A few weeks ago, Michael Bloom (Jake Shimabukuro’s PR person) contacted me after he came across the About page for this site. On that page, I explain how Jake’s YouTube video of While My Guitar Gently Weeps inspired me to buy my first ukulele and then create Ukulelereview.com. He offered to send me some of Jake’s CDs, but I already had all of them 😉 So I asked if he might be able to get me a short interview with Jake. He was kind enough to oblige and here we go…
Julie: Hello Jake! First of all, I wanted to tell you that I really enjoy your music. Stumbling upon your YouTube video of While My Guitar Gently Weeps is what prompted me to buy a ukulele last October. Then less than a month later, I started a website devoted to ukes :o)
I’ve read that you have been playing the ukulele since you were a very small child. Do you play any other instruments, or is the uke your only musical tool?
Jake: I like the sound of other instruments, but the ukulele is what I’m most passionate about.
Julie: What do you think is causing the current boost in popularity of this instrument?
Jake: I think the ukulele has always been a popular instrument. However, it’s great to see younger people picking it up and making interesting music with it. Recently, you hear it in commercials and movie soundtracks all around the world. Even very famous musicians like Paul McCartney performed an ukulele number during his last tour as a tribute to George Harrison.
Julie: Do you suffer from UAS (Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome)?
Jake: No, not really. I have about four ukuleles now. However, 3 of them just sit in my closet. I travel, record, practice, and perform with the same ukulele… my Kamaka 4 string tenor.
Julie: I always see you playing the Kamaka ukulele with the slotted headstock. Is that your main favorite, or do you have others?
Jake: That’s my baby!!! I named her Buffy. Haha!!!
Julie: How did you come up with that name? Anything to do with the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer? 😉 I am just curious as it was one of my favorites.
Jake: Yes! I’m a huge fan of the TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I own all seven seasons.
Julie: What brand of ukulele strings do you prefer to use on Buffy?
Jake: I love D’Addario Strings!
Julie: Do you ever play soprano, concert or baritone sized ukuleles?
Jake: I did when I was younger. But over the years, I’ve grown attached to the tenor.
Julie: Besides practice makes perfect, if you could give just one piece of advice to a new ukulele player, what would you tell them?
Jake: Play songs that you enjoy listening to.
Julie: What is your favorite song right now?
Jake: I can never get enough of the Beatles.
Julie: What is your favorite song to play on the ukulele?
Jake: George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
Julie: When you’re not playing on stage or traveling to your next gig, what types of things do you like to do to unwind? Do you have any other hobbies?
Jake: I enjoy cooking and whipping up fresh fruit smoothies. Playing a few rounds of tennis relaxes me as well.
Julie: Tell us something about yourself that we would find surprising to learn.
Jake: I am really into making fresh, organic juice with my electric juicer. I can make a killer carrot, apple, ginger, and kale juice.
Julie: Can you give us any clue as to when we might expect to see another CD or DVD from you?
Jake: I’ll be recording a new project in July. I have some original tunes that I’ll be throwing on the CD. It’ll be a bit more experimental than my previous recordings.
Julie: Jake, Thank you so much for letting us get to know you a little bit better and keep up the fantastic work. I’m looking forward to your next CD.
Jake: Thank you Julie for your support! Good luck with your new website and keep on strummin’!!! Aloha.
There you have it folks.