Why I play ukulele?
I get asked this question a lot, so I thought I would make it the topic of my first blog. The reason I play the ukulele is simple, it is the happiest way to be sad. I suffer from depression and anxiety and the ukulele is what keeps the things level. I also a made a promise to a very important person in my life, my Uncle Troy.
Throughout my journey, my uncle was my life and music guru. He was an old hippie and in his words, a failed musician. He wanted me to understand the love of music in the way that he did. I can remember from a young age, my uncle always being there to show the right way in music and life. My earliest memory of this is when I was eight years old. He was babysitting me and saw me loving the music he was listening too. That day changed my life. He sat me down and told me it is time for your first music education. He played the whole Eric Clapton Box Set “Crossroads”. That day forward, I was lifelong Eric Clapton disciple.
Now, getting back to the ukulele, it is an interesting story. My uncle and I became very close in the last years of his life. I would visit him with my guitar and play him my songs. He would tell me what he thought and encourage me to play. While he was in Hospice, I would play what his teaching had lead me to writing. He gave me the confidence and teachings to be a better player and songwriter.
One day, he brought out his ukulele so he could jam with me. He was no longer able to play guitar due to illness and physical constrictions. I picked it up and he was floored by my ability to convert my music to this new instrument so easily. To be honest, I had a phone app that showed guitar and ukulele chords and I was able to quickly write down the ukulele chords.
He bought what turned out to be my main ukulele and officially gave it to me on my birthday. I would play my songs on this Cordoba Tenor Ukulele and his smile would light up the room. He would tell me to stop bringing the guitar and just bring the ukulele, he said it was my true voice. He said I should really convert all my songs to ukulele.
I started to bring the ukulele and play my songs and songs he would request. His health eventually started to decline and we both knew he would be leaving this earth soon. He made me make a promise to him that I have kept to this day. I would only play the ukulele and not touch a guitar until I recorded an ukulele E.P. and promote it with shows.
He passed away on December 5, 2013 and I still have not played a guitar. I am still playing this ukulele and now writing more songs on it. I plan to record that E.P. soon, in tribute to him and music and life knowledge he has given me.
So, when you ask me why I play this ukulele. It is not because it is some passing fad that people have clung to. It is because of a promise I made to one of my heroes, my Uncle and friend. I plan to take this instrument with me on my musical journey, no matter where it takes me. I will keep my promise and also fulfill the dream that only he and I knew was possible. Let the music set you free.