As an adopted child, I think that will be my first go-to in terms of movements. It’s really important for us to understand that adopted children are the same as any other kids and should not be bullied. I can also say that when I was at school the staff didn’t really know how to treat me with the right care and protection to help this matter. So I would definitely go down that path of helping adopted children and adopting families worldwide.
I had the pleasure to interview Leeraz Russo (Static) and Ben El Tavori (Ben El). As the New Year kicks off, the party is just getting started for talented pop duo, STATIC & BEN EL thanks to the release of their new single, ‘Further Up (Na, Na, Na, Na, Na)’. Produced by Ten Towns Duo Alvaro Rodriguez & Troy Scott along with the group’s very own Yarden Peleg (Jordi). This song is the latest addition to the artists’ repertoire and combines fast-paced rhythm, catchy lyrics and the talents of acclaimed worldwide star, Pitbull.
Popularly known as STATIC AND BEN EL, the group comprised by singers Leeraz Russo (Static) and Ben El Tavori (Ben El), along with the production guidance of Yarden Peleg (Jordi), are no strangers to the music industry. Their passion for music sparked from a young age — Static began wowing audiences in Israeli musical festivals at only 15 years of age and Ben El showcased a love for music that undoubtedly runs through his veins. Son of legendary Israeli singer, Shimshon “Shimi” Tavori and Israeli model Aviva Azulai, he began singing alongside his father at the age of 14. Their innate talent, coupled with talented musical producer, Yarden Peleg (aka Jordi), has allowed STATIC AND BEN EL to leave a deep impression on the international stage.
2017 proved to be a breakthrough year for the musicians, as they took home the ACUM Award for “Song, Band and Breakthrough Artists of the Year”. In addition, they’ve also been regular judges for the past four seasons on the popular televised Eurovision singing competition
Most notably, in July of last year, the duo reached new heights as thousands gathered in Tel Aviv for the Coca-Cola WOW Festival. On a star-studded night, the hometown artists combined on stage with reggaeton superstar J. Balvin to perform their worldwide hit, ‘Tudo Bom’. The original track has harvested over 59 million views on YouTube while their account to date has surpassed a record-whopping 433.3 million views, becoming the most watched Israeli video in history.
‘Further Up (Na, Na, Na, Na, Na)’ has become the latest addition to the group’s eclectic collection, which already boasts Jamaican and Hindu themes in ‘Namaste’, a throwback to the 1950’s in ‘Zahav’ and a Brazilian vibe in ‘Tudo Bom’. From the onset, the song captivates listeners thanks to its energy and vibrant melody. To top it off, the duo combines perfectly with gifted singer/songwriter, Pitbull, to give this single a definite seal of approval.
Now under the umbrella of Saban Music Group (SMG), STATIC and BEN EL has brought their flashy style to U.S. audiences and partnered with some of the most creative minds in the industry. The company, led by the keen eye of music pioneer Haim Saban, has fostered up and coming musical talent and STATIC and BEN EL has definitely not disappointed since their 2018 signing. After making history in becoming SMG’s first label release, the duo is again pushing the envelope with Further Up (Na, Na, Na, Na, Na) in hopes of lighting up the dance floors across the globe.
Saban Music Group (SMG), spearheaded by industry veteran Haim Saban is a global entertainment company that was founded with the ultimate goal of developing and promoting worldwide musical artists. With over 40 years of industry experience, Saban possesses an innate ability in discovering uncapped talent that can transcend onto the international stage. Under the guidance of music executive Gustavo López, the Los Angeles based record label has witnessed an impressive growth and has signed on some of the world’s biggest names in music, including Israeli duo STATIC and BEN EL. The group, comprised by Leeraz Russo and Ben El Tavori has captivated worldwide audiences thanks to its unique flair, creative style and on-stage energy. Other notable artists on the SMG roster include Colombian reggaeton superstar, Reykon, Puerto Rican breakthrough artist, Chesca and French pop sensation, Marie Monti.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have been influenced by hip hop since I was 12 in the states. When I came back home to Israel a good friend of mine started beatboxing and told me to start freestyling in “Jibberish” and that is how I started rapping myself. The nonsense was quickly replaced by words and I fell in love with rap as a form of art.
Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your music career
I think that the most Interesting story that happened to me during my music career was when me and Ben El where in Moscow ,Russia at our hotel getting ready for a show, when suddenly our managers called us down to talk at the lobby and they told us that Mr. Saban is interested in us. I think that was the first time I actually thought that we are truly doing something big. Something bigger than we ever imagined. I didn’t know he would later sign us at the time, but even his interest was enough to tell me that something on a world-wide scale is happening with us.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Well the big release of “Further Up” with Pitbull ofcourse is the biggest of them all.
Currently we are also working on a tour in the states this summer.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
We are truly privileged to say that everyone we work with is interesting. Mr.Saban is an amazing and truly inspiring individual and we really enjoy working with him. Same with the whole Saban Music Group. We also got to meet a few big names and collab with J Balvin and more recently, Pitbull. One of the coolest things that happened is when we performed with J Balvin here in Israel on his worldwide tour. It was cool sharing the stage with such a huge and talented artist.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why
I know it’s a little Cliché, but I really have to say my parents. My mom and dad really didn’t have a whole lot when growing up yet still they both had beautiful careers and managed to raise us without us having to miss a thing. That to me is truly inspiring. All my knowledge in this world was gifted to me by them.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I like to think that we definitely have. There is a saying in Hebrew that says that if you save one soul its like you saved the world itself. And I am sure that the smiles and happiness we brought to this world with our music have saved at least one soul.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
As an adopted child, I think that will be my first go-to in terms of movements. It's really important for us to understand that adopted children are the same as any other kids and should not be bullied. I can also say that when I was at school the staff didn’t really know how to treat me with the right care and protection to help this matter. So I would definitely go down that path of helping adopted children and adopting families worldwide.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I think it all has to do with state of mind. As long as you stay positive, stay ahead of your game and never ever chill, you’re good.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each
1. It’s gonna take a long time, don’t worry that’s normal: Well, it took me 11 years to make it here in Israel, and I was literally going to quit music. So it would have helped to know that giving up shouldn’t be an option.
2. Haters gonna hate: This one is a big one. People don’t always like seeing other people succeed, That’s normal. We have had a lot of negative criticism in the beginning and managed to surpass it.
3. As long as you are doing you, you are doing right: you can’t fake it. You have to keep it real. I feel like people can always feel a connection with you if you are real so you shouldn’t doubt your ideas no matter how crazy they are.
4. Choose your managers wisely: Luckily for us, we really do have the BEST managers in the world !! But from stories I heard and witnessed, good management has A LOT to do with your success. So choose wisely !
5. There are no rules: Success has no rules. You can only have good advice and bad advice but nothing is guaranteed, therefore: just keep working and grinding until everything starts falling into place.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
Yes. 50cent. I don’t really have the best reason why, I just love that guy. Got to see him twice here in Israel and he inspired me on both occasions. He is also one of my favorite rappers from the early 2000’s and up until this day.