The 1998 Eurovision Song Contest winner, Dana International of Israel, has a new album which will be released in a few weeks. The entertainment magazine 'Pnay Plus' had a long and revealing interview with the 30 year old singer. Here are parts of it:
-How would you explain the commercial failure of your recent album, 'Yoter ve'Yoter' (More and more) ? “Outside of Israel, when you make an underground album in a state of 80 million people, you have your share of 2-3 million of fans. Here you have to deal with the huge mediterranean market, with leading artists like Shlomo Artzi (ISR'75) and Rita (ISR'90).You have very little left”.
-Would you like to be a national singer, for all the Israeli public? “I can not be a national singer because of who I am. Even before I open my mouth to sing, I stumble on barriers and obstacles which other artists don't have to deal with. The bottom line is that I am still considered as a transvestite and only then as a singer. I still confront the religious sector, I get spittings in my face, although people allways tell me they love me and accept me”.
-At least you made the gay community in Israel enjoy total freedom and almost full equality of rights. “I can pat myself on the shoulder and be proud of some achievements I made, but to say it's all because of me would be exaggerated”.
Dana speaks about the period after winning the contest in 1998: “It was a crisis for me. Suddenly I was in the spotlights, receiving numerous proposals for interviewes. But I was still the same person who needs her hot chocolate in the mornings and Jahnun (yemenite food) on Saturdays.”
Shay Kerem, Dana's manager, also tells about those days: “After Eurovision, we were swept away by new opportunities that we didn't spend much time in Israel. Dana then collapsed under the hard work and we had to return so that she could rest”.
In the recent months Dana performed in Austria, Germany, on British TV, San Francisco but in rather small events. She was asked by the Yugoslav artist, Goran Bergovic, to accompany him on his tour. Dana also played the role of herself in an american thriller.
Do you still have aspirations for an international career? “I am more modest these days than a few years ago. I wish to keep on doing the things I like. I learnt to cope with success and failure. I thank god for bringing me to the place I've been to- respectable events, receptions at embassies, mayor of Birmingham is making a speech in my honor or dinners in Canada and Ukraine”.
Important writers have collborated with Dana in the new album. Among them are Ehud Manor (lyricist of 'Abanibi' winner of ESC'78) and Arkadi Duchin, who was her runner-up in the '98 pre-selection.
At the end of the interview Dana admits she is not the maternal type and that she does'nt see herself having a long term relationship with a man :“I settle for short romances and friendships. I am not searching for love, but if I'll come across it I will do my best to nurture it”.