Widely praised for his vocal ability, his singing has been described as unique: strong and clear, and often with a deep emotional quality. Biography Harel Skaat was born on August 8, 1981, in Kfar Sava, Israel to a Yemenite and Iraqi Jewish family. Skaat's singing talents garnered attention from an early age. When he was 6 he won a children's singing competition and later appeared in an episode of a popular Israeli television show called Parpar Nehmad.
In an interview with esctoday, Skaat said that he was taught how to sing by the Yemenite side of his family—his father, grandfather, and grandmother. After serving a mandatory stint in the Israel Defense Forces, he attended Beit Zvi, a college specializing in the performing arts. Kokhav Nolad In 2004, Skaat entered Kokhav Nolad, a televised singing competition based on Pop Idol. Skaat quickly emerged as the favorite, consistently receiving praise for his performances from the show's judges. He easily won his semi-final round against the competition, which included eventual winner, Harel Moyal, and went into the finals as the heavy favorite.
Moyal's surprise win over Skaat in the finals illicited shocked reactions from music professionals associated with the show, including the producer and some of the judges and spurred accusations of voter manipulation by some of Skaat's fans. The allegations, which were denied by the producers of the television program, arose in part from perceived problems inherent in the voting system, which allowed for block voting and from online betting taking place before the finals. At the finals, Skaat sang a stirring rendition of an old Israeli popular song, "Hineni Kan" (Hebrew: "הנני כאן עכו"; English: "I Am Here"), a song which would go on to top the official Israeli music charts for a record 80 days and has since become a standard in his concert repertoire. Early Career Despite the surprise loss, Skaat emerged from Kokhav Nolad with a large fan base. Since 2004, Skaat has toured actively throughout Israel and has appeared at numerous state-sponsored events.
He has also appeared frequently at the Zappa Club, popular rock night clubs in Tel Aviv and Herzliya. In 2005, Skaat was chosen to sing the Israeli national anthem, "Hatikvah" (Hebrew: הַתִּקְוָה; English: The Hope) in a soccer game between Israel and France. Also in 2005, he performed in a a major musical play, which in English is translated as He Who Dreamed based on the last 10 years in the life of Yitzhak Rabin, the former Israeli Prime Minister who was assassinated in 1995. The cast included Gila Almagor, Oded Teomi, and Shuli Natan, who sang one of the country's most beloved songs, "Yerushalayim Shel Zahav" (English: "Jerusalem of Gold") during the play. Debut album Skaat released his debut album, "Harel Skaat" (הראל סקעת), in the summer of 2006.
The album produced a string of hits, including "Kama Od Efshar" (Hebrew: "כמה עוד אפשר"; English: "How Much More is Possible"), "Mashehu Mimeni" (Hebrew: "משהו ממני"; English: "Something from Me"), "Im Hu Yelekh" (Hebrew: "אם הוא ילך"; English: "If He Goes") and the romantic ballad, "Ve At" (Hebrew: "ואת"; English: "And You") which stayed number one on the major Israeli music charts for seven weeks. Initial reviews of the album were mixed. For instance, a review in The Jerusalem Post criticized the lack of spontaneity of the album, and the inclusion of dance-tracks which the critic claimed undercut the singer's talents, but praised Skaat's soothing vocals and his ability to move listeners. The album was certified gold less than one month after its release, eventually achieving platinum status.
(It should be noted that because of its small market size, the Israeli music industry certifies an album to be gold when it sells 20,000 copies.) Skaat won numerous awards for his work on the self-titled album. He was named 'Man of 2006 in Israeli Music' by "Keshet" and 'Male Singer of 2006' in the Hebrew Song Parade. He also won 'Singer of the Year' and 'Song of the Year' for "Ve At" (written by Israeli singer-songwriter Keren Peles) in the Music 24 Channel's Israel Music Awards (AMI). In addition, the Israeli Music Channel named the video for "Im Hu Yelekh" as the best music video of the year.
