Ukulelezo: Interview

Ukulelezo has been a favourite on here since I first featured one of her videos two years ago. What I didn’t know then was that she’d turn out to be such a witty and unique songwriter.

I dragged her away from her constant toil recording her debut album to talk about songwriting, puns and winning the Bushman contest.

How did you come to play the uke and why have you stuck with it?

I, like many people, picked it up on a lark at my local music store. My first uke was a J. Chalmers Doane designed Northern. It looked cool and it sounded fun. I’ve stuck with it, first and foremost, because I love it. It has been the most fantastic creative vehicle for me. But a big part has also been the support and friendship I’ve found in the amazing ukulele community. If you had told me two years ago, that I would play the ukulele and have all these great friends all over the world, I wouldn’t have believed it. Yet here I am, reduced to a cliché but, having the time of my life.

You’re a very distinctive songwriter. Who are your songwriting influences?

I grew up going to summer music festivals so I have a great fondness for the whole singer songwriter experience. Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell were the first artists I heard as a child and I have always loved old bawdy blues songs and folk tunes from all over the world. I would say songwriters such as Ani Difranco, Jonatha Brooke, Dar Williams, Jonathan Coulton and author Tom Robbins have been my greatest influences in the last 15 years. But I cannot discount the effect of all the wonderful musicians in and around the city I live. I’ve been blessed to know some pretty amazing songwriters within a 100 mile radius of my home. Lately I’ve found a lot of inspiration in the conversations I’ve had with people. I am truly influenced by everything I’ve ever heard, read or seen.

Your songs seem to have moved away from the tongue-in-cheek to more heart-felt. How do you see your songwriting developing in the future?

I think I needed to give myself permission to write the more personal and heart-felt songs. It took me a little while to get past the happy, quirky feel of the ukulele and realize that I could write songs with a more serious bent. I’m not really sure where my songwriting is headed. That’s the beauty of it. I’m open to any and all directions. I’m just going to keep writing.

How did you feel when Optional Accessory won the Bushman contest?

I felt fantastic. It totally deserved to win.

When will you be releasing your album from you and what can we expect from it?

Arg. The album is hopefully coming out in the next few months. I’m in the process of trying to finish a bunch of songs so it doesn’t feel like a fractured offering. It will most likely include a lot of old favorites with a smattering of new tunes sprinkled in for good measure. How’s that for a non-committal answer? Basically, I’m working on it.

You’re the only person I know that comes up with more obscene puns than I do. What’s your favourite?

I do have a fondness for puns. That is very true.

“Happiness is a worn pun.”

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View Comments


  1. Craig Robertson March 1st, 2010 8:37 pm

    ’bout time you interviewed Zoe, Al.

  2. Narciso Lobo March 2nd, 2010 12:27 am

    Uke crush overload.

  3. Jeff / HumbleUker March 2nd, 2010 3:10 pm

    Yes, sweetness and creativity on the uke. When I see a new song by zo show up in the YT subcriptions I know it;s going to be another must watch and listen. What I like most about Zo, Craig, Seeso, Ukisociety, Deach, Krabbers, etc. is that their music transcends the instrument and stands alone for creativity and just plain fantastic music and musicianship.

  4. Woodshed March 2nd, 2010 10:19 pm

    Craig: I’ll blame it on Zoe’s answering tardiness.

    Seeso: Yeah, what you said.

    Jeff: Well put.

  5. Bossarocker March 3rd, 2010 12:37 pm

    Yay, we <3 you, Zo!

  6. byjimini March 18th, 2010 9:03 pm

    Can’t believe this is almost 3 week sold; feels like only yesterday I subscribed to ukulelezo then vowed to check out her videos, and yet it’s taken me til now to do it.

    Sounds like a lovely lady, good job on the questions there.

  7. Woodshed March 18th, 2010 9:34 pm

    byjimini: I can’t believe it’s taken you til this post to find out about her.

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