Catch up with Tel-Aviv-based singer-songwriter, musician, and activist Sivan Talmor and watch the video for single "I'll Be" off her upcoming album, FIRE, to be released in October.
What first got you interested in music?
Music was always around because my parents loved listening to a lot of good music. But when I was 9 years old, one day I just decided I wanted to study professional singing and I somehow found a conservatory that had opera lessons. So I reached out to my mother with that request, it kind of came out of nowhere because it wasn’t really a common thing for a nine-year old child to ask for opera lessons, and especially not in my family where no one had a thing to do with music. So, we drove there, about a 45 min drive, and asked to take lessons. They said I was too young, and that I could meanwhile start with piano - but I insisted on opera, and was very assertive with what I wanted... So the manager took me to a room and auditioned me and then told my mother that while I might be young, my voice was ready. Two years later, I decided my dream was to participate in a musical and that’s what happened. I took the train to Tel Aviv (from the north of Israel, where I lived), auditioned in the national theatre, and got it. So, I guess I just had an inner feeling that that’s what I want and have to do in this life, and nothing stood in my way.
Which musicians have you been influenced by?
At the beginning it started with what I heard back home - Peter Paul and Mary, Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen, Crosby Stills and Nash. Later on, great jazz singers such as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald and, today, Emiliana Torrini, Bon Iver, M.ward, Radiohead.
How would you describe your own sound?
I guess it’s a mix of acoustic folk, with jazz and 60s singer-songwriter influences.
What were your inspirations behind your single and the video for "I'll Be"?
So the song was actually written as a forgiveness song after a fight I had with my partner. It was my way of trying to say how I'd finally understood and that I'd be willing to be anything for him, if he'd come back and forgive me. Later on, I wrote another verse, and it became a true love song, my first one I ever managed to write.
When Tal Rosenthal and Noam Sharon, the two directors of the video, heard it for the first time, they almost immediately came up with the idea of connecting the song to environmental issues, and I loved it. I felt like it’s an amazing interpretation to the lyrics and environment issues are something that I feel really attached to. It felt like a great platform to bring it out and connect this important message to my art.
Could you tell us more about your forthcoming album, FIRE?
FIRE is a short album, but one that feels like it tells a full story. The songs are a bunch of personal and intimate stories, and Ori Winokur, who produced it, managed to fill the whole surrounding with the exact musical set. He was gentle enough to keep the lyrics and the stories in the middle, very focused and, at the same time, have a greater perspective about a full album that will include many different instruments and rich arrangements. Every song has its own musical world, with different instruments and sounds (from a wind instruments quartet in one song, to a double bass, harp and a glockenspiel in another) but somehow they all connect together in a right way that leads you through one story, one deep journey.
Is there a track from this album that you're most excited to share with your fans?
I guess each one of the tracks tells of a different experience that I had, and reveals a different side of my personality, so all of them together create a very important and and honest document about myself. 7 songs of 7 different angles of my life story, and in the most exposed way I've ever written for myself.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
I hope my music will get into peoples hearts and would let them travel in their own memories. Their childhood, their beautiful moments, their sad ones - their first love, first heartbreak, first cry, first kiss. Probably the biggest thing for me is that people would feel like I wrote their thoughts, and helped them bring up memories and things that, in the day to day run, they hadn't had time to stop and think of.
Is there anything you want to add?
Soon a new music video for FIRE will be released, and I promise it’s worth waiting for! It is not going to be an easy one to digest thematically, but I promise it will leave you with a strong feeling.