YouTube sensation Boyce Avenue are set to debut in Mumbai | art and culture | Hindustan Times
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YouTube sensation Boyce Avenue are set to debut in Mumbai

Their cover of the Friends theme song has more hits than the original. Meet the YouTube sensation, boy band Boyce Avenue, ahead of their India debut gig this weekend

HT48HRS_Special Updated: Feb 11, 2016 20:15 IST
Poorva Joshi
Boyce Avenue

(From left) Brothers Daniel , Alejandro and Fabian Manzano.

The theme song from the popular sitcom Friends, recorded by The Rembrandts, released in 1994. The fast-paced, rock ‘n’ roll number, I’ll Be There For You, captured millions of hearts as the series became a worldwide hit. The first YouTube upload of the song, however, happened much later, in 2011 and currently boasts of 2 million views.

There is also an acoustic version of the song. Backed only by a bass guitar, without the drums and the signature four claps, this version released only a year after the original hit the internet. The cover version replaces the energetic feel of the original track, with a mellow sound. Recorded by the boy band Boyce Avenue, it boasts of more than nine million views on YouTube.

A personal favourite for the band, courtesy “the nostalgia it brings along”, it is just one of the hundred odd acoustic covers the band has created since its inception in 2004. Their other acclaimed covers are of songs by Michael Jackson, Goo Goo Dolls and Coldplay.

Boyce Avenue comprises three brothers: Daniel (36), Fabian (32) and Alejandro Manzano (30). The band is a social media sensation and has close to 10 million followers across social media platforms. They are set to perform in the city for the first time, this weekend.

A family affair

Having shared a room throughout their childhood, the brothers have always shared a more-than-professional relationship with each other. “We got along as brothers. Fabian and I were probably more mischievous than Alejandro, as he was the quiet one. But we always respected each other,” says Daniel.

They grew up in a musical environment and realised their calling quite early on. “We were once trying to sing along to songs when we realised that Alejandro could sing really well. Then, he and Fabian started playing the guitar and I joined in picking up any instrument I could find. Our first performance was at a talent show at our high school,” adds Daniel.

The decision to go professional, however, happened much later. In the early 2000s, each brother wanted to pursue a different academic career. In fact, Daniel is a graduate from the Harvard Law School and clocked in 40 to 50 hours a week at his day job as a lawyer. He admits that had it not been for their musical career, he would have owned a small-scale business, Fabian would have been a graphic designer and Alejandro would have been a music teacher.

“But I always knew that I wanted to pursue music. Now, I get to do both: run a business, and create art with my brothers,” he says. Relying on his professional experience, Daniel took over as the manager when they released their first video track on YouTube in 2007, a cover of Carrie Underwood’s So Small. Eight years since it was uploaded, it has been viewed over two million times.

Long way from home

For a band that started jamming in their basement in Florida, USA, the boys have come a long way. They credit their success to YouTube and the unprecedented fan base they captured through it. “The biggest challenge in today’s time is being heard. Though we knew the quality of our music was good, the obstacle was figuring out the best way to share it. I guess we got lucky through YouTube,” says Daniel.

Apart from 14 cover EPs, the band also released an album — No Limits — featuring their original compositions, in 2014. An ode to their childhood, the album draws inspiration from their acoustic roots. “We wanted the album to capture the past few years of our lives as well as the return to the kind of music we were writing when we first started,” he says. After experimenting with a few pop tracks for their world tour in 2013, the band has since returned to their signature acoustic style.

Now, the band is performing in the city as part of Stage42, a multi-city performing arts festival. “We are excited. Indian hospitality is world-renowned and we are here to experience it as well as to hang out with our ever-loving fans,” says Daniel.

Go for it

What: Boyce Avenue will perform on February 12, 10pm

Where: Blue Forg, Todi Mill, Mathuradas Mills Compound, Lower Parel

Tickets: Rs 2,500 on insider.in

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