Move over Gal Gadot, Israel may soon boast an Israeli-made wonderman. Asaf Goren’s superhuman abs have gotten the attention of Britney Spears – and her giggling girlfriends. In her new video, “Make Me,” the queen of pop and her girlie pals taunt a hottie into bringing his hottie friends to an audition. Petah Tikva native Asaf Goren, 25, was one of them.
Stepping into Miri Mesika’s Tel Aviv apartment, it’s hard to tell she’s one of Israel’s most beloved singers. The design isn’t particularly modern or glamorous, especially by Hollywood standards, and it’s got the usual household clutter: appliances, books, furniture. Only a home studio decorated with album plaques in one corner gives away Mesika’s stature. Her three albums are among the highest selling for any female artist in Israel. She has received Singer of the Year awards numerous times from Israel’s equivalent of the Grammys and from local radio stations. In Tel Aviv, a pop star could very well be the girl next door. As she walks out of the kitchen where she’s just put food in the oven, Mesika apologizes for wearing no makeup. She says she’s used to having makeup artists dress her face — not that she needs much. She’s a natural Israeli beauty, with long, black, curly ringlets and a signature mole on her left cheek. Her complexion is darker than it looks in pictures, a testament to her half-Tunisian, half-Iraqi roots. READ MORE IN THE JEWISH JOURNAL
Read the original in the Jerusalem Post, August 22, 2011 LOS ANGELES – Jonathan “JR” Rotem’s Israeli background was no secret as he burst onto the pop music scene in 2006 as a hip-hop producing icon, with Rihanna’s chart-topping “S.O.S.” and later building the careers of Jason Derulo, Sean Kingston, and IYAZ. One way of understanding Rotem’s achievements is to split him into two personalities. There’s “J.R.”, the acronym for “Jonathan Rotem,” the fast-tracking beat-maker who likes to make cameos in his protégés’ videos wearing designer sunglasses, gangsta-style chains and other bling that suggests he rose from the inner-city projects. He’s the one who wants to tell the world he’s made it, with “J…J…J…R!” broadcast in funky reverb at the start of the hits churned out by his record label, Beluga Heights – from Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls” to Derulo’s “In My Head.” This is the tabloid personality rumored to have hung out with, dated, shoplifted, impregnated and God know what else with Britney Spears. Then there’s “Jonathan Reuven Rotem,” the Jewish kid from Northern California who studied jazz at the Berklee School of Music in Boston and who worked diligently at transitioning his classical training towards danceable hip-hop beats and catchy pop melodies. He’s the son of Israeli, Jerusalem-born parents – a computer science professor father and therapist mother. He’s the one who fondly remembers visiting Israel as a child but who hasn’t been there since the 1990s because …
When the Israeli electro-rock-pop band Terry Poison strutted onto the stage at the Hollywood Playhouse as the headliner act of the after-party for Israel’s debut at LA Fashion week on Oct. 14, most audience members — largely Israeli ex-pats — got up to dance, though some stayed behind to scratch their heads. The band wore metallic spandex bodysuits and wild makeup and played synth-based instruments to songs with English lyrics that sometimes sounded like an esoteric robotic language. It was a performance that could easily have been taken for an avant-garde art installation. Terry Poison diverges radically from the folksy, acoustic and singable tunes of Israeli hit-makers like Idan Raichel or Ivri Lider, both of whom have performed in Los Angeles recently. In Israel, though, the band is emerging as a hot new voice and concept in Israeli pop circles. The band opened for Depeche Mode in Israel in May and was nominated as best Israeli act for the 2009 MTV Europe Music Awards, airing in November in Berlin. READ MORE IN THE JEWISH JOURNAL