Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

“Circle of Life” Featuring Alex Boyé Surpasses 1 Million Views

The famously chanted Zulu words from the opening line to “Circle of Life” refer to the arrival of a lion. And the video for “Circle of Life” featuring YouTube star Alex Boyé is performing with the strength of a lion, recently surpassing one million views. The song is from Disney’s 1994 animated film The Lion King, with music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice.

In addition to being a former member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Boyé was the guest artist for the Choir’s 2017 Pioneer Day concerts. In a previous blog post about songs from The Lion King, we recounted the story of when Boyé was first asked to record “Circle of Life” by former Choir director Craig Jessop for a 2007 album. Boyé described:

“When I moved to Utah, which has been the most amazing experience of my life, by the way, I began performing, and I’d send my mom recordings home, you know, to London, and telling her the things that I was doing. Every time she’d call me back and say, ‘Tunde [that’s my Nigerian name], you need to put some more of your African roots, our African roots, into the music.’ And I’d say, ‘Mom, I live in Utah! Nobody wants to listen to African music.’”

Down the road, Boyé got a call from Craig Jessop to do “Circle of Life,” which led him to join the Choir. Years later, when his solo career started to take off, particularly after recording “Peponi,” an African-style cover of Coldplay’s “Paradise” with the Piano Guys, Boyé said, “I remember calling my mother excited about this new direction and how much people were loving it, and you know what she said; she said to me, ‘You stupid boy! I’ve been telling you for twenty years to put that [African] music in [your music]. Twenty years!’ So the moral of the story is listen to your mother.”