View Full Version : One hell of a year! Thanks UU!!!

12-31-2010, 10:35 AM
Hey guys,

So I thought I'd take the time to do a blog post reflecting on this last year from my ukulele oriented point of view. It was an incredible year for me, and it's largely due to UU... WARNING: This is a bit long winded. ;)

It started in mid-January when I was attending the NAMM show as Lanikai Ukulele's demonstrator. They found me here on UU and actually chose me to demo their products after seeing the videos I've posted here on UU. The NAMM show was unbelievable, I got to meet Aldrine, Aaron, Ken Middleton, and just about every big name in the ukulele sales world. I made new friendships and connections everywhere I looked.

On Super Bowl sunday I gave my first workshop for SUPA. (Seattle Ukulele Players Association) It was a great learning experience and was an eye opener to just how much I enjoy teaching. It was a ton of fun, and I even made it home in time for kick-off. ;)

Then we fast forward to March. In early March I was the winner of the Ukulele Underground Undie award for Best Ukulele Performance. Considering this was a member nominated and voted award, this meant the world to me. To have been nominated by this fantastic community was an accomplishment. To win the award was something I will never forget. I truly cherish the award and consider it a major highlight in my ukulele career. Thank you!!!!

After this, I saw Jake Shimabukuro in concert. I talked with him after the show for quite a while and have been in touch with him since. He's given me loads of great advice and has been a continuous inspiration.

The Reno Ukulele festival was in mid-March. I was teaching two workshops. It was here that I formed some incredible friendships with other uke players and some companies as well. James Hill, Ukulele Bartt, Mike Powers, Brittni Paiva, Mike DaSilva, Gordon & Char Mayer, and MANY others. It was my first experience as one of the performers/teachers as opposed to a normal attendee and it was a blast!

After the Reno Uke Festival, I started to teach pretty regularly. I also began giving lessons over Skype. (Since starting, teaching has become a strong part time job while I am attending school. The best part is, I love it!)

Let's fast forward to June...

At the start of the month I was one of the performers/teachers at the Dusty Strings Ukulele Festival hear in Seattle. I got to share the stage with Craig Chee, Ralph Shaw and James Hill. (I even ended up doing a duet with James on stage!!!) It was truly unreal, as just 2 years ago I was that attendee that would wait out an hour before the show to get front row seats, would want my picture with all the performers and would want all the autographs I could get. Unbelievable.

Here is a video of James and I playing the Bossa Nova hit, "Black Orpheus" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPPUnnJZObI)

After this, I hopped on a plane for a tour of Australia. This was organized by Lanikai Ukulele and was hands down the highlight of the year and arguably the highlight of my lifetime. First stop was Cairns, for the Ukulele Festival there. I got to perform with Jason Arimoto, Daniel Ho, and James Hill. I called each of them up during my set to do a duet. Just thinking back to it gives me chills! It was surreal.

Then, I went to play for a demo in Brisbane at a uke store, followed by a workshop in Sydney. I was in Brisbane for a day, and Sydney for nearly a week. I then flew back to Cairns and performed with local bands and taught multiple lessons a day. It was a lot of hours and a lot of work, but I loved every second of it. It taught me more than any class could on how to be a professional musician and I am so thankful for it! (All because of UU too!)

Here is a video of myself with two local guitarist to Cairns. They are incredible kids! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTsHCYIo9c8)

I then got my Mya-Moe uke from Gordan and Char. What a uke! www.myamoeukulele.com

Skip to October, I attended the Eugene Uketober Fest. It was a great time and I got to work with James Hill and Craig Chee. They are two GREAT guys and awesome players that I consider mentors and great friends now.

Now since then I have been in the studio, writing new originals and working on a solo album while teaching ~10 students a week through Skype. I am truly thankful for this last year and these incredible opportunities I have gotten. The uke has been my passion for years, but always just a hobby. Now it's become a great job, and while I have no idea what there is to come for next year, I am just riding the wave as long as I can.

THANK YOU UKULELE UNDERGROUND, for being there every step of my journey. Without this website, I wouldn't have learned how push myself with music, I wouldn't have posted videos, I wouldn't have been found by Lanikai, and ultimately, I wouldn't have the life I do now. I am really in this websites and communities debt. THANK YOU!!

12-31-2010, 11:04 AM
You are an inspiration Matt. Thank you! I wish you great success in your future. Happy new year/life!

12-31-2010, 11:35 AM
What a humble, sweet message.

Matt? Marry me.

12-31-2010, 12:53 PM
What a heart warming post Matt, you sound like the kind of guy who can appreciate what's been given to you and give back as well. Admirable qualities sir!!

