Dr Patti Boulaye OBE
Visiting Teaching Fellow at Middlesex University Business School Faculty of Professional & Social Sciences Patti is a singer, author, actress, public speaker, lecturer, painter, show producer, wife, a proud mother of two children and has a cherished grandson.
2017 saw Patti awarded a Visiting Teaching Fellowship (Middlesex University Business SchoolFaculty of Professional & Social Sciences).
She was awarded an OBE in Her Majesty The Queen's Birthday Honours List for her charity work in the UK & Sub-Saharan Africa. Patti is famous for her singing and stage appearances, but little is known about her charity work. For over 30 years Patti has supported many charities in the UK. Her experience with the charities came in handy when she launched her charity Support For Africa (SFA) at the Royal Albert Hall with 3000 Gospel Singers and Stars of stage and screen. SFA has built 5 healthcare clinics and a school in Africa. Patti was on HM The Queen's Golden Jubilee Creative Committee, for which she organized and lead her 5000 Gospel Singers down The Mall.
in October 2018 Patti was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree for services to The Arts and Education by the Joint Council of Churches just after she appeared in the BBCTV series “Celebrity Master Chef” among other national TV shows. 2017 marked the 46th Anniversary of Patti’s West End debut in the musical “Hair”
'Aretha & Me'
Following the last two years of sell-outs of her show “Billie & Me” Patti returns with her brand new one-woman show “Aretha and Me”. In this fascinating show, Patti compares and contrasts her life with that of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, whose celebrated career included 17 Top 10 singles and 20 No.1 R&B hits during her 5 decades of recording.
Patti will be singing some of her favourite Aretha Franklin numbers including Respect, Say A Little Prayer, Chain of Fools and Think and many more with some of her own favourites which are special to her.
'Billie & Me' UK Tour
Following her sold out performances at The Pheasantry, award-winning singer and musical theatre star Patti Boulaye brings to the Crazy Coqs, her wonderful, moving one-woman show 'Billie and Me,' in which she discusses the parallels of her life and career with that of the great singer Billie Holiday. The late Billie Holiday's life, songs and cause of her death, made a strong impact on modern day performers like Patti and it was many of Holiday's songs and performances that increased Patti's love of jazz music. In 'Billie & Me', Patti performs some of her favourite and well -known songs of Holiday's such as That Ole Devil Called Love, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Strange Fruit, God Bless the Child and many more.
This year Patti published her remarkable and moving autobiography 'The Faith of A Child' that charts her riveting life story through wealth, poverty and civil war, to show-business stardom and success in Britain and her birth country Nigeria. Patti's West End debut was in the musical Hair. The show changed the course of Patti's life, when at the age of 17 she joined the cast after arriving in London from Nigeria in the early 70's. There was a revival of the show in October 2017 in London to celebrate it's landmark anniversary.
In January 2016 Patti was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of The British Empire) in Her Majesty The Queen's Birthday Honours List for her charity work in the UK & Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Black Mikado (Yum Yum)
While holidaying in Britain during her teens, (Patti was then known as Patricia Ebigwei) she was launched into show business by a comical twist of fate. She saw this as providence and set about learning all she could about every aspect of the entertainment industry.
Patti has starred in many top West End productions. She played the part of Yum Yum in 'The Black Mikado' at the Cambridge Theatre. Kenny Lane of the Gilbert & Sullivan Discography wrote; “Patricia Ebigwei's version of "The Sun Whose Rays..." is, the performance against which all others must now be judged. It is one of those remarkable interpretations that make all others pale and unsatisfactory by comparison. No G and S lover is unmoved by this sensational piece of music making. Her version is a slow, erotic, languid ballad of vanity and sexual self-satisfaction that makes the conventional renditions seem prissy and just plain silly”. Following “The Black Mikado” Patti changed her name from Patricia Ngozi Ebigwei after a chance meeting with Evelyn Laye, known affectionately as “Boo” to her friends.
Carmen Jones (Carmen)
Patti starred as “Carmen” in Simon Callow’s award winning success “Carmen Jones” at the Old Vic Theatre. Again this role brought Patti great critical acclaim and she is credited with restoring “Carmen Jones” to the top of the Daily Telegraph Best Musicals List. Patti also played Carmen on the world tour for three years. She was said to be the best Carmen Jones he has ever seen by the great Maestro Henry Lewis himself.
Patti has produced her own version of “Blues in the Night” at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley and, the same year, concentrating on her ability as an actress, she starred as “Nurse Hanniman” in Larry Kramer’s gory and controversial “The Destiny of Me” again for brilliant director Simon Callow and also starred in two workshop productions “The Ten Commandments” and “Bronte” at The Place and Cockpit Theatres.
