Close to Yeho - an interview with Yehonathan

We sat down for a talk with the charming Yehonathan, who just released "Close to You", a new song from his latest album "Yeho".

Yehonathan is an Israeli singer and performer, who started out as a heart-throb teenage pop idol, and once he came out of the closet found a warm embrace by the global gay community.

- How are you?

I'm great and you?


- It's a great pleasure to sit and talk to you today. I love the new song "Close to You" and the video. What is "Close to You" about?
First, I think it's the best song I ever wrote. It's a difficult thing for an artist to compare the things he created, but I feel like this song moved me the most.
I think it sums up my relationship with my mother, which wasn't simple. I don't want to dig into a long session of therapy, I think the song speaks for itself - like that line " Although you did the best you could, I just had to break your heart", which represents our relationship which was very abusive on my part.
Now that she's gone, all I can do is sing about it and try to reach her on some level, and ask for her forgiveness.


- The video is very different, why is that?

I think it's interesting to find different meanings in my own work, and present them in an entirely new light - though the themes are the same - a love that can't be consummated, and a distance between two people.


- Let's talk about the video - what are the themes you chose to highlight for this song in the video?

The funny thing is that the initial concept was based on my past experience with dating a palestinian (commentary - for those who don't know, it's a major topic for Israelis).
The idea for the video was to explore the difficulties that this entails, which are tremendous, because there's such a gap between our cultures and people.

I was born in Tel Aviv, surround by a very liberal environment and my partner at the time was dealing with a very conservative muslim family that forced him to marry - and there was no other choice for him, asides from the path his family chose for him -
in a way the relationship was doomed from the start.
I was not going to be the other woman, although in his mind that was the best solution, because in his culture that's the acceptable route to go in such a situation.


- How did people react to the video so far? Do they relate to these messages?

Well it's only been two days, and the responses have been extremely emotional.
People seem to really connect with the theme of secrecy and staying in the closet, and less to the arab-israeli thing.
I guess it's because of being a relatively local thing, and being presented in a subtle way in the video.
It wasn't the focus for me, but that's the beauty of videos - you start of with a concept, a script, and once you bring into the process more creative minds, each brings their own perspective, and the result is a quilt of ideas.


- So what's next for Yehonathan?

I'm not the planning type :-) My main focus now is the new album, I feel so strongly about the songs, and I want them to reach as many people as possible. I believe the album is uplifting, and touches on so many themes that can help brighten people's lives. For example, my first single and video from the album, "I got to", talks about starting over and giving ourselves another chance in life after serious falls and heartaches - being reborn in a way - which is something everyone, straight, gay, can relate to.
Also, after so many years that Lyrik, my music producer, has devoted his energy to my work, and was more in the backstage, I'm now in the process of helping him produce his first album as a solo artist. Also, after dreaming about my own line of parties, I decided to take the plunge and launch "Wink"; The idea was to create a friendly dance bar, a wink for your midweek drink.


- We're nearing the end of our talk, so before we wrap up: What is the one question you've always wanted to be asked, and no one ever did?

I always wanted somebody to kind of see that beneath the appearance of confidence that comes across in my videos, I have serious insecurities I never get to talk about. It's not like I'm Woody Allen, that you just know is going to turn up neurotic. I may come across as showy, pop-ish, and confident, but one of the main issues in my life, is overcoming my the shyness that has been with me since childhood - dealing with stage fright, and doing what I do, is like climbing a mountain, it doesn't come easy. We're all insecure about one thing or another in our lives - our soft spots, but once you allow yourself to break from the cycle of fear and to push yourself forward, that's where the deeper joy comes from.


Can I add "I want world peace?"

- No, that's not a question.



You can find the album on itunes via this link.

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