During the same year, Israeli mobile phone operator, Cellcom, attempted to capitalize upon Skaat's popularity with the country's youth by developing a reality-based video series featuring the singer. The series was one of the earliest efforts by a mobile phone operator to provide exclusive video content via its users' cell phones. Dmuyot In the spring of 2008, as Skaat was rumored to be working on his second album, he was sued by his record company, Hed Artzi, for breach of contract. As a result of the legal dispute, Skaat was unable to record material for the new album for the rest of the year. A resolution seemed possible in December when the Israel Broadcasting Authority chose Skaat to be the country's representative in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009, but the inability of Skaat and Hed Artzi to reach a compromise led to Skaat being forced to drop out of the competition.
In February 2009, a court granted Skaat permission to return to the studio. Skaat eventually resolved his problems with his old record company, and entered into a new relationship with Aroma Music and Partner Communications. In May 2009, Skaat released the single, "Muvan Li Achshav" (Hebrew: "מובן לי עכשיו"; English: "Now I Understand"). The CD single of the song was sold exclusively through Aroma's chain of coffee shops and became a major hit in Israel.
"Muvan Li Achshav" later was included on his second album, Dmuyot (Hebrew: דמויות; English: Figures), released on September 1, 2009. Since its release, Dmuyot has achieved gold status. Among the other songs to have been released as singles from the album include: "Boi Ha Yom" (Hebrew: "בואי היום"; English: "Come Today"), "Sof", (Hebrew: "סוף"; English: "End") and "Od Ya'ir Alay" (Hebrew: "עוד יאיר עלי"; English: "Shine on Me"). Song of the Decade In 2009, in an Israeli music poll for the best singer and song of the past decade, Skaat came in second, after Eyal Golan, for the title of male singer of the decade. His single "Ve At" won fourth place for song of the decade ("Mima'amakim" by the Idan Raichel Project topped the list).
Five hundred songs (50 for each year) contended for the honor. Results were revealed live on Israeli television at a special, all-star show at Jerusalem's Sultan's Pool. Eurovision 2010 In December 2009, the Israel Broadcasting Authority selected Skaat to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010. The announcement was made at the Knesset, Israel's legislative body. The selection was preceded by several days of speculation and confusion, and followed by criticism of the Israel Broadcasting Authority and calls for an investigation of the selection process despite the fact that the vote in favor of Skaat was unanimous. In March 2010, "Milim" (English: "Words") written by Noam Horev and composed by Tomer Hadadi, was selected unanimously as the Israeli song entry for the Eurovision contest when it won the Kdam Eurovision, the country's pre-Eurovision selection competition.
The four songs chosen as finalists for the Kdam Eurovision, including "Milim", were recorded in a studio by Skaat and released on a special CD entitled Eurovision 2010. To promote the Israeli entry, a music video of "Milim" was released, and Skaat recorded and released English and French versions of the song. "Milim" spent a total of five weeks at number one on the Israeli Reshet Gimmel Chart, one of the major Israeli music charts, including the entire month of May 2010. Hence it was number one during the period when Skaat was in Oslo competing in the Eurovision contest. Skaat explained to the press gathered in Oslo for Eurovision that "Milim" is about loss, such as in a break-up, but that for him, it has a deeper meaning.
Skaat said, "this song touches me deeply. My grandfather died just days before the selections in Israel, and this gives me a very deep feeling, I feel that I'm really singing this song for him. He wanted me to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest for five years, and then he got to hear that I was going to take part in the national selection before he passed away." Despite being widely regarded as one of the favorites to winIsrael placed 14th in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010. However, Israel swept the Eurovision sanctioned Marcel Bezençon Awards for 2010, winning for best artist, best composition, and best entry of the contest.
It is the first time in the history of the awards (which are selected by the contest's accredited media and press, participating composers, and commentators) that a single country has won more than one award in the same year. After the results were announced, Skaat expressed not disappointment but pride and gratitude. He told one reporter, "I am proud and thrilled with our representation and performance. We brought artistic respect to Israel.
It was a fun experience and I enjoyed every minute of it." Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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