It is nice to be able to show people another side of Israel outside of the conflict... there are so many things that define us,’ says Israeli singer Ella Ronen..
(photo credit: OREN GILAD)
Switzerland may be just a beautiful vacation spot for most Israelis, but for Ella Ronen, it became the place where she found her voice.
Born to a European mother and Iranian father, Ronen grew up in the Tel Aviv area and by the age of eight was singing in the Israel Conservatory of Music.
“I was always singing since I can remember,” Ella explained. “Sometimes I would even sit my family down and make them listen to me sing.”
From beginnings in classical music and a choir, Ella quickly found her passion in writing her own lyrics.
“Classical music was constraining, there was something stiff about it,” she explained.
However, connecting her two biggest passions – writing (poetry) and singing music didn’t come as quickly for her.
“It wasn’t until the end of my army service that I realized I could tell stories with my music,” she said, adding it marked a turning point in her musical evolution.
As a musician with eloquence beyond her years, Ronen began using her songs to tell her story, citing influences such as Leonard Cohen and Regina Spektor.
When she was 21 Ronen moved to Switzerland by herself, where the change in life and the isolation aided in her musical growth.
A song she wrote and recorded, called “Sing Us A Song,” became a video sensation and landed in the bandwidth of the Swiss version of the hit music reality competition show The Voice.
She was chosen to appear on the show and did well, making it all the way to the second phase of the show, called the “Battle Round.”
“I might not have done it [try out for a TV show] back home because I would have been too preoccupied with what everyone thought of me,” she said, adding that being the unknown “foreigner” gave her confidence to shine.
Ronen recalled the many occasions in Switzerland where she was presented as “the Israeli,” often serving as an unofficial cultural ambassador. During her shows in Switzerland, which are performed in English, she introduces one song in Hebrew and explains the meaning of the song beforehand.
“It is nice to be able to show people another side of Israel outside of the conflict” she said, adding, “There are so many things that define us.”
Ronen’s debut album, titled Mirror Maze, is currently being released in Switzerland, and is set to debut in Israel in November.
After three years abroad, Ronen will be returning home for the Israeli release and will be hosting three shows in Haifa, Tel Aviv and then Beersheba from November 11 to November 13.For more info visit www.ellaronen.com.