Four years into his music career in Israel, and 22-year-old Togolese-Israeli singer, dancer and model Stephane Legar is as animated as ever.
His passion for dance blossomed at 14 years old as he began to follow what he saw in video clips, and he eventually joined a dance studio, participated in dance competitions and uploaded his dance videos online. When Legar first emerged in Israel’s entertainment industry, he had no intention of producing his own music. He just wanted to encourage people to dance. His first song, “Step Fun,” was simply meant to be a dance challenge for his social media followers. Nonetheless, his manager was convinced that he wasn’t utilizing his talents to their full potential and urged him to produce a couple of more songs.
In the midst of a hot summer in 2018, Legar ultimately produced “Comme Ci Comme ca,” the French hit that took Israel by storm and made him well-known across the country. He went on to collaborate with pop stars Eden Ben Zaken, Noa Kirel, Mergui, and Static and Ben-El, to name a few. In 2021, Legar’s high-spirited persona and music are on their way to going global.
He’s an unlikely star on the Israeli music scene.
As the son of Togolese foreign diplomats who worked in the Nigerian embassy in Israel, Legar is fluent in French, Togolese, English, Hebrew and Spanish, which is apparent through the music he produces. He was born in Bat Yam, and studied in the French sector of Mikveh Israel, a youth village and boarding school in Tel Aviv that also happens to be the first Jewish agricultural school in Israel. He ultimately decided to learn Hebrew, become an Israeli citizen, and enlist in the Israeli Defense Forces at 19, serving in the C4i and Cyber Defense Directorate.
When Legar answered the phone, he enthusiastically joked about speaking in whatever language deemed suit: “English, Hebrew, Spanish – what are we doing? Yo hablo Espanol también.”
Since he started singing and rapping, he has dabbled in all of the languages listed above, including introducing English into Mizrahi music, which he claims is something that hasn’t been done before.
“When I implement different languages into my music, I feel like I’m bringing it together into one language,” explained Legar. “It has become one language for me.”
His passion for connecting with different languages has inadvertently connected him with a range of artists from diverse backgrounds, especially Mizrahi singer Itay Levy, whom Legar said he bonded with naturally through the love they have for their mothers, which manifested in "Maman", their first song together. They have since produced another song (Rak Banot) together, and Legar said they could produce many more songs together and still go strong, emphasizing the deep bromance they share.
Since stepping into the limelight, Legar has begun to make his way back to his roots by producing music in his native tongue, French. The same year “Comme Ci Comme ca” was released, he signed on with Warner Music France. He has since gone on to produce “Vida Loca,” which nabbed first place on the charts in France, and was repeatedly played on the country’s radio stations and shows. However, due to coronavirus, Legar hasn’t produced as much music as he would have hoped since signing on with the French record label. Apparently, he has only produced two songs with Warner Music even though he signed on about two and a half years ago. Nonetheless, he took the global pandemic in stride.
“I was working, working, working, but when Corona came, I realized I was tired. I understood that I’ve got to rest sometimes, and why it’s good to rest,” said Legar. “I needed the break to understand who I am, what I’m doing, and why I’m doing it. I gained a lot from a personal perspective this year. I solved a lot of personal problems I had. I even bought a car.”
Evidently, Legar is replenished and revitalized, coming back in full swing with more multilingual bops. Over the past month, he released “Flexin,” an English single, and “J’avance,” a French single which translates to "I'm advancing." In the English single, he boasts about how he “just pulled up in a ‘rarri” – perhaps referencing his own car – and is simply “flexin’ on you.” Energetic dance numbers are featured in both music videos in classic Stephane Legar fashion.
He also plans on releasing a “big, big, big” song in Hebrew at the beginning of March, although he wouldn’t reveal anything about the song yet, so Israeli fans will just have to keep their eyes peeled for the music video. His youthful vibrancy and unabashed shirtlessness appears to be a personal trademark of his in almost every single music video he has produced thus far, yet this time around, he claims to be adding something new to the mix.
“I’m growing up and my music is growing with me,” said Legar. “If I make a change in my life, if I’ve been through something, there’s going to be a change in my music. Not only in my music – you’re going to see a change in my eyes, in my face. I want people to recognize that because it’s real.”
Legar added more about the direction he’s planning on taking with his new music: “[In previous songs], I was always smiling, I was always positive, and my music videos were always ‘happy, happy, happy.’ This time around, I’m singing about a serious subject, which is a bit more spicy. This spice isn’t new for me. It was always there, but it’s something that I’m embracing more, which is why I’m integrating it into my music now.”
With Legar fusing this “spice” into his already infectious energy, jaunty dancing dynamics, and welcoming, multicultural persona, Israeli and worldwide fans alike can expect quite the euphonic blend from him this year.
“I’m living my dream right now, and I’ll keep working at it. That’s the thing that’s opening doors for me right now,” concluded Legar.
“My life is all about the music.”