BY: JOHN BOGNA
Boyce Avenue uploaded a cover of the Goo Goo Dolls song , “Before Its Too Late” to YouTube six years ago. Now, the three brothers that make up Boyce Avenue (Alejandro, Fabian, and Daniel Manzano) have uploaded dozens of more videos. They have garnered millions of additional views with covers ranging from Boyz 2 Men to John Mayer alongside their catalog of original songs like “Broken Angel” and “Every Breath.” Alejandro provides lead vocal and instrumentation while Fabian and Daniel bring the backup vocals, percussion and other instrumentation as required.
Originally from Florida, all three brothers are college-educated (one at Harvard and the other two at University of Florida) and made time for music during their education in the early years. They self-produced their first album, and released it on their own label by the name of 3 Peace Records.
Once the band established a subscriber base on YouTube, Boyce Avenue took its music directly to their fans with live shows relatively early on. This may have been due in part to the fact that Boyce Avenue could be confident in their fan base. They had tested the waters with their online music, and knew that people would actually show up to their show. The members were also already used to a no-frills acoustic performance style, so a live show probably wasn’t a drastic change.
It may also be that in an era of hype, self-produced acts that start on places like YouTube have a certain honesty about them. You know that what you’re watching is actual talent; to differentiate yourself from the rabble using nothing but a camera and your voice, talent is a necessity. Most people just starting out don’t have the money for programs or micsthat put effects on their voice, either.
Lately, the YouTube music community has been getting more attention. Relatively unknown artists like Julia Nunes are brought to the attention of established artists like Ben Folds and the musical community at large. In her case it resulted in the opportunity to play a show with Folds, and later Nunes accompanied Weezer for a song onstage at Bonnaroo. Another YouTube channel with the handle KurtHugoSchneider recently collaborated with Jason Derulo on a cover of his song “The Other Side.”
These days, Boyce Avenue’s videos have a crisp, clean production quality, guest appearances from other musicians, and more creative instrumentation as the band has more resources to work with. It adds to the charm of bands like this that their fans can watch them grow and become more polished in a way that before, only those that could regularly attend live shows had the privilege of doing. The three brothers have come quite a long way since that first Goo Goo Dolls cover video of Alejandro and a guitar, a sheet hung behind him for a backdrop and a University of Florida t-shirt on.