A GoPride Interview

Ivri Lider

Ivri Lider: I like doing covers... To put it in a different light so the words say something else. It all feels very different.

Wed. August 10, 2011  by Jerry Nunn

I like doing covers... To put it in a different light so the words say something else. It all feels very different.
Ivri Lider

Jerry Nunn talks to out musician Ivri Lider, one of the biggest selling music artist in Israel

Ivri Lider is one of the biggest selling music artists in Israel. Being an out musician in our country has paid off with his video playing on Logo television and Out Magazine placing him in their Out 100.

GoPride.com talked to Ivri when he was visiting Chicago singing at the House of Blues.

JN: (Jerry Nunn) Hi, Ivri. You played Milwaukee Pridefest this year. It was a lot of fun there wasn't it?

IL: (Ivri Lider) Yeah, it was fun but it was really cold.

JN: Is this the first time you have been to Chicago?

IL: No, I was here about five years ago. I had a show at a university. It was just for one day so I don't know much about the city. We just arrived here this morning.

JN: After the show you should go out. Do you know about the bar right by here called Downtown?

IL: I saw the rainbow flags.

JN: The bar has two floors, very swanky. Where do you live now?

IL: I live in Tel Aviv most of the time. We traveled a lot this year. I am flying all of the time. We have been in the United States four or five time then Europe and South America. My home is Tel Aviv.

JN: Are you single?

IL: I have a partner but he is not live in Israel. He's German so he just came for the summer. We will see what happens but we met in Israel.

JN: Where did you learn to speak English?

IL: In Israel a lot of people speak good English because we have American television. There is not dubbing like in Europe. Many us study English from the 3rd grade. I think my English got really good when I started dating Americans!

JN: There you go…

IL: I had an American boyfriend for two years. He was from Tennessee.

JN: I am from there!

IL: He's from Paris, Tennessee. It is two hours from Nashville. I have been there twice.

JN: Where did you meet him?

IL: In New York. I love Tennessee. It is amazing. I have wrote songs about it.

JN: So where exactly were you born?

IL: I was born a little north of Tel Aviv in Kibbutz, Israel.

JN: Is it a small town?

IL: Kibbutz is actually not even a town. It is more like a village. It is more like a socialist version of a village. Everybody lives together. But my parents left when I was young so we went to the suburb of Tel Aviv.

JN: What was it like growing up gay there?

IL: It was pretty okay. I never did anything about it. I had a girlfriend in school.

JN: Like a lot of us…

IL: Yes and it took me a long time to come out. My family is a really cool family. They are very liberal and never a problem. It was funny. I didn't come home one night and I told my mom that I met someone. She asked, "Is it a boy or a girl?" I said, "A boy." "Okay, there is pasta in the fridge…"

JN: (laughs) I love it!

IL: I was very lucky in that sense.

JN: Did you study music?

IL: I was studying music since I was five years old. I played classical piano, and jazz piano. I was doing computer music since I was twelve. I studied a lot with private teachers. I started my career really early so I didn't go to college or anything. I just started writing music for dance and cinema. I released my album when I was 23.

JN: Wow. What kind of music do you listen to?

IL: Hmm I am all over the place. I love everything from modern, classical to jazz. I like American rock bands like Nine Inch Nails. I love Bjork and Snow Patrol.

JN: That's a good variety. Tell me about your song "Jessie."

IL: These guys from Sony New York did a project called Music With a Twist. I sent them a song and they wanted it. I had that song for a long time. It was one of the first things that I did in English. This was how I was able to release it with Sony's help.

JN: Is it about someone specific?

IL: That is a good question. I am not sure. Well, we all have had that experience. I once met a Jessie in Canada. I don't think it is a song about him. But I think that is where the name came from. The idea came from all of us knowing this feeling and story well enough.

JN: It is being played on the Logo channel. That must be exciting.

IL: It was yes.

JN: Many radio stations have called you the "male singer of the year."

IL: In Israel yes. I have had a long career there now. I have five studio albums, one DVD and a book.

JN: What is the book like?

IL: It is a poetry and photography book. Israel is my base and home. I have not recorded an album in English yet. Last year in England with Andy Green, who is a big producer there, I worked on one. I think we are going to release it next year.

JN: Will it be a dance style record?

IL: No, it will be more a rock band record with a lot of electronics that I always use.

JN: You did a song on the soundtrack to the Fox-Uchovsky film The Bubble with the Gershwin song "The Man I Love" on it. Are you a Gershwin fan?

IL: I am in a way. It is not something I listen to now all the time. I did play Gershwin on the piano for quite some time. I was very happy that I was able to do that song for the movie. I like doing covers like that. It is always interesting to take something out of its original intention and do something totally different with it. To put it in a different light so the words say something else. It all feels very different.

JN: You also did a cover of Katy Perry's " I Kissed a Girl."

IL: I did. It is what I am talking about. You take something and don't even change it. I didn't change a word. You sing it and very differently than the original so it feels like a different song. It's funny and a good thing.

Check out his cover of Lady Gaga's "Telephone" on his website www.ivrilider.com.

Interviewed by Jerry Nunn. Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.

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