streets we grew up on and came up with Boyce Avenue.
Q: What was it like opening for One Direction?
A: It was madness. Their fans are crazy, but in the best way possible. It was wild. We almost lost our hearing that tour. But what was awesome is that it felt like they really cared and were connected to what we were playing every night, which is rare when you are doing an opening set. And it was fun to hang out with the 1D guys and their whole team. The guys are fans of ours, and friends so we had some fun times on the road.
Q: What prompted you to set up your own label?
A: The idea behind our label, 3 Peace Records, is pretty simple, we really want to find talent and teach them all we’ve learned - help them avoid mistakes that we made and help them achieve their goals, the same way a family helps each other. The first artist we signed is a singer/songwriter named Hannah Trigwell. She’s an amazing talent from Leeds, UK. Even that fact that she was from the UK we loved because it proved to us that music transcends different cultures and countries. There are no boundaries with music and with the Internet really.
Q: In an increasingly saturated music scene, how do you stay relevant?
A: Nobody on this planet is the same, we all have different opinions and things we believe in. So, if you truly believe yourself to be unique, and you have a message you want to share, then don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. An audience will latch on to honesty. If you are honest and you are true to yourself, then there is an audience out there for you amongst the seven billion people on this planet. I firmly believe that people want to be loyal, so always fight for your fans the way you would a family member or a best friend and they will stand by you.
Q: You have a very hands-on approach to your music career.
A: It is immensely important to us. The amazing thing about social media is how you can service the fans directly. We have the freedom to post anything we want when we want to and we take great pride in that responsibility to our fans. Whether it’s going on tour, posting videos, or even just tweeting and sharing daily experiences with them, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Q: Were the covers as merely a means to get people to listen to your original stuff?
A: Doing covers as well as our originals was all very natural because it was something we had enjoyed doing before YouTube even existed. We look up to and respect a lot of artists and we’ve learned a lot from people that have come before us. So having fun playing our favourite songs was something we always did around our college town and for family and friends, so it just seemed like a natural progression to bring that to a wider audience on YouTube.
Q: You guys are brothers. Do you ever clash in the studio or when writing songs?
A: Yes, we definitely do clash from time to time but honestly we get along incredibly well. Whether writing a song or recording parts, we have tremendous respect for each other and are really blessed to do what we do.
Q: What will your concert in Dubai be like?
A: The concert will be very acoustic-driven. That is one of our favourite styles of music and what our fans seem to really latch on to. We love intimate acoustic shows.
By Yusra Farzan