OUS Misconceptions and inspirations

I created the OUS platform two and a half years ago to see who was out there creating original music based around ukuleles. Personally, I have never been a fan of the stereotypical comedy image of ukulele and my idea of hell is artists playing endless cover versions of Bowie, The Cure, and The Smiths. I, however, appreciate that I may be in a minority considering the enthusiasm that such material receives online where all too often such attempts are described as “awesome” and “brilliant” Personally I reserve such superlatives for people I consider to be truly excellent artists including Bob Dylan (on a good day), Neil Young and Glen Hansard.

The Original OUS statement

The front page of the site has always contained the following public statement

“Let me also be 100% clear, I love cover versions, especially when they are done with a twist, bringing new perspectives to the song with different interpretations, and of course traditional and folk songs which are no longer associated with an individual but live in their own right. However, I love it far more when songwriters create original material. This site is a platform for original ukulele-based songs and is unique in that it brings together ukulele artists from all over the globe. This site is not run for any commercial interests and there’s no paid advertising here. This removes any favoritism and commercial bias, so this platform is only to promote the love of original music.”

Despite this clear statement, almost three years on I still receive the “You hate covers” nonsense comments. In a social media era it seems that this “us or them” mindset is increasingly common and of course supremely daft. The reality is that there have been many superb cover versions from artists, but there have also been many very average attempts. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but without original songwriting, there would be no cover versions. I realize I have unintentionally stirred up a lot of the old ukulele guard and this has resulted in a few tantrums online, but IMO that’s often no bad thing as it provokes discussion and debate.


In the last two years, the OUS FB page and this main site have been truly inspirational and I have been blown away by the quality of many of the original songs. I appreciate that the ukulele world is a niche musical genre and most of what I see and hear is not original music. Fortunately, artists like Victoria Vox, James Hill, Manitoba Hall, Biscuithead and the Biscuit Badgers, Danielle Ate the Sandwich and my own band The Small Change Diaries are all looking to push the boundaries of ukulele-based music. It’s not to everybody’s taste of course, but personally, such artists give me some hope that we can show the wider public that the ukulele is an extraordinary instrument that can be used as an excellent creative musical tool. Artists like Eddie Vedder, George Harrison and Elvis Costello have also embraced the mighty uke to create some superb songs.

I passionately believe that the world is a better place for artists creating new music and I applaud anyone doing this. OUS remains an oasis for such material and in 2019 I will be unveiling a much bigger platform also dedicated to the love of music.


10 Responses to OUS Misconceptions and inspirations

  1. Alan 21st May 2018 at 8:59 am #

    …and this continues to be a place to find many wonderful players and their original songs.

    Building community by rallying folks to a single place where they can find others willing to both share their talents and enjoy those of others seems to be the bit that keeps me coming back. Gathering spots come and go, but places where folks can freely share and communicate with their own creations can still be rare.

    • nick cody 21st May 2018 at 9:02 am #

      Its a unique space and for me a constant inspiration. Thanks for all your help with this

  2. Peter Coulsdon 21st May 2018 at 4:04 pm #

    There are some great original songwriters like Krabbers and Katy Vernon. People like Phil Doleman also mostly do covers, but being from a certain era, they have an originality, because most audiences have not heard them!

    AndyDan just launched his new album at GNUF, absolutely incredible. There is such a lot of talent out there.

    • nick cody 21st May 2018 at 4:57 pm #

      Phil is an excellent musician and has played on many of my band The Small Change Diaries tracks as well as my other ensemble Nick Cody and the Caravan of Dreams. The OUS stage in 2017 at GNUF had some great artists and the purpose of OUS is to offer some balance to a world of cover versions and show that there are some superb artists out there writing material on the uke.

      • Peter Coulsdon 23rd May 2018 at 12:19 pm #

        There was so much original music at GNUF this year. Andy Eastwood, Andydan, Katy Vernon, Plastic Jeezus, The Hedge Inspectors, Andrew Molina, Astralnua, Robin, Dave & The Isasacles, in fact, looking through I’d say in excess of half the artists there were original. All three stages, main, Vinyl Tap and unplugthewood had a huge number of original artists. Most festivals do a great job of giving these artists a stage (literally) for their music. Andy Eastwood was probably the standout artist in terms of significance. His performance was simply a masterpiece, and such innovation with the ukulele.

        • nick cody 23rd May 2018 at 12:49 pm #

          Andrew Molina was a welcome new addition. I think such festivals would benefit greatly from the “less is more” philosophy, by reducing the army of acts and increasing the set time. I was talking to a GNUF veteran yesterday about this very aspect. I think many uke festivals 9they have become very similar these days with almost the same lineups at every one) are missing a trick in mostly pandering for a niche uke audience. OUS was partly set up to explore greater expression for the uke as an instrument and at most events, there is a serious lack of bands and the standard is variable at best. Perhaps I am expecting too much? However, in 2019, I’m focussing on a bigger music project which is not dedicated to any individual instrument as there tends to be too many politics and too limited a niche. I applaud anyone attempting to run music events, but I think the bar could be much higher. Many will of course disagree and that’s fine too! (:

  3. Peter Coulsdon 23rd May 2018 at 5:35 pm #

    Did you see Andy Eastwood?

    • nick cody 23rd May 2018 at 5:38 pm #

      No, I passed on GNUF this year. There wasn’t aside from Andrew Molina anyone I wanted to see and I have an issue with the max 20 min set lengths which IMO are not the best way to go! Hats off to Andy for attempting something different though, IMO we need more of that. I’m also full on in the studio so time is precious

      • Peter Coulsdon 25th May 2018 at 9:36 pm #

        You missed out.

        • nick cody 25th May 2018 at 10:59 pm #

          LOL With the greatest respect, I have seen the acts I like at GNUF already in 2016 and 2017

          Other acts that I would personally pay to see including Phil Doleman, Sam Muir, Biscuithead were not present, so what’s left is not really my bag, but that’s just a personal view. I appreciate many like such events for the social interactions but for me, it’s all about the music and preferably original music. If I wasn’t so busy Scotland looked to me like an excellent line up

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