The first time I listened to Asaf Avidan I was confused.
I assumed Asaf was a man’s name, so when I clicked on the link from NPR to listen, I was surprised to hear what sounded like a woman’s voice. I honestly could not picture a face at all to match the vocals. But after following the NPR trail to Asaf Avidan’s Tiny Desk Concert, I found he was indeed a man, and his voice sounded just right when you had a live person to match it to. (Sidenote: If you don’t know what an NPR Tiny Desk Concert is, I implore you, please, go.)
Avidan’s Tiny Desk Concert is stunning. In fact, I recommend listening to that performance before hitting any other place to check him out. The emotion that comes out of this man’s voice and facial expressions is memorizing.
Though the Israeli-born singer primarily sticks to folk and acoustic tunes, he is most famous in Europe for being the vocalist behind German electronic producer Wankelmut’s remix of his “Reckoning Song.” Avidan says he was initially against the remixing of his song, and insisted on Wankelmut removing the song from YouTube. But now that the song has reached nearly 140 million hits, as well as the top spot on German, Austrian and Swiss charts, Avidan says he is sort of glad the electronic producer didn’t listen to him.
Avidan’s latest single “Over My Head” was released Tuesday, and is more soulful than his previous releases. Although Avidan’s music has a higher easy listening value over pop value, perhaps he will be able to experience the same backwards recognition as other artists who’ve been remixed before being known individually, such as Sam Smith’s “Latch,” famously remixed by Disclosure.
Tune in to the Diagnosis tonight at 10 p.m. on WUSC 90.5FM or at wusc.sc.edu to hear from Asaf Avidan and other artists to check out.