INTERVIEW: Singer/Songwriter Ninet Tayeb
Israel-born singer/songwriter Ninet Tayeb is an international recording star with five albums under her belt: Barefoot (2006), Communicative (2009), Sympathetic Nervous System (2012), All the Animals Knew (2013) and now her latest LP: Paper Parachute released in 2017. Ninet is “known for an unflinching vision of her own path.” On Paper Parachute, the multi-layered artist reveals “a deep resilience, fierce determination and disarming vulnerability. Her live performances are characterized as being “visceral, dynamic and potentially messy.” Ninet will begin an acoustic trio residency at Hotel Cafe on June 14 with other dates including July 12 and August 9. Recently, Ninet spoke to SoCalMusicToday about the evolution of her sound and lyrical journey from her first album through Paper Parachute, her musical influences, working with Mike Crossey and touring and collaborating with Steven Wilson and more.
Was the inspiration lyrically and thematically different this time around with Paper Parachute versus your other albums?
Of course. The writing process and things I write about keep changing as my life keeps changing. I’m a big fan of changing your water and trying to dive into new places. To me, that’s the beauty in music, it keeps evolving all the time. Actually that’s the beauty in any form of art.
How you write songs? Do the lyrics come first or the music?
Well, it depends on the mood I’m in. There are days I’m finding myself writing lyrics and then take my guitar and just play, allowing the lyrics to take me away and there are days where I have this drum loop in my mind and that’s my scratch point, everything starts from there and it’s a whole different vibe.
Can you tell me why Jeff Buckley and PJ Harvey are major influences for you?
I find honesty and purism in their everything. Jeff touched my soul as no one ever did. He changed the way I write, he is the one who gave me the courage to take a guitar at the age of 24 and start from there. He gave me the courage to be.
PJ is a huge influence with the way she writes and delivers. Dry is one of the best albums ever made.
How did you come to work with Mike Crossey and what was that experience like?
I sent him some sketches, surprisingly he really liked them. I’ve learned so much from that spectacular man, the way he works, his big massive sound is fucking dope. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked with him.
You have also collaborated and toured with Steven Wilson. Can you share that time working with him and did it help you to expand and grow further as an artist?
Oh Steven. I shall forever be grateful for this man too:) My audience grew so much larger thanks to Steven. He’s such an amazing musician and human being. He is so straight forward and honest and a genius he has no bullshit, and I just love it. It’s really rare to find artists that are both super talented and kind, Steven is one of them.
How did you get involved with Israel Idol? Did you just go on an audition? That seems like a very defining moment in your upward trajectory of an emerging star?
Israeli Idol was the beginning of my career in Israel. I’ve gone through so much ever since. I embrace it now but it was a struggle back then. I felt that I didn’t deserve all this love from EVERYONE in my country so I decided to go search the right path for me.
What was it like having your own TV show? Was that in Israel? Did it feel ever too personal or invasive? Did just want your fans to get to know you more?
It’s just something that happened. We didn’t think too much. It was so naive and magical. It was based on my life but not really.
Tell me about your residency at Hotel Cafe. How did that come about?
Hotel Cafe, I love this place. I wanted to create a stripped down version of our electric show so I decided to go acoustic but it’s very much a rock and roll acoustic show. I wanted it to be consistent in order to find more and more people in the audience. So, are you in?