Boys Aloud

Boys Aloud

Leon Lee chats to Boyce Avenue's Fabian Manzano about befriending One Direction, car trips and giving back


Boyce Avenue (from left) Fabian, Alejandro and Daniel Manzano
Boyce Avenue (from left) Fabian, Alejandro and Daniel Manzano
Photo: Launch Entertainment
Everyone's a singer. Some people can do it very well, others think they can do it well, but everybody does it. Whether it's at karaoke, in the shower or their bedroom, it's an entertaining way to pass the time. For the Manzano brothers, better known as rock band Boyce Avenue, they've turned their family sing-alongs into a successful career.

The trio's musical journey, which will take them to AsiaWorld-Expo on Saturday, actually began in the family car. During car trips and holidays with their parents, they would spend a lot of time singing.

"We've always loved music, but for us it started off more with singing actually. We always knew that [lead singer] Alejandro can sing very well," says guitarist and middle brother Fabian Manzano. "Then we thought, why don't we learn to play instruments to accompany our voices so that we can actually play songs."

Fabian started learning to play the guitar when he was 16. But things didn't get serious for the trio until 2004, when bassist and eldest brother Daniel moved back home after graduating from Harvard Law School. They began to write music together, and started playing local shows, choosing their band name by combining the names of the two streets they lived on as children.

Two years later, they started their own independent record, 3 Peace Records, and soon began to upload videos of their original songs on YouTube, rather than searching for a record deal with a major label.

"I think we just liked that YouTube was a young company, and we knew that it would continue to grow; and it also allowed us to have more control, more freedom to post whatever we wanted directly to the fans. There was no middleman, and we liked the direct to fan approach."

It proved to be a smart decision, as the views began to climb and their legion of fans began to grow. One of those fans is Louis Tomlinson of One Direction. In fact, the band was the opening act for the popular boy band during their Up All Night Tour in Britain and Ireland, and Fabian hopes their friendship might lead to a future collaboration.

Simon Cowell is another: he asked the brothers to work as vocal coaches for the US version of the television show The X Factor. "It feels good to collaborate with other artists and to give back and try to help an up-and-coming artist," Fabian says.

While it may seem like Boyce Avenue have moved on to bigger and better things, they haven't forgotten where they started from. They continue to post videos on their channel every week.

"Musicians are musicians ... but I do think there is a community of YouTube musicians that we're not embarrassed to say we're a part of. We're really proud to say we're part of it."

But the biggest reason for their success is the brothers' close relationship; only six years separate the three. "I love [being in a band with my brothers]," says Fabian. "We get along very well. Even when we argue, we make up very quickly. We've been brothers our whole lives, we know what it's like to argue and then quickly make up and forgive each other.

"It's a blessing to be in a business, to be in a band, with your family," he says. "Because sometimes you have a job that you're so busy with, you don't get to see your family. But even when we're busy with our job, we're with our family."

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