This weekend I was lucky enough to have one of the greatest adventures I have thus far experienced during my time here in Israel. After talking about doing this for what felt like forever, I finally teamed up with a phenomenal Israeli musician and recorded my first Arabic cover!
Prior to studio day
I had such high hopes for this project that I wanted to make sure to do everything right. I was lucky enough to find a playback recording of the song’s original music, memorized my lyrics well in advance (though that wasn’t hard since I have been singing this song for years now), stopped with all things dairy 3 days prior to the session (allergies plus increased phlegm production does not a good recording make), practiced my breathing, and stuck to a vocal exercises plan to ensure a nice, warm voice when it came time to record. I will have to say that my decision to give up dairy was not the easiest, but it was at least doable. I was just thanking my luck stars thtuna rolls and spicy mayo didn’t have a negative impact on my vocal abilities otherwise I would have had a SERIOUS problem! However, my Thursday night sushi ritual was safe, and when Friday arrived I was prepared, confident, excited, and ready to go!
I have been blessed with phenomenal contacts in the Israeli music industry, and those contacts led me straight to the amazingly gifted musician, Marc Kakon, who I have been fortunate enough to record with twice now. He is French/Moroccan/Israeli so naturally his music reflects that Mizrahi, Middle Eastern style that I so passionately love, and he has worked with some of the biggest names in the Israeli music industry including Idan Raichel. He is now working on an album with his beautiful and talented wife Lital Gabai, an outstanding Persian/Israeli singer, and to have the experience of working in an environment with the both of them was such a blessing! I can only hope for more of these kinds of amazing musical experiences in the future, including, perhaps, collaboration on an original song ::fingers crossed::! Here is one of there songs which should give you an idea of why I want to work with these two enormously talented musicians!
Friday morning started out very leisurely, which was much appreciated seeing as I was quite nervous (excited nervous) for my upcoming session. I really had no idea what to expect… I have never officially recorded anything in Arabic before, and I had the most overwhelming feeling that it would either be really, really amazing or fantastically horrible. I was, of course, very much hoping for the former! After taking my time to get out of bed, I ate a hearty breakfast of leftover sushi, warmed up my voice, took a quick shower, and got myself ready to go. By noon I was out the door, and shortly after that I arrived at Mark’s home studio. After a few minutes of catching up (it has been over a year since I last saw both him and his wife), we prepared all that we needed to prepare, and then began with the recording.
I really can’t adequately describe in words how exhilarating it was to be in the studio this time around, and how different this session was from the last. When I first recorded with Marc it was simply for the purpose of giving me some experience in a studio. I picked two pop culture, American songs that I liked to sing, but nothing that moved me like Middle Eastern music does. When I sang the first time it was decent, but this time I was transformed. There is nothing like vocally expressing yourself with music that truly moves you to the core.
I can’t explain why I feel so connected to Arabic, both the language and the music, and there is really no logical reason behind it, but from the first moment I heard my first Arabic song it became one of the great loves of my life. A love that drove and encouraged me to move to and explore the Middle East region, and a love that prompted me to break out of my shell and take a chance on a music project that is so illogical it just might work! I mean who has ever heard of an American, Jewish, Ashkenazi Arabic singer! Well, many people have said that they think I was an Arab in a past life, and that, combined with my good ear for accents, will hopefully help this crazy idea pan out! I mean non native English speakers sing in English all the time… I’m just reversing it 🙂
I am my worst critic so I will never say that my voice sounds good, but when I heard myself on a playback after the first take of the song I was completely stunned… I simply couldn’t believe that what I was hearing was actually my voice! It was like a different person was singing back to me, and I had a moment where everything just felt good. Each take gave me more confidence in the project that I hope to complete, and every time I opened my mouth to sing I thought about you and how proud you would be that I’m making my dreams come true all on my own. You were with me every second in that studio, and the thought of how your face would look if I could tell you all of this in person gave me the power to sing with every ounce of my being!
It was truly the most amazing day, and once Marc is done with all of the sound editing I will receive the final version of the song (which I will of course post and share with everyone)! The best part about all of this was that after a long day at the studio I came home to find this little bundle of joy waiting for me! Stephane was also there waiting for me but Jasper is much more important to show off :-)!
I miss you every second of every day, friend, and I wish you were here to experience this all with me. I keep you with me in everything that I do and I know you are up there guiding, and watching over me. I love you forever and always…
Until we meet again <3,