Popstar Ivri Lider writes all his music and texts by himself. His third album came out this year and earned him a gold record award. Ivri Lider┬┤s songs have always reflected his own lifestyle - he has sung them for men in public. His coming-out as a gay man in an interview has been accepted and respected in Israel. Recently, he composed the soundtrack of the film "Yossi and Jaggar", a lovestory between two men in the Israeli army.
AVIVA-Berlin: What made you become a singer?
Ivri Lider: Well, I┬┤ve been a musician for all my life, since the age of five I┬┤m playing the piano. I wrote music for the theatre and films and a lot of ballet. So I┬┤m more of a composer. I used to do rock music, jazz music and classical music. But then I started singing my own songs. Gradually I got more confidence in what I do, in the fact that I can sing my own songs. I love to sing my own songs. This is actually how I became a singer.
AVIVA-Berlin: When you publically told the whole world you┬┤re gay in an interview with Maariv, the Israeli newspaper, did you plan to come out?
Ivri Lider: When I did my third album, my personal life was more obvious to me and I knew who I am and what I want to be, I thought It┬┤s a very good time, a very good opportunity to let my audience know exactly who they are dealing with, to be really open and true with my audience. This is on the personal level. I think It┬┤s also very important on the political level, in a place like Israel. I think It┬┤s important all over the world because not a lot of singers did that. I think it is important for the singers themselves and for society.
AVIVA-Berlin: You composed the music for Eytan Fox┬┤s film "Yossi & Jagger", which is the story of two gay army officers who are secret lovers. How did this come about?
Ivri Lider: Eytan is a very good friend of mine. He just asked me to do the score, and I was very happy to do it. And basically, that┬┤s it. We┬┤re good friends, we love working together. It┬┤s kind of personal for me because my boyfriend was in the army when I met him. We learnt a lot about the story of the army. He helped on this film, too. He was the army consultant.
AVIVA-Berlin: Do you think the film is going to change the behaviour towards gay people?
Ivri Lider: Yes. The army, in the Israeli society, is a very macho thing. The way homosexuality is represented in that movie is very delicate. It┬┤s done in a very nice way. It┬┤s something that a lot of straight people really find very beautiful. This is what this movie did. One critic said, "You cannot not fall in love with them, because they are so beautiful, they┬┤re so everyday guys." I think that┬┤s important.
AVIVA-Berlin: Could you also imagine this story being made with two women?
Ivri Lider: Yes, I think so. Though the army is more a guy┬┤s thing, and It┬┤s even harder for gay guys than for lesbians in the army. The army is a really macho and tough society. And there are a lot of boys at the age of 18 to 25 years. They do the army and they┬┤re in this phase of their life that they┬┤re not sure about themselves. I think that this movie could give a lot of people, a lot of young people and soldiers an example of other people dealing with that situation saying, "Look, It┬┤s okay and It┬┤s beautiful."
AVIVA-Berlin: What about your parents, your family?
Ivri Lider:My parents are very liberal. I think my mother is very happy. She really liked this idea. I┬┤m really happy about that, and I know that I┬┤m lucky.
AVIVA-Berlin: Few Israeli rock stars have managed to be popular outside Israel. But your records have jumped into the European mainstream radio market. What┬┤s the secret of this success? You┬┤re performing in English, but also in Hebrew.
Ivri Lider: Yes, we┬┤re performing in English and Hebrew. I┬┤d love to do an album in English for Europe. I have got my own record company in Israel. We┬┤re now negotiating with some record companies and producers to make something. I know we will do that and I┬┤m really looking forward to it. It opens more possibilities for an artist, you know. Israel is a small country, a beautiful country but small. After I did three albums, and they were successful, I┬┤m looking for some new ground.
AVIVA-Berlin: What is your target then? Where do you want to go?
Ivri Lider: I want to go on tour. I love the stage. It┬┤s a very important part of what I do. And I want to record music in Europe with people who live in Europe. I think that┬┤s really important, to work with some European musicians, to bring something new to your mind, to the way you do music. It┬┤s a different influence.