Emily Yates, Eventual Ukulele Superstar

Emily Yates, Eventual Ukulele Superstar


I write smart-ass folk songs based on my observations about Life, the Universe and Everything. They are intended to make people think, but also laugh - because laughing is fun, and thinking isn't always pleasant. My songs are all about finding that sweet spot between thinking hard and laughing hard.


Emily Yates is a writer who has always loved to sing, dance and otherwise perform in public, but it wasn’t until 2011 that her well-meaning husband taught her to play an instrument: the ukulele. So naturally, she started writing songs (such as “Try Not To Be A Dick,” a finalist in the 2012 International Songwriting Competition) and playing them for people, who usually applauded. The applause led her to pursue more performance opportunities, and although she’s still in the beginning stages of Eventual Ukulele Superstardom, she is sure that soon she will be able to drop the “Eventual” and just move on to total world domination. Especially since she now also plays the tenor banjo – everyone knows how effective a communication tool banjos can be. Her debut album of entirely original material is called I’ve Got Your Folk Songs Right Here. Emily is a native of Syracuse, New York, and has lived in Oakland, California, since 2009.


Try Not To Be A Dick

Written By: Emily Yates

In twenty-odd years of living
I have had the chance
To learn some of life’s lessons
Like, When you go outside? Wear pants.

I’ve given quite a bit of thought / To our statutes and laws
But there’s one simple principle / That supersedes ‘em all …

Try not to be a dick
Cover your mouth when you sneeze so others don’t get sick
Stay out of the fast lane if you are drivin’ slow
It won’t always be easy ’cause other drivers suck, I know, just
Try not to be a dick

When you stand on the escalator / Please step to the right
So if I need to pass you / We won’t have to fight
The concept’s pretty simple / A child could comprehend
That you should turn your blinker on / Before you ’round the bend


(Occupy Verse):
When you’re peacefully assembling / In a public place
And the cops come to disperse you / With their tear gas and their mace
The urge to fight against them / Will be quite strong
But instead of violence just / Sing them this song, say


So if you’re one of those people / As all of us can be
Kindly take a minute / Lend your ear to me
You don’t have to be perfect / Neither do I
All that we can really do is / Give it a try, and


Try not to be a dick
(repeat ad nauseum)

A Northern California Love Song

Written By: Emily Yates

Oh, oh, you came out of nowhere like a Berkeley pedestrian
You stole my heart just like a San Francisco crackhead stole my bike
You drive me crazy like those West Marin hippies
But you’re the kind of Northern Californian that I like

When I met you I moved straight out from the East Coast to the Bay
Where people can express themselves in just any old way
We traveled all around this state meeting folks of every kind
But out of all those weirdos, you’re the one who’s on my mind

You’re not a grower up in Humboldt or a stoner from Santa Cruz
You don’t have a house in Tahoe where the lake is oh so blue
You’re not a dreamy painter on the Mendocino coast
But that’s okay ‘cause baby it’s still you I love the most


Well you’ve never been to Burning Man, you don’t make your own wine
You don’t call women goddesses but you still treat us fine
You don’t run a non-profit and you’re not an activist
But even so it’s you who’s at the top of my list

You’re the kind of Northern Californian that I like

In A Major Key

Written By: Emily Yates

I have got a lot to say
About the world I occupy every day
But when I speak what’s on my mind
I find I piss people off

So I looked back to a time before / When people spoke out even more
And I found one commonality / Y’see, they said it in a major key

A minor key won’t work
If you wanna tell folks that they’re jerks
You want your audience to agree
You gotta sing it in a major key

It worked for Bob and Joan and Pete / When they raged against the world’s elite
They used their tunes so clear and bright / To fight against the machine
And the people lapped up every word / They sang along like little birds
Cuz how can anyone be wrong / If their song is in a major key

A minor key won’t do
If you want to share your point of view
You want the people to hear your stance
A major key’ll be your only chance

And now I see it very clear / How to talk to people so they can hear
I’ll use Do Re Mi So Fa and Ti / And they’ll see exactly what I mean

And my message might not be profound / But all that matters is the sound
I can say any goddamn thing I please / If I sing it in a major key

Plant Some Weed

Written By: Emily Yates

I like to tiptoe through the tulips
I’ve watched them grow up tall and fine from tiny little seeds
But tiptoeing through tulips won’t pay my bills
So next year, I’d better plant some weed

I guess I could go work at McDonald’s
Or take tickets at the movies and spend my days popping corn
But if I grow those lovely buds of marijuana
Well that, my friend, pays better these days than porn

Oh Mister Obama, it’s not that I wanna
It’s just that I’m driven to succeed
I’ve gotta stretch my dollar
In this failing economy
The best way I can see is planting weed

I’m not saying that there’s no other option
It’s just that all the rest of them don’t have the same returns
So I’ll spend the summer tending to my crop, son
By next harvest, I’ll have money left to burn


"Smoke Break" (single) (2013)
I've Got Your Folk Songs Right Here (LP) (2012)