Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Breakthrough Jew – Ninet Tayeb

Tayeb won the first season of Kokhav Nolad (A Star is Born), the Israeli version of American Idol

By: Sarah Bauder

Published: March 13th, 2014 in Culture » Music » News

Hot, hip, and heady, the next wave of Jewish artists and influencers has already arrived. This is Breakthrough Jew, your weekly showcase of those on the verge of discovery and ready to be a regular figure in pop culture; setting trends, redefining genres, and simply getting it done-whatever ‘it’ is. These days, it’s not enough to know what’s hot now; you need to catch someone when they’re just starting to simmer.

Featuring those in film, fashion, food, and beyond, we’ll find the story before substance is obscured by style, before hype meets backlash, and before talent and purpose gets lost in a maze of Internet chatter. See an artist in the cozy bar before they hit the amphitheater, dine at a chef’s new restaurant before the line begins, and catch a young writer’s work before the demands of ratings and longevity encroach.

Follow our lead and we’ll follow yours – send us tips or suggestions via email, comment below or tweet us @ShalomLife, as we explore the Jewish landscape for pop culture pioneers.

Name: Ninet Tayeb

Age: 30

Hometown: Kiryat Gat, Israel

Breakthrough Cred: Won the first season of Kokhav Nolad (A Star is Born), the Israeli version of American Idol.

Ninet Tayeb first began singing as a young girl at the local youth center in her native Israel. Although she’d always possessed a passion for the art form as a child, it wasn’t until 2003 when Tayeb made the decision to audition for the first season of Kokhav Nolad (A Star is Born), that everything changed. Formatted similarly to American Idol, in the finale Tayeb won in a landslide, garnering nearly half the votes cast by the public.

After being awarded first prize, Tayeb’s career and popularity skyrocketed. A year later, the same production company responsible for Kokhav Nolad produced a daily television series called Our Song, loosely based on Tayeb’s life. Despite it being her first T.V. role, she starred in the musical drama for four seasons. Said show was a hit, and garnered Tayeb the Best Actress in a Daily Drama, at the Golden Screen Awards in 2005. Also in ’05, she formed a working relationship with Disney, after appearing in the Hebrew soundtrack of Mary Poppins. Tayeb also lent her voice as the princess, for the soundtrack to the Hebrew version of The Princess and the Frog.

In 2007, Tayeb released her first album, Barefoot, produced by Israeli rock musician Aviv Geffen. Within 24 hours of its release, it was certified a gold album, selling over 24,000 copies. Due to the record’s success, Tayeb toured extensively throughout Israel. A year later, Tayeb decided to take a divergent career path, into the realm of alternative rock.


2009 provided a busy year for Tayeb, as she made her feature film debut, appearing in Danny Lerner’s The Assassin Next Door, opposite Olga Kurylenko of Quantum of Solace fame. Tayeb also was performed, wrote, and composed the film’s theme song. Amidst the busy schedule, she also released her second album, Communicative, in November of 2009. It marked a transition for Tayeb, as she moved away from the pop genre whole-heartedly into rock music. Not only did she write all the album’s lyrics, but Tayeb also produced it with members of Rockfour.

She tried her hand at musical theatre in 2010, after being cast as “Wendla Bergman”, in the Israeli verson of Spring Awakening. Tayeb was nominated for Best Female Actress for the Israeli Theatre Awards.

In 2012, Tayeb released her first English-language album, Sympathetic Nervous System. Produced in England by producer Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys and Blood Red Shoes), the album garnered many accolades. Subsequently, Tayeb toured the album extensively throughout Israel. Never one to slow down, by April of last year, Tayeb released a fourth album titled, All the Animals Knew.

Tayeb is consistently regarded as on of the most beloved people working in entertainment in Israel. What’s coming down the pike for “Israel’s Sweetheart”? True to form, a fifth album – and yes, it’s in English.

Follow Ninet Tayeb on Twitter @tayebninet


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