One of the most delightful surprises of the year so far has been the up-and-coming artist who goes by the name of BoyWithUke. If you’re like me and find yourself scrolling for hours on TikTok, then odds are, you’ve been exposed to his infinite talent, despite fans never seeing his face. After spending 2021 releasing several records to a devote following, the singer-songwriter seems to have another viral hit on his hands with his latest single, “Toxic.” And while it’s exciting to highlight such exceptional, rising talent, one question remains, who exactly is BoyWithUke?
Well, here’s what we know. First of all, he exudes the DIY spirit. The artist produces all of his songs himself on GarageBand, which is insane considering the program’s limitations. Despite that, his albums are diverse and warm, highlighting his stellar vocals and lyrical creativity.
The anonymous singer made his streaming debut in 2021 with the viral success of his minute-long songs, translating into streaming numbers in the tens of millions. His 2021 album Fever Dreams became one of the top ten album debuts during its debut weekend on Spotify UK. The album’s opener, “Two Moons,” is the most successful song on the record, sporting over 35 million streams on Spotify alone. As my favorite song on the album, its massive popularity doesn’t really shock me, but other favorites worth delving into include “Shy,” “Sleep Deprived,” and “Bok Choy.”
While he may shoot for simplicity and anonymity in his social media presence, BoyWithUke doesn’t waste any time laying it all out on the table in his music. The eleven-track collection shows off his trademark ukulele skills with a noted modern flare of pitched-up harmonies, lo-fi instrumentals, and lyrics infused with themes of longing and lust.
Since the release of his impressive debut album, the artist has yet to slow down. In September 2021, the mystery man dropped his latest EP, Faded, a three-track release featuring the most successful song he’s put out so far, “Toxic.” The single, currently has more than 45 million streams and counting on Spotify alone, explores his personal relationship and weighs the question, is it better to keep toxic people in your life or deal with the empty feeling that can come from being alone?
While BoyWithUke’s music may drift toward popular indie and lo-fi sounds, incorporating his ukelele sets him apart from other artists heading down the same sonic path. In addition, his instrumental talent adds a fresh layer of artistry, blurring the line between acoustic and electronic beat sounds, often making you forget that one or the other is even there.
And thus we return to that original question. Who is BoyWithUke? Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain. He's one to watch.