Dani Usero is one of the most outstanding ukelelists in the current music scene, a musician who insatiably seeks new ways to play his favorite instrument. We chatted with him about his musical career and his technique with the ukulele. Meet Dani in this new interview!
1) Your musical career covers many different instruments and styles. So we can get to know you better, where did it all begin?
My musical life began at age 14, when I started playing drums. I got my first electric guitar when I was 16 years old. At the age of 20, I decided to specialize in the guitar and entered Aula de Música del Liceu de Barcelona. After four years of studying Modern Music, I am graduating this year .
2) Tell us a bit about how you started in the ukulele world. What inspired you about this instrument?
I started with the ukulele back in 2010. I came from the world of the guitar, so the adaptation was relatively simple. It was a change of perspective, a different way of perceiving the instrument. I am a very curious person, and the ukulele caught my attention from the start. All the ukulele imagery fascinated me, especially 1950s Elvis Presley in Hawaiian dress playing the ukulele … So, once I decided to play this instrument, I bought a second-hand ukulele and started to learn all its tricks. It is an instrument that has a lot in common with the guitar, but offers many more possibilities than people think.
3) Do you think that ukulele hides secrets that are not yet known to the general public?
It is evident that most people choose to play the ukulele for its price, its comfort, its ease when it comes to learning to play songs … But it is an instrument that can perfectly match with many different types of music. A good example of this is the connection of this instrument with The Beatles: the sonority, the ideas… I even released an album titled Ukelele And Beatles where I adapted the songs by the British band to my ukulele. It is an instrument that allows you to explore many angles of music. That is why it has me completely fascinated: you are the one who sets the limit.
4) It is obvious that the instrument enjoys a sweet moment at the present…
It is true that there has been a ukulele boom in Europe. The ukulele was widely known in America, with many virtuoso musicians who composed music of all kinds with the instrument. This fever has started to spread in Europe in the last 10 years. It is becoming the norm to see people learning to play the ukulele, to see how some schools choose the ukulele to introduce their students to the world of music. Ukulele is a great pedagogical tool for the little ones! It makes me very happy to see how more and more people are encouraged to play this beautiful instrument.
5) A good way to promote it are social networks. In this sense, we see that you have a large number of followers on the Internet. That’s where your collaboration with the ukulele brand Flight came from!
All the impulse of the social networks, and especially of Instagram, has been thanks to the collaboration with Flight. They valued my style and my skills and I began to promote the brand in Spain. I think that nowadays it is very important to be very present on the Internet so that people know what you are doing.
6) Why do you use Flight ukuleles? What does this brand have that makes it different from the others?
It is a brand that wants to establish itself in Europe and beyond, a brand that greatly values the connection with the younger audience. They think of aesthetics as a fundamental part of the whole process of creating the instrument. They make really beautiful ukuleles! When I tried Flight Victoria for the first time, I was surprised by the armrest at the bottom left of the instrument. It is perfect to rest your hand when you play! In addition, the string action is great and allows faster and more comfortable playing. It is a brand that fits perfectly to my style as a musician. I did not hesitate for a second – from the first meeting I knew I wanted to collaborate with Flight Ukuleles.
7) What can you tell us about the masterclass coming on November 22nd at Musical Fusté? What will you tell us about the ukulele?
Ukulele is a perfect instrument not only for those who are just starting in the world of music but also for people with experience in music who would like to learn to play a new instrument. That is why in class we will start from the simplest chords and make our way up to special tricks that make the ukulele a truly special instrument. I would like to offer a different vision of the instrument, to get people to play things that are not usual for this instrument. At the masterclass, there will be space for fingerpicking, one of my favorite techniques, and, in general, we will start to work the instrument from a different perspective. It is designed for both beginner and intermediate levels, including all those students who want to learn new techniques for the ukulele. It will be fun!
8) You have quite some experience as a teacher, don’t you?
I have done many things throughout my career. I have taught individual classes, as well as workshops and group ukulele classes. I teach from beginner to higher levels, going through all the needs that my students may have. I have been teaching for a long time, it is truly inspiring.
Dani Usero held a masterclass at Musical Fusté on November 22nd, where he showed the techniques that have led him to discover a different way of playing the ukulele. Below are some photos from the event.