If you’ve been to Hawaii, you have likely picked up a ukulele and played around with it. Jake Shimabukuro was no different—until he was much different. Growing up in Honolulu, Shimabukuro picked up a ukulele at the age of four. His mother taught him the basics and he took it from there. Ten years later, Shimabukuro realized that he was, according to his website, “doing something a little different with the four-stringed instrument – OK, a lot different.”
In 2005, he played a song called While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Someone uploaded it to YouTube, and it blew up. “Before I got a chance to check it out myself,” he said, “the video had gone viral and a lot of music industry folks seemed to know about it. It was crazy!”
Now, he’s recognized one of the world’s best ukulele players. He’s been on the top of the Billboard World Music Charts. he’s played the Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center, and the Sydney Opera House. He’s played at Bonnaroo, SXSW, the Playboy Jazz Festival and Fuji Rock Festival. He’s been on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. He’s even played for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. And after you’ve watched his incredible rendition of Queens’s Bohemian Rhapsody, you will understand why he’s been able to do all that by playing the ukulele.