Meet Ninet: The Israeli Star Makes her US Debut

Beloved Israeli musician Ninet has remained firmly in the Israeli spotlight for over a decade. Crowned the largest entertainment star in Israel, Ninet has released four top charting albums since 2006. Now the singer makes her debut in the U.S. with her fifth release, Paper Parachute.

The record features intoxicating, gritty rock anthems like the wailing title-track, intermixed with hauntingly achy ballads like “Ocean.” Her band rounds out the majesty of the record with symphonic and Middle Eastern influences. NPR’s Bob Boilen describes it as, “a winning sound, performed by an unrestrained talent.”

Similar to Lady Gaga, Ninet rebelliously marches to the beat of her own drum, equipped with the singing and songwriting chops to pull off her singular vision. Fans have responded in tandem, as Ninet’s twice won “Israel’s favorite act” at the European Music Awards. With a move to Los Angeles and the release of Paper Parachute, Ninet now has her sights on winning over hearts stateside. Culture Collide spoke to her about the transition from Israel to California.

CC: What makes Israel’s music scene unique?
Ninet: The fact that you can find any style of music here, and yet, you will hear Israel in every one of them. To me the most special thing is that every musician I know from Israel is so fucking talented.

CC: You recently moved to Los Angeles. What’s the biggest difference you’ve found between the music community in Israel versus Los Angeles?
NinetFirst of all, the size of this place. LA is so big and weird. It’s like you have many small towns in one big city. I actually didn’t find (yet) big differences between Israel and LA. They all have something in common: passion and hunger. My favorite combination.

CC: Is there any eatery in Los Angeles that reminds you of back home?
NinetThat is a problem because the food in Israel is the best food in the world. But if I need to choose one place it will be SQIRL in Silver Lake.

CC: What’s the experience of recording and releasing your US debut, Paper Parachute, been like so far?
NinetThe experience has been very inspiring. I’ve learned (and am still learning) the art of patience, belief and working hard, in order to get the best out of yourself.

CC: You’ve twice been voted Israel’s “Favorite Music Act” at the MTV Europe Music Awards. What do you feel it is about your music and message that resonates so strongly with listeners?
NinetI want to believe my songs touch in the soul of those listeners. When I listen to music I love, I’m lured by the honesty and the unique point-of-view of the artist. I really want to believe that’s what my listeners get from my music.

CC: Which song off Paper Parachute are you most proud of?
NinetWe’ve been working on this album for two and half years. The producer of the album, the incredibly talented Joseph E Shine and myself, worked so hard for this to sound and feel exactly the way we wanted, so I must say I’m proud of this whole piece.

CC: Where do you envision yourself a year from now?
NinetOn a massive tour around the world while working on the next album. 

Listen to Ninet’s live performance of “Ocean” recorded at the Paper Factory Hotel in New York, and check out Paper Parachute available now. Plus don’t miss out on the rest of her Hotel Cafe residency, July 26 and August 23. 

photo by: Ido Iszak