BoyWithUke? Horrible name. Although I will say that it is very accurate: the artist really is a lil boy with a lil guitar on a lil computer in his lil bedroom making lil songs. Not much is known about him—he seems to be around high school/college age?—but his success is so quintessentially contemporary it’s comical: the classic case of a mediocre teenage musician posting some songs on TikTok and becoming an international pop sensation.

“Where do you work on your music?” Billboard’s Bobby Olivier asked BoyWithUke in a recent interview.

“It’s just my bedroom,” BoyWithUke replied. “It’s the same desk that I use to eat and play video games."

When asked if he made the digital mask that he wears when performing, BoyWithUke replied, “Nope. In all honesty, I just thought it looked cool. I got it on Amazon.”

The classic case of a mediocre teenage musician posting some songs on TikTok and becoming an international pop sensation

The uke part? Surely he’s Hawaiian? NOPE. He’s from Massachusetts. He picked up the ukulele simply to impress a girl.

“Around two years ago,” BoyWithUke said, “I was talking to the girl who is now my girlfriend. She showed me a video of her friend playing the ukulele at a talent show, and she said, ‘Oh my God, it’s so cool. She’s so talented.’ Then I knew, like, ‘Oh, my God, I have to learn the ukulele, so I can impress this girl.’”

Oh my god! It’s infuriating the amount of success this kid is enjoying seemingly without trying, and yet, at the same time, I can’t help but find it adorable. There’s something endearing about his unassuming hoodie, and his cute, googly-OO-eyes digital mask, strumming his lil Hawaiian guitar, singing embarrassing confessional songs about how his friends suck, how he’s been betrayed by girls who won’t answer their phones, that he doesn’t enjoy being alone—although he also enjoys being alone, but he’s conflicted about his alternating desires for company and solitude—or that he is on fire, or he’s drowning, or he’s drowning in fire and everyone is a liar. It’s deep stuff. Deep, eye-rolling, teenager stuff that makes you want to slap them and yell, “GROW THE FUCK UP!” It’s endearing, but also annoying.

A photo of some guy Dave Carnie say play ukulele in Kona.
One of the first things I thought of when I heard the name “BoyWithUke” was this guy I saw perform at a bar in Kona. He played an acoustic guitar that was pregnant with a ukulele. It was pretty cool: the uke was nailed, strapped, and taped to the guitar; their curves spooning perfectly together. But there’s not much else to say about it except that there was this one time I saw some dude in Hawaii play a conjoined guitar/ukulele.


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