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Boyce Avenue – Passionate, Positive, Heartfelt, Acoustic and Just Real

Alejandro Manzano of Boyce Avenue playing at The Union Transfer in Philadelphia.  Photo copyright 2014 Deborah Wagner.

Alejandro Manzano of Boyce Avenue playing at The Union Transfer in Philadelphia. Photo copyright 2014 Deborah Wagner.

Boyce Avenue – Passionate, Positive, Heartfelt, Acoustic and Just Real

by Ally Abramson

Boyce Avenue. It is a name to learn and remember! Boyce Avenue has blown up the music scene since their debut eight years ago. The band amassed a huge following on social media sites and keeps up with fans daily. Starting out on YouTube back in 2007, Boyce Avenue has racked up over six million subscribers, becoming one of the most-followed performers on YouTube.

Boyce Avenue consists of three brothers: Fabian, Daniel and Alejandro Manzano, who have been performing together for as long as they can remember. Their music has an alternative rock and pop style, but they mix that style up with various covers on their YouTube channel. Boyce Avenue has toured all around the world to over 26 countries. Lead singer Alejandro Manzano was able to find time in their busy schedule to answer some questions for us.

How did you guys come up with your band name?

The band name was a combination of the two streets that we grew up on, my brothers and I. Sometimes you’ll hear a band that picks a band name arbitrarily or random or whatever but we have so many fond memories and we wanted our band name to symbolize all of that. We thought it was a cool idea to combine these two street names where the majority of those memories were made.

How do you select music to cover on your channel?

It’s kind of a balance. We like a balanced approach. Some of the songs may be modern hip that we’ve heard on the radio or on YouTube. We feel [it] could be a challenge for us to put our acoustic spin on it, especially if a song has no acoustics in it whatsoever. The other part of it is covering songs that we grew up loving: songs from the eighties, seventies, nineties. Sharing that with our fan base, some of whom are young enough that they might not know them.

Do you find that it’s easier or harder to work on someone else’s material rather than your own?

It depends usually. I think at the end of the day we’ve all been playing music long enough to where we know our strengths, so it almost doesn’t matter if it’s an original or a cover. You have to find that right key or the right instrument that gives that particular message. At the end of the day, it’s about the message. Whether it’s our song or something that someone else wrote, the message transcends the arrangements or production aspect.

I know you guys do a lot of collaborations with other people, so if you could collaborate with anyone, whom would it be?

We really admire and respect Coldplay so even if it was to collaborate with them by doing a tour with them, that would be incredible. We love Justin Timberlake (who doesn’t?). Katy Perry is amazing. I would love to do a song with Ariana Grande because I think she has a very beautiful voice. Those are a few people for sure.

What’s it like making music and touring with your brothers? Do you guys get along well?

Yeah. If we didn’t get along it’d be a disaster. We’ve spoken to other siblings and they know instantly whether it would work or not. For us, we were in the positive direction. We knew it would work because we grew up in a very small house. All three of us actually shared a room for many years. We grew up in tight quarters, knowing how to share and how to get along. Even how to give each other their own space. We learned how to play off each other in music and business; we know each others strength and we don’t get in the way of that. We try to make it shine through. It’s amazing. I personally wouldn’t have it any other way.

Where’s the best place you’ve toured?

We’ve been pretty fortunate in that we’ve toured over twenty-six countries. Every place has it’s own unique thing, so it’s really tough to pick a favorite. I think the country that sticks out to us as such a well rounded country – the venues are always amazing and the fans above all have been awesome – is Australia. That’s such an amazing country overall for us.

You obviously have a very large internet following. When you perform live, you meet fans who have followed you through your channel. What is that like?

What’s funny is that sometimes these fans, especially the really hardcore ones, are like mini celebrities. We see them tweeting at us and we see the little profile picture on Facebook comments and YouTube comments. So we’ll meet them and we’ll be like, “Oh my gosh, you’re so and so from Twitter.” They’re always so shocked that we recognize them, but they’re always there supporting us. I think the cool thing is that we are very close with our fan base, so they know us a notch above other platforms… like if an artist got famous via radio. For us it’s such a visual and online thing that there seems to be a very strong connection.

When you guys started out on YouTube, could you imagine how far you would get?

It’s tough to ever know so early on, so we really didn’t have any idea. Even the platform, I’ll be honest, we weren’t even sure how big YouTube was going to be. The site started in mid 2005 or something and we started watching videos in late 2006 and then in 2007 we decided to start our channel. So it was only about 2 years old at that point. We hoped for the best. I guess that’s pretty much all you can do. We thought it would be great if people would enjoy this content that we put out and share with their friends. We were very blessed that our fan base did that.

You guys put out an EP in April called, “No Limits.” What can you tell us about that?

That was a cool little stepping stone for us. The last original release we put out was a full length album in mid 2010. It’s kind of a unique thing, we don’t have a traditional album cycle like more traditional bands do. We are always putting out content regardless, there’s never a true off period. For us, we just felt like it had been a while since we had done some new original stuff, but we weren’t entirely ready yet for an epic full length album. So that was this cool in-betweener, to give our fans some new material without them having to wait longer for a full release. Currently we are working on some new material with this amazing songwriting team called Espionage. They’ve done a lot of Train, Chris Brown, Beyoncé. They’ve made a lot of music hits and they seem to really understand us so we are working on a lot of other original material with them. It’s a cool kind of different sound for us and it’s very collaborative for us as brothers.

What was the inspiration behind the title of the EP?

One thing that we found is that, especially online, in every band’s career there are hurdles. Sometimes they can be overwhelming. For us, we signed to a label. For my whole life I was thinking, “Wow, that would be the greatest day.” Actually the greatest day was getting off the label and finding ourselves through that and reconnecting with our fans. For us, it was like anytime we thought YouTube has a limit, or maybe our touring, we found we were able to burst through that every single time. We figure with the internet and the support of our fans there truly are no limits to what we can do together.

You guys have been around for a while now, how would you say your band has changed over the years?

I think we learn a lot from touring. Those first few years on YouTube it was just putting content online, but now we have grown a lot as a band on the road. I feel like our sound overall is more dynamic. We get to take more chances with our sound and evolve and grow with our fans, especially with being on our own label.

What is your favorite song that you perform on tour?

We’re really liking this new original song that we did with that songwriting duo. It’s called “Be Somebody.” It’s always kind of a scary moment to introduce a new song live, because nobody has ever heard it before. We’ve heard from our opener Kris Allen and fans on Twitter that everyone seems to be liking it. That was a huge confidence booster for us, inspiring us even more to keep writing and get back into the studio.

If you were to describe your band’s music in ten words or less what would you say?

I would say: Passionate, positive, heartfelt and just real. Oh, and acoustic!

Copyright ©2014 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: October 28, 2014.

Photos ©2014 Deborah Wagner.

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