If there's one thing that often unites people from all over the world, it's music. While the UK and US tend to dominate the charts, more and more artists from other countries are making their mark on the industry, delivering fresh and exciting tracks for fans everywhere to enjoy. One such artist is Sivan Talmor, a singer-songwriter residing in Israel. Having already appeared on The Voice and due to release her first English record Fire in October, she's already established herself as a talented individual with an undeniable passion for what she does and with big plans for the future, she kindly agreed to this interview to chat social media, dream shows and song-writing inspiration.
PW: Please introduce yourself.
Sivan Talmor: Hi! My name is Sivan Talmor, and I'm a singer-songwriter living in Israel. After a good deal of inner soul-searching, I've just finished recording my new album, FIRE.
PW: How would you sum yourself up in five words?
ST: A traveller who always looks for the sun – is 8 okay?
PW: Which bands and artists did you grow up listening to and how did they influence you? Have such influences changed over the years?
ST: I grew up listening to a lot of music my parents used to listen to - from sixties American folk such as Peter, Paul and Mary, and Simon & Garfunkel, to The Beatles, Leonard Cohen, CCR and even Harry Belafonte. I also listened to a lot of Israeli folk music, which is very minor scale based. I think that what you listen to during your childhood becomes a part of you even if you don't notice it-- a part of your memories, your childhood landscapes, your blood cells. The music you hear growing up comes back when you write your own music.
PW: When did you first realise you wanted to be a performer? Was there an album you listened to or concert you attended that made you think 'yeah, I want to do that'?
ST: I can't point to a specific moment, but it was from a very early age. As a young child, I asked my mother for voice lessons. She didn't know what exactly that would entail, so I went ahead and found the phone number of a music conservatory 45 minutes from us that had opera classes. While they told me I was too young - I was 9 at the time - I stood my ground and asked to come for a meeting. They auditioned me, and I got in. My mother had no clue where this 'bug' had come from, but it turned out I just really wanted to sing and perform on stage, no matter what!
PW: How did your time on The Voice encourage and motivate you in terms of wanting to be an artist?
ST: When I went on The Voice, I was already a performing musician. I had my own band, and we'd been playing for nearly 3 years. I saw it as a good jumping step to build my fan-base, and to enjoy one hell of a crazy experience, which would give me a good stage to present my art.
PW: Do you have any favourite memories from your time on the show?
ST: The whole experience was like a crazy ride in a dazzling amusement park. I was fully in the game and it was truly an experience of a lifetime. From performing on a huge stage, to getting to work with top musicians, to being dressed by stylists, I really got the full package. It was blinding, but also eye opening, to be operating at that level at such an early stage of my career. I'm especially grateful that I got to know my mentor Aviv Geffen as a result of the show, who I've kept in touch with.
PW: Your latest single "I'll Be" focuses strongly on your passion for the environment. What made you want to write a song and create a video to document that?
ST: So the song wasn’t at first written about the environment. It was actually written as a love song apologizing to my partner - my dear husband - after a fight we had. I tried to find a way to tell him that I’m willing to be anything for him, if only he’d forgive me and accept my apology. As the song continued to evolve, it became really about someone you’ll give your whole self for. When I met the two screen writers and directors of the video, Tal Rosenthal and Noam Sharon, they immediately envisioned a story about the environment, and how we keep on taking it all from our tiny Earth. I love the direction it took, because nature and environment are such important issues that we deal with during our day-to-day lives.
PW: How easy/hard do you find the song-writing process and who/what most inspires you?
ST: I can’t say I find it hard, but it's definitely a fragile process. I just need to listen to myself, find moments of silence - where all my feelings and thoughts can translate into music - and the songs come out of that, if i let them. It's the fine tuning that comes later in the song-writing process that is the most intensive for me. I feel like everything inspires me.... a morning drive in the car, a good book, a poem, a song on the radio, a sight of an old couple walking in the street etc.
PW: Which song, in your opinion, is the greatest ever written and why?
ST: Wow, what a difficult question! I think one of the greatest is “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. It's deep and poetic, but also accessible and anthemic. The best songs written combine simplicity and depth.
PW: Your new album Fire is due out in October and is your first English record. Without giving too much away, what can you tell me about it?
ST: I can tell you it's my most honest and intimate creation to date. Ori Winokur, who produced the album, managed to take this intimacy and paint it with music so gently yet with great richness. If you listen carefully, I believe the album could take you on a journey through your own inner world.
PW: If you could play one venue anywhere in the world, which would it be and why?
ST: For some reason the first place that comes to mind is the Hammersmith Apollo in London. Something about the venue makes it feel so intimate even though it isn't small. There's been an unbelievable amount of music over the years that has passed through its walls. I’ve watched an amazing Eddie Vedder solo concert there, which left such a strong impact on me. Something almost mythic.
PW: If you could share a stage with three other bands or artists, who can be living or dead, who would they be and why?
ST: Hard one! I'd say Lou Reed, Billie Holiday and Bob Dylan, because they are like my "essential nutrients" - in a musical way - and each one of them embodies, for me, total dedication to his/her art.
PW: What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
ST: There's a lot on the docket. The next music video, “FIRE”, deals with some difficult and mature themes, but I'm excited to release it. On top of that, I’m with my band in Germany a lot these days, recording a special-edition "live concert" Vinyl - which is a new interpretation for the album. It will also include some surprise covers. I'm also still on my summer tour, which will go till the end of September, at which point I’m supposed to bring a new soul to life! Yes, I’m a pregnant woman who goes on stage as one and a half these days…
PW: Finally then, what's your ultimate ambition as an artist? What advice would you give to anyone looking to make it in the industry?
ST: I want to get to a point where I can live my life touring around the world and meeting new hearts who my music has touched. My biggest ambition is to keep on being true to my inner self, making my music--my art-- and giving it back to the world. I think the only good advice I could give is to be true to yourself. Make your own art. Put your heart out. Be honest. Remember there's only one "you" in the world, so you must be pretty special.