Meital :: Pop Music’s Newest Star Is a Gay Boy at Heart
I guess it may be great when you are so artistically talented that you can have not one, not two, but three careers.
Well, that is the case with Meital Dohan, the multi-talented Israeli performer who has been called "a Renaissance woman of the type rarely seen these days" by Interview Magazine.
In Israel her film work as an actress garnered her two Israeli Oscar nominations for her performances in "God’s Sandbox" and "Giraffes." For her stage work she received the Israeli Tony for Most Promising New Actress for her work with the renowned Cameri Theater.
On this side of the Atlantic, she’s had a recurring role on Showtime’s "Weeds" and SonyPictures web comedy "Woke Up Dead." She also co-starred in the indie "Monogamy," co-starring Chris Messina and Rashida Jones, that won the Best Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival and received rave reviews. Off-Broadway she starred in British playwright Anthony Neilson’s controversial play "Stitching." She is also the author numerous plays and the book "Love and Other Bad Habits."
She’s also a recording artist, simply known as Meital. Her second release in the fall of 2012 "On Ya," featuring Sean Kingston, definitely proves that Meital is in the music game to stay. With both music videos being huge hits on YouTube, Dohan has put her experience in front of the camera as an acclaimed actress in film and television to good use, and really does make love to the camera.
Claiming to be just a big ’ol gay boy inside, Meital seems to know just what her gay following wants to see in their diva pop stars.
I had an opportunity to speak with Meital after completing a mini gay club circuit tour in America, and our chat revealed how she has a psychic to thank for her music career, why her music videos are so gay friendly, the plans for her upcoming album "I’m In Hate With Love," and how she plans to keep doing all that she does in the name of art.
BeBe: As I have spent some time looking into your repertoire of works, it’s been very interesting for me to find out that you are an awarded actress with an extensive and impressive body of work. Your acting, of course, is where we here in the States were introduced to you with your role on ’Weeds’ on Showtime. You are also an author and a playwright. So, what was the impetus that actually occurred to make you pursue music?
Meital: It’s kind of a silly, funny story where I was going to do ’Dancing With the Stars’ in Israel, and a spiritual guide met me as I was doing the show, and she said ’okay it’s time right now to go back to America and pursue your music career.’
BeBe: Oh, Wow!
Meital: Yeah, I thought she was crazy, but I did it anyway (laughing).
Medium told her
BeBe: So, it was a medium who told you needed to be doing music?
Meital: Yeah, a spiritual guide. She doesn’t call herself medium. She told me this what I should be doing because I had been working on it for a few years. You know, I took it kind of half seriously and half not. But I said at the very least I can make three phone calls.
One of the calls was Che Pope, who is a producer who works with Dr. Dre, Nelly Nell, and now he works with Kanye West. He was the third person we called, and we really kind of clicked, and he wanted to do an album with me. So, that’s how it all started, and it pretty much started within 3 weeks after she told me.
BeBe: Well, has she call you back since wanting a percentage of your success? (both laugh).
Meital: She hasn’t called asking for a percentage, but I call her on a regular basis.
Viral on YouTube
BeBe: Now, your debut single ’Yummy Boyz’ (produced by Rami Afuni of LMFAO) went totally viral. The video became infectious on YouTube immediately. Within a month, you were over 1 million views of the video. Was that something you were expecting to happen after making the video, or just some thing you were hoping would happen?
Meital: I was pleased and surprised. I was pleased with their (viewing audience) reaction. I didn’t know how they were going to react to my making the transition from acting to singing, especially in my home country. But, I was pleasantly surprised.
BeBe: It’s always nice to have things like that happen particularly when you put so much hard work into what you’re doing. I know how dedicated you are to your theater and acting. The body of your work and the accolades you have received definitely speak to that. So, I can only assume that you put that much work and effort into your music.
Gay guy inside
BeBe: I have interviewed many recording artists, and when I ask about the gay community following they usually respond that the gay demographic was something that was incidental. But, when I look at the stuff you’re doing in your videos with the hot men, and you being a wonderful hot sexual diva with the stuff that all gay men love to see in women, I have to ask if marketing to the gay community was "intentional" on your team’s behalf?
