Harel Skaat is Israel’s most promising export this year – literally. The singer has been chosen to represent his country in the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest, an honor only a select few get to have.
But Skaat has been a fan favorite in Israel for years before receiving this honor. In 2004, he was the runner-up for "A Star is Born" (Israel’s version of American Idol). While he didn’t win the show, his season finale performance broke a record by topping the official Israeli Music Channel charts for 80 days.
Skaat released his debut album in 2006. It reached gold status after just three weeks, which turned into platinum not much later. He was named Singer of the Year by virtually all the Israeli radio stations and won multiple awards at the Israeli Music Channel Awards.
In 2007 and 2008, Skaat embarked on a tour involving 200 shows. He released his sophomore album, "Figures", the next year to rave reviews. The 28-year-old singer ended 2009 with news that he was selected by the Israeli Broadcasting Authority to represent Israel at the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo.
What drew you to music?
Ever since I can remember, I have been singing. I was born with an inherent love for music, a love which has developed and grown through the years. In music I find love, hate, compassion, and each and every possible emotion that enhances our experiences in life.
How has your new album "Figures" been received in Israel so far?
So far, the album has been doing very well. I have been receiving great reactions by people of different ages, from all walks of life, who really connect to the music and lyrics. I was very involved in the writing of Figures and I feel that it represents a more mature me, and therefore am thrilled that it touches so many people.
Is it true that the album is being launched internationally?
The album is already available on eBay and it will soon be featured on iTunes.
Congratulations on Eurovision, that’s a huge honor.
Where were you when you found out you were chosen?
I was actually at a great festival in the south of Israel, where I was performing French Chansons.
Do you know what song you’re singing for the contest yet?
I am in the process of looking for the song.
When can we expect to see you on tour? Will there be any Canadian and US shows?
I am constantly performing in Israel and hope to come to the US and Canada in the summer! If you invite me, I can come as soon as tomorrow!
Every artist has a different songwriting process. What's yours like?
To me writing is not a process but rather a very powerful - and being so self critical, also a very difficult -spiritual journey. Whenever I write, I always feel a spiritual connection to God.
Would you ever collaborate with anyone from "A Star is Born"?
Many great talents and voices were discovered on that show and if the right opportunity presents itself, I will not say no!
What else do you have planned for 2010?
My dream is to tour the world, to be healthy and never, ever, stop singing.
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life