British Ukuleleist Dodie Clark – Why is She So Special?

Kate DiGraziano, Reporter

You can’t do much with just a ukulele and a camera, you say? Well, English singer-songwriter Dodie Clark would beg to differ.

Though her popularity has reached its peak just this past year, Clark has been revolutionizing the YouTube music community since 2011. With just her ukulele and uniquely soft voice, she’s created countless covers and original songs, most of which have received 100K+ views and counting. What is it about Dodie, though, that makes her so special?

There is a popular unspoken belief in the world of musicians – that you have to have a certain understanding of music theory and a certain “level” of playing ability to even be able to consider yourself one. Clark, however, has never seemed to abide by this belief. Having taught herself piano, ukulele, guitar, and other instruments, she’s no “professional” musician, which almost makes her appear more relatable to her audience. This lack of “professionalism” has furthermore allowed her to make up her own rules as she goes and create a unique, original sound loved by thousands of fans across the globe.

Dodie’s “sound” can only truly be described as cute, calming, and magical. With songs like “Adored By Him,” “She,” “Down,” “Sick of Losing Soulmates,” and countless others, Clark makes listeners feel happy, sad, calm, and emotional, all at the same time. She also collaborates with fellow YouTube musicians Tessa Violet, Jon Cozart, Rusty Clanton, and more, beautifully blending her own unique sound with that of others. She even went on tour with Violet, Cozart, and Clanton in May, leaving her home in the UK and coming all the way to places like Webster Hall in New York City! Having started YouTube as a side project, it’s now become her entire career, which seems even to astonish Clark herself.
How, though, did she do it? I mean, anyone can post their original music on YouTube, can’t they? The idea has grown to be very mainstream, YouTube now being the main source of discovering and sharing new music online. Clark’s situation, however, seemed to have resulted from a mixture of true talent, originality, creativity, and a bit of good fortune.

“What I probably would have done is applied for University maybe a year later, and gone for English or Drama or something. Then after that? Well, I don’t know…” Clark told her audience in a vlog about six months ago, titled “What I’d be doing if I wasn’t a YouTuber.” In it, she went on to mention her recent decision of self-employment through YouTube, telling us, “I’m super super busy, but I’m super super happy. I love my job. It’s great!”

Though she’s quite deserving of the life she’s created for herself, Clark is constantly thanking her fans, ensuring they know just how thankful she is for the life they’ve allowed her to create. This quality of hers, amongst countless others, has allowed her to keep and grow an incredibly loyal fanbase. On her second YouTube channel, Doddlevloggle, Clark posts videos ranging from quick, cute little covers to life advice for her followers. This channel seems almost to be a separate creative outlet for Clark, freeing her of the “standards” she places on herself for her “main channel” videos. It also allows her to further connect with fans.

“The celebrity world is so weird,” Clark wrote on an Instagram post after meeting “Pitch Perfect” star Anna Kendrick. “It feels like everything is covered in something thin and delicate and beautiful, like a sheet of ice, and I have such an urge to smash it and get underneath to the mess that is real humanity. It’s fun to play celeb, to get black cars to drive you to hotels with polished floors, to have someone brush the one flyaway hair or to top up your lipgloss before you film to keep up the illusion of perfection, but it would only be so long until I went insane and shattered it all!”

Dodie is unafraid to be completely honest with the world, and, unlike many others with large platforms on YouTube, shows her emotions openly and willingly. Such honesty and emotion is so clearly reflected in her music.

Speaking of her music, Clark will begin her tour with dear friends Tessa Violet and Rusty Clanton in October; the three YouTube musicians will be performing in ten different cities across the east coast. If it’s anything like the last tour the three experienced together, performances should be nothing short of engaging and magical! If you’ve a chance to attend, you definitely won’t want to miss out.