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Art, Interviews, Meet the Artist

Unique Ukulele: An Interview with Johnnie Heberer

I first met Johnnie Heberer when I interviewed him, his brother Ethan, and Rachael Coulter for the blog with their “Poetry and Music” artistic experiment. Johnnie plays the ukulele, an instrument I did not know much about, and he’s agreed to perform a couple of times at I.B. Nuts & Fruit Too where I show my work for the Washington Art Walk. I love his music, and it’s wonderful that he shares his talent by teaching guitar and ukulele, too. Read the interview below to learn more about him and what he does!

Meet Johnnie. He loves to play music.

Meet Johnnie. He loves to play music.

When did you first get interested in music?

Between singing the oldies with my mama on long car rides, song title and artist quizzes from my father, and playing air guitar…basically from the beginning.

How did you start playing ukulele?

I first became interested with the ukulele when I heard Eddie Vedders Ukulele Songs Album. My friend Peyton bought the album for me as a gift. I listened to it constantly! When I discovered that Eddie released the album with a songbook of all the tunes, I decided to buy an inexpensive ukulele and learn every single song.

Johnnie performing at Cafe Tinto.

Johnnie performing at Cafe Tinto.

Do you write your own songs?

I spend the majority of my time writing and thinking about my own songs. Occasionally I learn some covers, but with my existing knowledge of guitar and familiarizing myself with Vedder’s songs, I know that I have everything I need to create something new for a long time. Sometimes I worry that I will run out of material, but I just say to myself…new music is out there, don’t force it, because I believe something fresh and exciting can always be created. We just have to let it happen.

What do you love the best about playing music?

I love sonicboom music. This is when either yourself or a group of people decide to play and you just let go, and JAM. When you listen back sometimes it’s not so good, but, sometimes its a sonicboom! A spontaneous, in the moment groove that only comes around every so often. Never replicated 🙂

The best music is the one that happens spontaneously.

The best music is the one that happens spontaneously.

Do you give lessons?

Yes! I teach at River City Music. All types of Guitar and Ukulele. I love to watch the students and cater to their personal needs. We are all different, but I believe anyone can learn a song if they choose to!

Where can people hear you play?

I post many videos on Facebook and I have multiple Soundcloud Accounts. Also a new Ukulele EP with three of my original songs is available!

Jonnie performing at Thirsty Thursday in front of Fern&Sycamore.

Johnnie performing at Thirsty Thursday in front of Fern&Sycamore downtown.

Do you play at events?

Of course! I like to play events and special occasions because my music tends to be suitable for an overall pleasant and non obtrusive atmosphere. So recently I played at Fern & Sycamore, The Blue Duck, and Cafe Tinto. I will play pretty much anywhere if I am asked to! Coming up soon I will be playing at I.B. Nuts and Fruits for the fall Art Walk, Nov 7th and 8th. I like playing at the Art Walk 🙂

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Everything around me! My immediate environment plays a huge role. People I love. Family. Myself. Technically, everything that I have ever heard, watched, touched, played, and tasted has inspired me.

Inspirations comes from anything and anywhere.

Inspirations comes from anything and anywhere.

What project are you currently working on?

I just started a campaign on GOFUNDME.com. I am trying to raise enough funds to purchase a new Ukulele from the Boat Paddle Ukulele Company in New Haven, MO. I love the Uku that I have, but I have outgrown it in many ways! A high quality instrument, like a Boat Paddle, will allow me to make a high quality album! I need an intrument that is up to par with my personal abilities. As I ascend the neck of my current Uku it falls out of tune, and doesn’t resonate. But I make do 🙂

How can people find you?

For lessons contact River City Music directly and ask for me by name. For everything else, Facebook. My page is Johnnie.Heber.er 🙂

About Slava

I am a twenty-something Bulgarian girl in the USA, re-discovering the world through the lens.


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