• Monday, May 27, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

From Nigeria to UK: Patti Boulaye reflects on seven decades of purpose

From Nigeria to UK: Patti Boulaye reflects on seven decades of purpose

Patricia Ngozi Komlosy professionally known as Patti Boulaye a British-Nigerian singer, actress, and artist who rose to prominence in the 1970s and 1980s in the UK might not be a household name among the younger demography but her life journey and diverse career trajectory as described in her heartfelt message shared on her LinkedIn page in commemoration of her 70th birthday is one to be admired and emulated.

In her message on her page, Patti Boulaye said, “I am celebrating my 7th decade on God’s beautiful planet,” she said, expressing gratitude and humility for the milestones and challenges that have shaped her path. Boulaye’s words resonate with a sense of empowerment as she acknowledges her ability to tackle any endeavour with determination and grace, guided by her faith and unwavering conviction.

Born on May 3, 1954, in a taxi that was passing through two towns in Mid-Western Nigeria, Patti Boulaye grew up in Nigeria among eight other siblings and survived the infamous Biafran war from 1967 to 1970.

At the age of 16 she left Nigeria for the UK where she decided to become a nun. However, her London sightseeing which turned into an audition for the original London production of the stage play ‘Hair’ in which she won a part in launched her into her career in musicals.

Patti Boulaye featured in other productio like ‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona’, but landed her first starring role as Yum Yum in ‘The Black Mikado’ under her birth name, Patricia Ebigwei. Other stage productions she has starred in include the title role in ‘Carmen Jones’ at London’s Old Vic Theatre directed by Simon Callow and ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’.

After several years of experience with stage play, Patti Boulaye started to appear in 70s television shows such as ‘New Faces’, ‘The Fosters’, ‘Dempsey and Makepeace’, and ‘Brothers and Sisters’. In 1984, she had her own series called ‘The Patti Boulaye Show’.

Boulaye has made over 200 TV appearances which includes starring in 12 of BBC TV’s annual ‘Joy to the World’ Christmas programmes, produced by Michael Parker of the Royal Albert Hall, with Sir Cliff Richard, Roger Moore and other internationally acclaimed stars.

Back in Nigeria, Boulaye was making waves as she was the face of Lux in Nigeria for 29 years. Her show ‘The Patti Boulaye Show’ was shown on several NTA stations, and in 1999 she was invited to sing for Olusegun Obasanjo during his inauguration.

In 2002 Boulaye was appointed to the Entertainment Steering Committee for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, and led 5000 gospel singers down The Mall in the celebrations singing songs including ‘Celebrate Good News’, especially written by Boulaye for the occasion. In 2003 Boulaye launched her West End musical, Sun Dance, which took twelve years to put together.

With a career as diverse and impactful as hers, Boulaye’s message delves into the essence of her character—a character not suited for conventional employment under human bosses, but rather one that thrives in self-employment, steering her course and answering solely to a higher calling.

Unveiling a glimpse into her extensive portfolio of accomplishments, Boulaye shares her roles as the chairman of a PLC company, an advisory board member of The Iman Foundation Worldwide fostering dialogue and combating extremism, a distinguished board of governors member at BADA affiliated with prestigious institutions like Yale and Oxford Universities, and engagements with HRH Prince Michael of Kent’s Genesis Initiative for SMEs, among numerous other prestigious affiliations.

Her involvement does not stop there. Boulaye’s dedication to humanitarian causes shines through her roles as a patron of eight charities, a visiting teaching Fellow at Middlesex University Business School, and a speaker and lecturer at esteemed universities, colleges, and schools, imparting wisdom on topics ranging from bullying to diversity and respect.

Reflecting on the challenges and time commitments of her multifaceted roles, Boulaye recognises the divine orchestration behind each opportunity.

“Being appointed chairman of a PLC company and serving on multiple committees may seem daunting for an artist,” she acknowledges, “but God has a reason for everything He does.”

Despite the demands, Boulaye sees these roles not just as responsibilities but as platforms to understand human nature, serve humanity, and address societal issues.

“It is humbling that these Boards and Committees have been the best platforms for me to understand human nature, to serve humanity, and to be exposed to diverse range of problems, topics, concerns and disputes in society,” She stated

Patti Boulaye is married to Stephen Komlosy and has two children and two grandchildren.

Her message resonates as she extends a hand of mentorship and guidance, sharing her experiences to empower new board members and inspire others to shine in their endeavours.

As Boulaye celebrates this milestone, her message serves as a beacon of resilience, faith, and unwavering dedication—an ode to a life lived with purpose and passion, impacting lives and shaping futures with every step.