Other West End shows include 'Hair' at the Shaftsbury Theatre, 'Two Gentlemen from Verona' Phoenix Theatre, 'Jesus Christ Superstar' at the Palace Theatre. Patti was Angie in 'Follow The Star' directed by Wendy Toye at Chichester. During this season Patti opened as “Bloody Mary” in “South Pacific” directed by Phil Wilmott in the West End for a season, to resoundingly good critics. She was Judy Garland in 'The Night They Buried Judy Garland' and 'The Ten Commandments' both at The Shaw Theatre directed by Phill Wilmott. She also played the part of 'Aladdin' in the pantomime at The Hackney Empire.
Patti's tours have included Japan, as Carmen Jones, Far Eastern countries, USA, Africa, and Europe. She produced, choreograph and starred in the initial production of her self-penned dance Musical “Patti Boulaye’s SUN DANCE”, inspired by African legend, folklore, ritual and nature. Patti is unique in her lifelong study of African history and local customs. A sensational cast of 30 took enraptured audiences on a stirring voyage to the heart of the African continent with a magical display of vibrant colour, dance and song and ground shaking rhythm and energy. The critically acclaimed production ran for a very successful six weeks season in London.
Patti was voted “Female Vocalist of the Year” in the prestigious BBC TV Club Mirror awards. There followed top-flight cabaret and recording engagements around the world, including “Talk of the Town” and Savoy Hotel in London. Patti danced with The Scottish Ballet at the Gala re-opening of His Majesty’s Theatre for HRH Prince Charles. She has toured her cabaret show extensively throughout the UK and other European countries. In between West End and TV appearances. Patti had a cabaret season at the Café Royal Green Room. Her season there is generally regarded as the best show they have presented. She has also produced musical presentations for various companies.
Continuing her return to live music, Patti went to Jordan where she provided the cabaret for HRH Prince Hassan’s 50th Birthday and birthday celebrations for HRH Prince Rashid and HRH Princess Sarwat, Patti was also invited by the Prince to attend the wedding of Princess Rahma. She was personally asked by (Olusegun Obasanjo,) the democratically elected President of Nigeria to sing at his Inauguration Ceremony.
Recently, Patti traveled her 'Motown Rock' and 'Dance Night' shows for three years. In the last few years she has performed her autobiographical show at private events and venues including top London Cabaret Clubs; The London Hippodrome, The Pheasantry and the Crazy Coqs. and she is touring her one-woman shows 'Billie & Me' and 'Aretha & Me'.
After 3 years of starring in top London West End shows Patti changed her name from Patricia Ebigwei to Patti Boulaye and appeared on ATV's Talent show 'New Faces'. She was the only contestant on the TV series to be awarded maximum points by the panel of judges. These were unprecedented full marks in the 5 year history of the show. Patti went on to win the All Winners Final Gala Show. Since then Patti has made over 200 TV appearances including Royal Command Performances at the London Palladium. Patti’s first TV production experience was her own TV series 'The Patti Boulaye Show' on Channel 4. She starred as Sister Pearl in the long running BBCTV Series, “Brothers and Sisters”. Patti played the part of Charlotte opposite Lenny Henry in 'The Fosters'. She starred in (12) of BBC TV’s annual “Joy to the World” Christmas programme, produced by Major Sir Michael Parker KCVO CBE at the Royal Albert Hall, with Sir Cliff Richard, Roger Moore and other internationally acclaimed stars. In the Eurovision Song Contest hosted in Birmingham by BBC TV, Patti lead her 'Sun Dance' troupe of dancers in a fiery African dance to 'Jupita' from Holst's 'The Planets'. In 2016 Patti appeared in BBCTWO' award winning series "The Real Marigold Hotel" which was filmed in India. Patti took a journey of a lifetime for the BBC travel documentary series 'The Real Marigold Hotel'. She appeared in two episodes of "Pointless". Patti appeared as a contestant in a series of BBC's very popular 'Celebrity MasterChef' and later in an episode of BBC One's 'Money For Nothing', and Channel 5's "When Talent Shows Go Horribly Wrong".
In September 2018 Patti launched her internet streaming chat show “Life With Patti Boulaye” in which she encouraged celebrities and successful people from all walks of life to share with her and her audience challenges they had overcome in their life career and how they had endured difficult times to show young people that difficulties can be surmounted, but it may not be easy.
Public Speaker & Events
Patti s a regular inspirational speaker, with over 100 engagements notably including guest speaker at the Women Federation For World Peace (WFWP) Conference held at the House of Lords, compering and singing at the Rotary International “East Meets West” Celebration Variety Show at the Birmingham Symphony Hall. Patti was invited by Dr Bodeker of Green College, Oxford, as president of Support for Africa to speak at the Conference for the Worlds Scientists on ‘The Use of Herbal Medicine in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS’. As a Peace Ambassador Patti was a guest speaker at the Universal Peace Federation Conference at Abuja. She was also guest speaker at RSA’s ‘Women in The Big Society” debate and lots of other speaking engagements.
Patti has starred several times in “Music on Fire” the Fireworks Proms at Sandhurst. As a guest of Michael Jackson, Patti attended and sang at his 45th Birthday Celebrations in LA. Patti has sung at prestigious events including Wembley Stadium for the England V France football finals.
