Every now and then I get to do an interview that is so fist-gnawingly exciting, it’s surprising I still have any hands left. The prospect of interviewing Dana International was one such interview, and the fact that I happened to be going to Tel Aviv for a holiday made the prospect of meeting her even more tangible (should my hands remain). Sadly, it turns out that she was in Sweden when I was in town. The phone interview we arrange is put back, then she’s in the studio, then her assistant answers and tells me to call her manager. When I finally get through to her, she’s lovely and gets very excited when I mention that I have an Israeli boyfriend. I ask her if she’s in Sweden and she says “a little bit” before suggesting we meet the following day instead for coffee, as I’m staying literally five minutes from her house. Next day, as instructed I call 15 minutes before to be directed to the exact cafe for our interview. Nothing. A call to her manager and it turns out her phone “isn’t working”. Riiiiight. Everything up to this point has told me she is, by song, by nature, a bit of a diva. And so it continues. My hands remain very much intact, and in the end I just throw down an ultimatum for a phoner or nothing. It does, eventually, happen. Though I would’ve loved to hang out with her and her dogs.
It’s a funny phone interview, because everything comes across as very literal. I love the way she speaks in broken English, but half the time she didn’t hear my question and just plowed on with what she wanted to say. As one of the twelve people in the UK who went out and bought her last 2007 Hebrew-language album HaKol Ze LeTova, I’m pretty excited about the prospect of a new album, which we obviously talk about.
Dana: I’m doing things my way. Have you seen Loca?
I’m going to do things more of a this atmosphere and less you know average Israeli song for the radio to like me, and just to express myself in a very intimate way.
Is that a good sample of what’s on the new album?
I think it’s very exciting and I think it’s going to come out around May, June.
It’s a shame it won’t really get heard in the UK, we don’t really play anything that isn’t sung in English.
The British market is very unique, you have your own sound as far as dance music is concerned. The Israeli crowd is more about US kinds of music, New York house, electro and less modern music. Less Tinie Tempah you know?
TINIE TEMPAH. Less things like that, less breakbeats, more house music, it’s very hard to come into the UK music because you have so many of your own talents trying to get some of the light. Foreigners are last in the line, I think - unless you have a lot of money and connections.
Anyway, my whole interview was about Dana’s status as a Gay/Eurovision Icon rather than her musical career, which you can read about in GT432.