Photo Credit: Courtesy

On a recent erev Shabbos, I had the privilege to speak with Jewish music singer Nemouel (aka. Nemouel Harroach). Nemouel just released “Alef,” an album of 15 songs, 9 of them brand new. After playing many of his songs on Florida’s Jewish radio show, Shalom South Florida, I wanted to find out more about this talented singer with the catchy songs and the powerful voice.

Nemouel was gracious with his time, his demeanor kind and relaxed throughout our conversation. Born to Chabad parents in France 36 years ago, Nemouel was connected to music – playing, singing, enjoying – 24/6. From his youth, he was “that kid who loves to sing,” he said, sharing his repertoire of Avraham Fried, Dedi and Mordechai Ben David songs.

Advertisement



Upon arriving at yeshiva in Kfar Chabad at 18 years old, he was immediately introduced to and absorbed by the Jewish music scene in Israel. Guitarist Menachem Herman and flutist Avi Piamenta allowed him to join them on gigs as a roadie, setting up the stage, running wires, adjusting microphones, and so on. Nemouel was in the right place at the right time, he said, and euphoric to learn the “how” of the music business.

After six months of grunt work, Nemouel built up the courage to ask Herman if he could join him on stage for a song or two. At first Herman was hesitant, but allowed Nemouel to sing backup on harmonies. The first song he sang was “Racheim,and when he opened his mouth, the band was in shock: they didn’t know this kid could actually sing. He ended up finishing the event as the lead singer, with Herman backing him up on harmonies.

From that point forward, Nemouel would do the stage set-up, change his clothes, and then grab the mic to help entertain the revelers at various simchas. Eventually Avi Piamenta asked him to join every event as the lead singer. People started to get to know him: Nemouel recalled meeting legendary guitarist Yossi Piamenta as “a very big honor.”

Nemouel originally thought music would simply be a hobby; as things progressed, however, he “realized Hashem was moving me in the direction of music,” he said. He started meeting other artists who wanted him to join them, and he was garnering a loyal following of fans by headlining Torah dedications, bar mitzvahs, and weddings. As his success grew, however, it didn’t make him complacent: After each appearance, for instance, he would listen to the recordings to see where he could improve.

When he was 20 years old, Nemouel married an Israeli woman; they now live in Netanya with their six children. Seven years ago, making music became his full time job. He started releasing songs as singles. His first was “Ashreinu,” a Chabad niggun. Then he embarked on a new direction by releasing a song called “Elokai.” Israeli radio stations and Shalom South Florida played it because it sounded international but Chassidic. It was a powerhouse – well-produced and catchy – and it became his signature song.

In Nemouel’s mind, however, a full-fledged album was the calling card of a bona fide singer and would give him credibility. The challenge was one of money and time – and perfectionism. “Most important,” stressed Nemouel, “is to be at 100%.” The album was seven years in the making – one song took him four full months to get it right to his satisfaction. Nemouel wanted every detail to be perfect: only if the album drew solely positive feedback would he know he added “something of good quality to the Jewish music world,” he said.

He chose to name his debut album “Alef” because he “wanted a powerful name, since this was the start of something big – a series, G-d willing.” The album features myriad styles and genres and different beats and moods, from electronic to quiet, “authentic Chassidic,” classic 70s style, and modern pop. ‘[Something] for everyone to find a song they want, to match our diverse generation,” Nemouel explained. Only recently released, the album’s songs have already amassed tens of thousands of listens on the various streaming services where his songs are found. Nemouel expressed his appreciation for his American fans, whom he finds are in first place in the world in downloads and purchases of his music and comments in social media. People send him videos of schools, and car rides, listening to his music. He is a man who clearly loves his work, and loves that his audience enjoys it, too.

You can find “Alef” and Nemouel’s numerous singles on all the major streaming services, and follow him on Instagram @nemouel.

Advertisement

SHARE
Previous articleChicago Alderperson Reports City Official Who Called Rabbi ‘[Expletive] Jew’ on Voicemail
Next articlee-Edition: May 13, 2022
Roni is the longtime host of Florida’s Sunday morning Jewish music radio show, “Shalom South Florida.” He has an M.S. in Journalism and Communication and one of the largest collections of Jewish music in North America. Follow him on Twitter at @ShalomSouthFL. For more information, visit www.ShalomSouthFlorida.com.
Loading Facebook Comments ...