(but you've left me feeling exhausted, lol)

Have a continuing succesful twenty eleven.

Cheers, Tony

12-31-2010, 01:04 PM
Wonderful, Matt! I look forward to taking a lesson from you some day soon.

Happy New Year!

Hippie Dribble
12-31-2010, 01:07 PM
and thankYOU Matt for sharing you music mate, and your humility and passion that shines through.

Your playing is amazing and it will sure be great to watch your career as it moves on from here.

I'm with GreatGazukes...tired from just reading all about 2010!!! aaah, you young'uns, so much energy!!!

Can't wait for the release of the solo CD!!! All the best for the coming year and years mate...

12-31-2010, 01:30 PM
Uke on Dude!!!

12-31-2010, 01:41 PM
Nice one Matt. Must say that you were (and still are) one of my inspirations when I picked up the uke about a year ago. Great to hear that your life is having a good run and that you are appreciative of all that is coming your way. Keep it up sir.


12-31-2010, 01:58 PM
Congrats Matt. You've earned it my friend. Looking forward to getting together soon in 2011.
Happy New Year!

Ronnie Aloha
12-31-2010, 02:02 PM

We are given MANY opportunities in life, its what WE do with them that makes us fortunate. I've seen many people throw away golden opportunities and cry "I can't get a break!" while others who have been given almost no opportunity take what they have and work hard towards their success. You, my brother, are the latter!

12-31-2010, 08:50 PM
I just joined in June and all this time I thought that you were one of the many who has been teaching and performing for years. It was an incredible post. Thanks for sharing and the best for the coming years.

mm stan
12-31-2010, 10:13 PM
Aloha Matt,
That is truely an inspiring and humble story of your success....may we all shoot for the same goals you have attained.....thank you for sharing!!!! Happy Strummings and Have a Happy New year!! MM Stan...

01-01-2011, 02:26 AM
Matt, I knew when I had you as a spotlight artist in Ukulele Player that you were going to become a rising star in the world of Ukulele. So, it is good to see all this come to fruition. Keep the positive attitude and the sky is the limit.

01-01-2011, 04:29 AM
What a great year you have had and a lovely post acknowledging UU. You are a great talent and deserve your successes.


01-01-2011, 04:35 AM
Good year for you Matt! You deserve it! You (along with Jake and Aldrine...didn't know about James Hill until later on) really opened my eyes as to what could be done on a uke and watching your videos really pushes me to practice and play as much as possible, with the hope that I might someday make my ukes sing as beautifully as yours.

On a side note, it amazes me how humble the uke greats are...Jake, Aldrine, Matt...so down to earth and so appreciative of their fans. No big egos even though their talent certainly entitles them to have big egos. It just reinforces what an amazing community the ukulele world is. So, thank you to everyone who has made the last year and a half (when I first picked up the ukulele) such an amazing and enjoyable ride.

01-01-2011, 05:13 AM
Thanks for sharing your story. All the best in the New Year. The sky is the limit.:)

01-01-2011, 05:18 AM
Matt? Marry me.

Have you set a date yet?


01-01-2011, 05:24 AM
I was one of those Skype students... money well spent! Anyone sitting on the fence should quit waffling and take some lessons from Matt––he's the man.

01-01-2011, 06:21 AM
Matt you rock!..you deserve all the great things that come Ur way

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-01-2011, 08:03 AM
I'm waiting for the video of your life to come out. Happy 2011 Matt. You deserve all the good things that are happening to you.

01-01-2011, 12:22 PM
Wow! Thanks for all the positive responses guys. I hope you all had a great and safe new year!

01-01-2011, 01:12 PM
I love hearing your story! UU has changed my life as well, but I will not get into that now! I just LOVED hearing about your year!

Are you going to be at NAMM in a few weeks?! Me, Sally (Salukulady), and Tim (Ukeeku) will be there! I want to meet you! Will you be at the Lanikai booth?

01-01-2011, 02:11 PM
I love hearing your story! UU has changed my life as well, but I will not get into that now! I just LOVED hearing about your year!

Are you going to be at NAMM in a few weeks?! Me, Sally (Salukulady), and Tim (Ukeeku) will be there! I want to meet you! Will you be at the Lanikai booth?

Yep, I'll be there!

Ken Middleton
01-03-2011, 07:21 AM
A really great year for you. Well done. See you at NAMM, Matt.

01-03-2011, 11:46 AM
Couldn't happen to a better guy! Wishing you more surprises in 2011, Matt.

01-03-2011, 12:04 PM
It's not us, it's you. Your skills are amazing. That's how you got where you are. :)