You may not know Nadavya yet, but with some luck you will. The 21-yearold singer/songwriter is on the brink of a record deal and is currently performing all over Israel. After making aliya with her family from the UK when she was young and going to performing arts school in England, she has made Jerusalem her home. She’s currently working on material for her debut album, which has a tentative release date of fall 2014.
What is your musical background?
I started performing when I was 11. I did musical theater. From there, I started with dancing and acting, and then built up my confidence to sing. When I was 13, we discovered that I could sing. From there, I realized that I loved singing and that’s what I wanted to do. It was very hard for me at first because I’m very shy. My mom used to dance and that was something that I also did since the age of three, so I think my parents always thought I would become a dancer. But I fell in love with singing and being on the stage.
How does the way you grew up inform you as a musician today?
Dropping out of high school (in Israel) for me was a really big deal because I was painfully shy and I just thought I wasn’t going to be good at anything. Then I realized I could sing and everything changed. Even today, I’ll sing something and I’ll surprise myself. I remind myself that I’m worth putting in the effort and the time. Music isn’t just something I love, it’s what gets me through the fact that it was really hard for me growing up and it’s still really hard every day. It’s not just something I’m good at; it’s me. When I was an adolescent, I didn’t talk.
We lived in Ramat Beit Shemesh and I was bullied so badly, so I lived in this dream world. When I had my first audition, I danced because I was too scared to sing.The director actually took me out onto the porch and asked me to sing. That really jump-started everything for me.
For a long time, I blamed my parents for bringing me to Israel. I thought my life would have been better in England, in terms of school and cultural adjustments. It’s taken me a long time, but I realize that if I wasn’t here in Israel, I wouldn’t have met that director and who knows where I would be now. It might have been a really difficult journey to get here, but I got something out of it and I’m so grateful that I am where I am now.
You had a big show on March 26, can you talk about that?
It went really well. It was nice to have a change of scenery from Jerusalem, where I’m always performing, to Petah Tikvah. It was a different type of crowd, which was cool. It was at a beautiful bar, and was just a great experience.
Do you always perform with the same musicians?
Now I’ve been playing with a lot of different musicians, trying to find the right fit.
Because I’m an independent artist, it’s hard to find musicians. The one constant has been Aidan Meyers, who plays guitar. I’ve known him for years and he reminded me a bit of myself when I was younger. No one really gave me a chance to do music, and I wish someone had. He’s extremely talented and it’s a pleasure working with him and seeing him develop. Right now, if I have any smaller shows, I bring him along with me.
Do you play any instruments?
I play piano, really just for song-writing purposes and to have fun. I also technically play guitar, but I haven’t picked up a guitar in awhile, so it’s on a very low level.
How do you choose which songs to cover and make them your own?
Sometimes I’ll just find a song and fall in love with it, and listen to it on repeat until I never want to hear it again (laughs). I usually know immediately after hearing a song if it’s something I would want to cover. It’s difficult though because my voice is a bit lower, so not everything is in my range, which goes into the process of choosing songs. I really love covering Carrie Underwood and Amy Winehouse. In terms of making them my own, I only pick songs that I emotionally connect to, so when I sing it, I end up changing the tempo to fit how I’m feeling. Also, I usually sing it in a lower range, so that will naturally make it more my own.
How would you describe the music scene in Jerusalem?
The scene here is incredible. I’ve met so many different musicians because it’s such an international place. You can really find every genre of music here, even though Israel is such a small place. You can walk down the street and hear so many talented artists, it’s amazing. The musical community here is really incredible, and once you get into it, it becomes like a family. The music scene in Israel is unique also because although everyone is trying to put themselves out there, we support one another, which is huge. If you meet the right people here, they will support you all the way and they’ll do it with love.
Who is your favorite artist of all time?
I definitely go through stages, but I have a special place in my heart for Celine Dion ever since I was really young. I may not listen to her now as much as I used to, but to me, when you think of a singer, she is it. I have all of her albums, and whenever I listen to her, I think she embodies what a singer should be.
For more information on Nadavya, including upcoming shows, new videos and music, visit www.facebook.com/pages/Nadavya