Boyce Avenue bringing their YouTube-bred fame to EMU
Among those covers have been Rhianna’s “Umbrella,” Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love” and Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.”
Along the way, they also released a few EPs of similar stripe. Then, in 2009 and 2010, they released a pair of albums, “All You're Meant to Be” and “All We Have Left,” featuring their original songs, also in the acoustic-rock vein, with the strum strum often accompanied by piano.
The Florida-based band—which comes to Eastern Michigan University’s Pease Auditorium in Ypsilanti on Saturday—is made up of three brothers—Alejandro, Fabian, and Daniel Manzano.
They first formed the band in 2000, when Alejandro (lead vocals, guitar, piano) and Fabian (guitar, vocals), were only 14 and 16 years old, respectively. Three months after forming, after adding older brother Daniel (bass, percussion, vocals), they performed their first show, at their local high school. They would perform there many times while honing their talents.
But the brothers weren’t certain about a career in music, so when the time came, they went off to get an education: Fabian pursued an Architecture degree at the University of Florida and Daniel went to Harvard Law School.
After Daniel got his law degree, though, they picked up where they left off, with Daniel returning to Florida and taking over bass duties, while and Alejandro, at age 18, wrote the group’s first original song, “Find Me.”
In 2007-’08, Boyce Avenue made an impression at various songwriting competitions. They qualified as a Southeast Semifinalist in the 2007 IMWS competition, and their song “All The While” was selected as a Semi-Finalist in the 2007 International Songwriting Competition and as one of twelve Lennon Award Winners in the 2007 John Lennon Songwriting Contest. “Find Me” was chosen as a finalist in the Pop category for the U.S.A. Songwriting Competition; and “Hear Me Now (piano acoustic)” was selected as a finalist in the Best Group/Duo category for the IAMA songwriting competition and as a finalist in the 2008 International Songwriting Competition.
After recording the “All You’re Meant To Be” album, they launched a worldwide tour in 2009.
In an interview with SFGate.com. Daniel Manzano reflected on the group’s path to wide exposure via the YouTube clips.
“We had been playing cover songs during our shows, because that's how most bands start out, but we always had creative musical ideas,” he said. “We saw people had been doing it successfully and getting some exposure, so we thought, ‘Why not try it?’
“We got lucky,” conceded Manzano. “Our second video was the Rihanna ‘Umbrella’ cover, and somehow that just took off for us. But the biggest eye-opener for us was when we went to play four shows in the Philippines. We knew there was something there because we were getting a lot of comments in Tagalog on our videos. But we didn't know the scope of it. It was just insanity. That was the moment we realized it had gone international.”
But when deciding which songs to cover, the group didn’t just randomly grab titles from Billboard chart.
Manzano said they wanted to “just do good songs—songs we were listening to on the radio or we had grown up with. We can pull out a certain emotional strain in a song that a lot of people might consider poppy or frivolous, like ‘Teenage Dream.’
Kevin Ransom, a freelance writer who covers music for AnnArbor.com, can be reached at KevinRansom10@aol.com.