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Alex Boye sings cover song for Pepsi's new YouTube channel

"We need him in NYC in two days," were the words I heard on a very unexpected phonecall from MTV in September. Alex was asked to reinterpret rising star Jidenna's latest song in connection with Pepsi's new YouTube channel, and to have it done in a week. I was panicking. Alex was jumping up and down. He had three major concerts that week, and we needed the paychecks. We were blindsided.

But these are the situations where Alex flies! He reminded me of Nephi when he said he was "led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which [he] should do." And just like that, my African Nephite was on a flight to New York about to sing a song he had never heard, blindfolded.

With next to no time to prepare a cover song, let alone even listen to the original, Alex prayed like crazy on the flight. When Alex arrived at the studio, he was called in to film an interview and was immediately hounded with questions — how would he reinterpret the song, what his ideas for the music video would be, who his influencers were, what instruments he would use, and most importantly, when it would be finished.

He said to me that he literally felt the Lord saying to him, "I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left." And it's a good thing because the only thing on his right and left hand was a video camera. Except it was in his face recording his every move.

The song he was given to reinterpret by Jidenna, entitled "Little Bit More," is rather scandalous in nature. Alex was told that changing the lyrics would cause a copyright problem and that there was zero time to deal with any of that as there was a deadline to get the episode out. So Alex was given the hefty task of keeping the lyrics (and his family-friendly reputation), but changing their meaning.

The original music video shows Jidenna with a scantily clad young lady doing some serious pelvic thrusting. Jidenna sings:

"And I'ma need the whole night And a little bit more They don't know how you like it And I'ma need the whole night And a little bit more."

When we heard the lyrics, we both looked at each other wide-eyed, and I couldn't help but remark, "Well maybe he just needs a little more sleep. Maybe that's what he's referring to. Heaven knows I need more sleep. He just needs more sleep."

Now you have to understand that for the last 15 years Alex has been a huge advocate for clean music and has been doing firesides all over the world pushing for clean lyrics and that "you are what you think about, and what you listen to." The last thing Alex wants to ever do is change his standards, become a hypocrite and essentially disappoint the thousands of youth who look up to him as a black man who doesn't condone nasty music.

Still blindfolded, he prayed for help, put his trust in the Lord and his shoulder to the wheel, and cleverly formulated the song into more of an African "doo-wop" tribal song by incorporating African chanting and scatting, changing the dialect, slurring some words and pounding his drum. "I'ma need the whole night drumming," he told me later that day. Alex didn't waste a second and asked if there was an empty studio where he could record his version.

Just moments after finishing with only his drum and the sound engineer, Jidenna and his entourage entered the studio to hear it. As soon as that drumbeat dropped, the crowded room erupted in cheers and dance, all voicing their collective approval of Alex's rendition of "Little Bit More." A little more drumming, of course.

Jidenna questioned when he did it, where he did it, who helped with the vocals, who were the drummers, how long it took, etc. Alex simply replied, "I did it right here with my voice and my drum (and the spirit of the Lord)." For Jidenna, the experience was all but jaw-dropping. As it was for me.

Sometimes I don't think I realize the gift that is so uniquely his — to take a song, a scandalous one no less, change it, keep the songwriters happy, and make it even better than the original. And he does it again and again. But he never doubts the source of his success.

As an orphan, he was forced to live "blindfolded," not knowing when his next meal was or where he would sleep next at times. The blindfold has slowly loosened it's knot on his life as he has learned to trust the Spirit in these unique situations. He never knew beforehand the things which he should do, but like Nephi, entered uncharted territory, relied solely upon God, and put his trust in him — which, at the end of the day, is something we all could use "a little bit more" of.

Julie Boye is a graduate of the University of Utah and mother of five kids 6 and under. To watch their family shenanigans, go to YouTube for their vlog entitled "The Boye Family Jewels." Contact her at