Meital: Yeah! You know it’s funny because I’ve been working with FlyLife in New York where their marketing in the gay community is very powerful. Now my first single was called ’Yummy Boyz,’ and I didn’t realize that yummy boys was a pretty gay name until I realized there is a gay guy inside of me. So, I think in a way I’m more gay than any other gay guy. It’s not even intentional. It’s just like I’m very gay. I have the mentality of a gay guy.
BeBe: Well it’s definitely working, and you have the attention of the gay community. That’s for sure. Now, your follow up to ’Yummy Boyz’ which is ’On Ya’ featuring the wonderful Sean Kingston had its video debut on MTV about a month ago (October 5). You have to be excited about this video particularly since it was directed by Ray Kay who we are familiar with his work with Britney, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and others. So, tell me your opinion how this video differs from ’Yummy Boyz’ in its approach?
Meital: ’On Ya’ is a bigger production. I thought I was gymnast with all the stuff I was doing in the air and all that. It’s just a bigger production, you know.
A dance artist?
BeBe: Well, I love it when you kiss Sean Kingston. I thought that was pretty hot.
Meital: Yeah, Sean is sweet.
BeBe: I read something about a comparison between your music and lyrics to Borat meets Portishead. Where does that come from? Have you heard that comparison?
Meital: I think like Borat is the funny element. People say I’m the female Borat because I do crazy shit, and we have a similar sense of humor to some extent. And, Portishead is maybe like the sexy kind of vibe. But, I’ve been compared to many different artists, which I take as compliments.
BeBe: Now, do you consider yourself strictly a dance music recording artist or are you one of those pop artists that so happens to be able to cross over to the dance charts? And, why I ask that is because I remember back in the day when I interviewed Lady Gaga, she felt that she had a hard time when her first single ’Just Dance’ was primarily played on Dance Radio. She had a hard time convincing people she was a pop artist. And, that ’Just Dance’ was really a pop song. I think since then she has paid particular attention to that to make sure that her music is very pop-oriented. So, I’m just wondering with your first two singles coming out being very dancy and bouncy for the crowd if you consider yourself a dance artist?
Meital: I just consider myself a good artist. Whether or not I’m pop or dance, I think time will tell. I think my music is going to be electronic music. Some of it is going to be pop-dancy, and some of it is going to be more loungy. Some of it’s going to be dub. Some of it is going to be trap as well. There is going to be a lot of different electro styles within the album, which I think is going to become pop music actually.
BeBe: Over the last 10 years, artists have concentrated mostly in releasing singles. It is very rare these days to find people releasing albums unless they have been in the business for awhile where they have consistently released albums. We’re in this iTunes age and singles is kind of where we are given the choices really. We can just buy singles now, and we don’t have to buy the whole album for the one song that we really like. But, your intention has always been to put out an album, ’I’m In Hate With Love,’ correct?
Meital: Yeah, the singles are a part of an album.
BeBe: We hit a little on the LGBT community for which you have done well performing at some major LGBT events and circuit parties, namely the White Party and the Dinah (both in Palm Springs) earlier in 2012. Going forward I’m sure you will continue to pay attention to this audience. And, are you ready for all this gaydom coming your way?
Meital: Oh yeah, I’m going to be pretty much everywhere. I wish more straight guys would come to the gay clubs, you know? (laughs)
BeBe: Now, you, darlin’, have been dubbed the next pop superstar. All the critics out there have nothing but great things to say about you. So, I’m wondering where is this going to leave your acting career?
Meital: Well, I’m still working on a few movies. I’m still working on a TV series right now. So, I think eventually I’m going to do both. For the past year, except for coming back on ’Weeds,’ I’ve pretty much focused on my singing. This coming year I hope to start filming my TV show and everything.
BeBe: There are a few people out there that juggle both and are successful at doing that, and I look forward to following you on both sides of your artistic talents.
For more on Meital, the upcoming release of her highly anticipated debut album "I’m In Hate With Love," and tour dates, follow her on her website at www.meitaldohan.com
As an actress, BeBe was introduced to film with a lead role in the independent film "Under One Sun" with her character dealing with religious, racial and gender issues. Additionally, she appeared in the campy musical "Devious, Inc" (Australian Film Festival, San Francisco Short Film Fest) also adding additional vocals to the musical soundtrack. Both of these performances led to her selection for a lead role in Aisha Media’s next short film series, "Con-tin.u.um" to be released in 2012.