Inspired to Sing by the Ukulele – Ricky Somborn

Ricky Somborn Singer and Ukulele player
This singing-uke player is reaching learners all over the world.

Ricky Somborn’s Ukulele covers are gaining attention all over the world – we think it’s because people love his laid-back, clear and fun approach to musical learning.   He’s performed at the LA International Ukulele Festival and, recently, at the NAMM 2020 Winter show. 

We love Ricky’s voice as well as he playing and caught up with him to pass on his musical inspiration with Singdaptive!

An object that inspires you. 

The ukulele

A favorite quote that inspires you. 

“Falling down is an accident, staying down is a choice”

A key turning point in developing your own unique vocal work? 

When I broke my ankle in summer of 2018 and decided to pick up the ukulele and learn while healing in bed. I started to sing along while playing the ukulele and just kept practicing. I have never had any formal training for singing or playing, so everything I have done so far has been self-taught.

How would you say playing the ukulele helps you with singing? 

Ricky inspires a rapidly growing YouTube audience to learn the ukulele and sing

I find the ukulele has such a unique sound that it just brings a joyful mood whenever someone sings a song. Guitar is great but the uke adds a little more flavor into the mix.

How would you say singing helps you with the ukulele? 

My singing and ukulele have evolved and grown pretty much at the same time, so I feel pretty comfortable doing both. My voice is another instrument that likes to play off of the unique ukulele sound.

Any insights for singers who are new to playing an instrument on how to best sing and play at the same time? 

This was one of the hardest things for me to overcome but I found that when I would humm along with the strumming of the ukulele at first, and gradually include lyrics, that helped me learn to strum and sing at the same time. 

A vocal artist who inspires you? 

Finneas O’Connell (Billie Eilish’s brother). He inspires me because he not only creates amazing music through his lyrics but also incorporates everyday sounds (traffic, beeps, home applicants etc.) into this music. I find it fascinating. Also his singing style is a mix of pop and blues that I really enjoy.

An important vocal health or technique lesson?

I just sing what feels right to me and try not to overdo it by singing above my capabilities. Also, the internet for me has been a great resource in vocal health and learning.  I’ve been enjoying Ukulele player called Cynthia Lin and she just recently created a YouTube channel dedicated to singing – mind body voice.

What works for you with social media?

For me, social media has been a creative outlet. When I started posting my covers to Instagram March 2019, I did it because I thought it was fun and my friends seemed to like them. Since then, it’s given me an opportunity to make it into my job and teach and share the ukulele love I share for this instrument with everyone. Being yourself and showing your passions will attract the right audience for you.

Any social media “fails” or “successes”? 

I don’t think I have had any “fails” (yet) but successes for me was just starting to post and overcoming the fear of judgement from others that could potentially say hurtful things about my new passion. At the end of the day, the support I have received has outweighed any negative comments that will inevitably come with success.

What are you currently working on in terms of your voice/music-career?

I am focusing on growing my Instagram and YouTube presence and also partnering with ukulele/music brands to help build an awesome internet ukulele community. 

What was your first gig?

My first time performing in front of anyone was at the 2019 LA International Ukulele Festival with an audience of about 200 people. I was incredibly nervous and don’t remember too much about the performance.

What did you learn from that?

That I need to practice my stage presence and work on becoming more comfortable singing in front of something/someone other than my camera which I use to record YouTube videos.

What performance would you single out as being a “turning point” & why? 

The performance that stands out the most to me is when I performed at the 2020 Winter NAMM show with Bernadette (Bernadette Teaches Music on YouTube) and that was the first time I looked up into the crowd without fear and actually took it all in and enjoyed it.

What were one or two critical steps you took to reach larger audiences with your music? 

I get asked this question a lot and my answer is “to just post”. Don’t let the fear of judgement or someone not liking it stop you from posting what you love to do. Treat your audience as friends and not as “fans” or “followers”.

Career dreams/goals? 

1 million subscribers on YouTube and headlining a sold out show.

Finally – can you provide a 30-50 word bio with any urls you would like us to shout out?  

Ricky Somborn is a 31 year old self taught ukulele player and singer from Florida who started singing and playing the ukulele in summer of 2018. Since uploading his first covers on Instagram in March of 2019, his social media following has grown to 55,000+ followers on Instagram and 22,000+ subscribers on YouTube. 

Ricky Somborn on YouTube | Ricky on Instagram

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