Patti’s own events at the Royal Albert Hall for her personal charity, Support for Africa, were so successful that she was invited to join the official Golden Jubilee Entertainment Committee for Her Majesty The Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. As a member of The Committee Patti got together and led a 5000 strong gospel choir for the 4th June Jubilee procession down the Mall in front of Her Majesty the Queen in 2002. She wrote a song “Jubilee Song (Celebrate Good News)” as a tribute to Her Majesty, which enabled the 5000 singers to dance and sing during the procession. “Patti and her choir put on a truly amazing display as they joined thousands of other performers in front of over two and a half million crowd, the world’s press and media and the hundreds of millions of people who tuned in to their televisions to watch the climax to the Jubilee Weekend Celebrations”. Patti was the Face of Lux Soap for 29yrs in Africa.
Patti is the Founder and Managing Director of BIPADA Academy www.bipada.com which has an enviable list of experts on Life Skills, Emotional, Social, International Etiquette and Personal Development. Bipada helps clients build self confidence and turn their lives around. Bipada has held etiquette programmes at Oxford University, Middlesex University, Central London and Buckinghamshire. She is a Champion and Patron of The Arts Award UK and a Patron of Eastside Educational Trust. Patti is a member of the Board of Governors of The British American Drama Academy (BADA) which is affiliated with Oxford University and Yale University in the US. For the past seven years she has been a visiting lecturer at Middlesex University to final year students at the Business School Faculty.
Patti has just published her memoirs "The Faith of a Child" about her life in Nigeria during the Biafra War to life in show business. She was Guest featured author at The Financial Times Oxford Literary Festival 2016 and she will be giving a talk on her memoirs at the Off the Shelf Literary Festival in Sheffield in Oct 2016.
Patti had leading roles in three movies including the part of “Bisi” in the most financially successful African film “Bisi Daughter of the River”. Patti starred in her first British film “The Music Machine” for director Ian Sharp, followed by “Hussy” with Helen Mirren.
She has undertaken eight London exhibitions of her paintings details of which are set out in the art page.
Over the years, Patti has tirelessly worked for charities and served on the committees of eight British charities and she has been a patron of five, including Eastside Educational Trust, Barnardo’s, SOS and Women Into Business. Patti was also a Founder Member and Patron of (HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO CD) Enterprise Club for GENESIS, the facilitator organization for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the promotion of Small Business. She is also on the Advisory Board of The Iman-Foundation Worldwide, promotes dialogue and challenges extremism to bring about change. Patti is a Patron of The Commonwealth Resound as well as The British Monarchist Society.
During a visit to Africa and by another twist of fate, Patti was introduced to 60 babies who were saved from being buried alive because they were HIV positive. On her return to England Patti was determined to do something about the affect and stigma of HIV on the lives of African villagers. She formed a charity Support For Africa and asked the Rt. Hon Sir John Major KG CH and other prominent persons to be Patrons, all of whom agreed and her charity has built 5 clinics in Africa and helped to build a School in Lesotho with Prince Harry’s Charity Sentebale. Patti hired the Royal Albert Hall for a charity event, which she presented and organized. This was the first of her sell-out “Reaching Out For Africa” events, which she co-produced with Major Sir Michael Parker KCVO CBE at the Royal Albert Hall, starring Sir Cliff Richard, Gabrielle, Uri Geller, Patti herself and BONEY M amongst others and featured 3,000 Gospel singers whom Patti put together herself. The event was supported by The Rt. Hon Michael Portillo, Frederick Forsyth CBE, The Rt. Hon Iain Duncan Smith, The Rt. Hon Paul Boateng, The Rt. Hon. Lord Greville Janner QC and the new Miss World. Patti’s second sell out Royal Albert Hall charity event was Football Reaching Out For Africa (FROFA) and starred, among others, footballer Didier Drogba of Chelsea FC, Simon Callow, Boney M, Christopher Biggins, Greg Dyke, David James and The Rt. Hon. Charles Kennedy. Patti also produced 'Scotland Reaching Out For Africa' supported by Lord McConnell the then First Minister and Alex Salmond the current First Minister of Scotland, Football manager Alex McLeish, Leo Sayer, Mazie Willams and Boney M.
These concerts were a great success for the charity enabling Support For Africa (SFA) to build the 5 self-sustaining general healthcare clinics, three in Nigeria, two in Cameroon and the Sentebale school in Lesotho. SFA has donated to Sentebale’s project in Mamahato, Lesotho. The School was officially opened by Prince William and Prince Harry on 17th June 2010. Sentebale is the charity founded by Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho. The school is run by the Government of Lesotho. In 2002 Patti arranged for singer Michael Jackson to make an appearance to raise funds for Support For Africa during his visit to the UK.
Apart from her live shows (she is planning her first Jazz Tour in 2017) Patti’s main focus in recent years has been her work on changing the lives of young adults through her lectures and training sessions on Personal Development, Soft Skills and general Well-being.
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