This post is contributed by Benjamin Goodman, marketing director for Crush Mobile.
Arlene Gould (AG) is an Afro Pop singer and songwriter originally from Israel, but she now calls Brooklyn, NY home. She’s toured across Israel and played NYC venues such as the Blue Note and Highline Ballroom. Arlene’s sound is an eclectic mix of “Urban beats, Afro-pop grooves and anything from brass and electronics.” Gould is about to release a new EP called “Rollin’” and she recently released a music video for the eponymous single. To celebrate, Arlene and her band are playing this Sunday, March 6 at 10pm at Lucille’s Grill in NYC.
Gould is also the front woman of Milk and Honeys, an Afro Hebrew band that performs classical and contemporary music with their own spin on the songs.
Next week, Arlene Gould is partnering with JCrush, a Jewish dating app available for free on iPhone and Android, to help spread the word about each other. Users of the app will be able to share Arlene’s songs (via Spotify) with their matches (also known as Crushes).
We recently spoke with Arlene to discuss both her music projects and what she has coming up.
Where did you grow up in Israel and did your upbringing influence your decision to pursue a career in music?
I was born in Kibbutz Cabri in the North Galilee of Israel and grew up in Tel Aviv. My upbringing definitely influenced me to pursue my career in music. I went to school at the “Open Democratic School” where you could choose your classes, just like in a university. I choose to study mainly music, cinema and art. I spent most of my days and hours composing, writing, singing and just creating anything I had in mind. Thanks to my school I had many years to explore my art and form it into who I am today.
Tell me about your music career in Israel.
In 2005, I formed my first band and toured across the country. I had several projects beside my band. I collaborated with Various Hip Hop artists such as Tabu Plus, Subliminal, Chulu and was the soloist for “Guest House Project” on their second album. In 2007, I participated on the 5th season of Israeli Idol and got to the top 12. Later on I went to Rimon School of Music where I graduated in Composition and Performance at 2010. Throughout the years, I kept performing with my band and began to gain a fan base. In 2011, I moved to NYC and began writing and performing in English. Currently, I’m about to release my first official EP album “Rollin’” and touring the U.S. both as myself and with my Afro-Hebrew project “Milk and Honeys.”
What musicians most inspire your songwriting and live performance?
Jill Scott really inspires me both in terms of performance and songwriting. I love how she turns daring and sometimes over¬ the ¬top subject matter sound so sweet. I am also inspired by Fela Kuti and all kinds of African music from Mali and Ghana to Morocco to funk and Motown. Anything that has that groove will immediately bring melodies and ideas to my mind.
How do you balance your solo career and your role as the lead singer in Milk and Honeys?
I see them as two completely different projects, with a strong line that connects them ¬- African, soul and groove. Milk and Honeys is an Afro-Israeli project in Hebrew, which tends to put us in the Jewish/Israeli category. We play our own arrangements to Israeli songs. My solo project is original music that I compose and write. It’s in English, and much more daring. It’s an endless playground of my imagination versus the conservatism of Milk and Honeys’. Occasionally, I do mix some of my original songs into Milk and Honeys shows, and it works beautifully together.
How is playing a secular venue or event compared to playing a Jewish venue or event?
I consider music as a religion and each time I perform it’s a holy moment for me.
How does the music scene in the United States compare to the music scene in Israel?
The first thing that I’ve noticed is that the American pop music culture is based on happy, optimistic songs, featuring plenty of major scales ¬ the vibes in general are just bright and cheery. Israeli music is in mainly minor scales and the songs are often times about sadness. Very few have managed to bring happy songs to the Israeli mainstream. I guess it has to do with the fact that our country is always in a conflict. Since I compose happy optimistic songs, I find the United states (and the rest of the world) a good place to feature my music.
What musicians would you most like to collaborate or tour with?
I would love to either tour/collaborate with Stevie Wonder, Jamiroquai, Allen Stone, Lauryn Hill, Kendrick Lamar, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Pharrell Williams, The Marley Family and many more that I can easily put on the list.
Tell me about your show at Lucille’s Grill in NYC on Sunday, March 6.
The show at Lucille’s Bar at B.B King NYC is the official opening of my U.S. tour and I will be singing all of the upcoming EP album songs, as well as songs from the next album, and even a few covers. The show will take you through a journey of unstoppable and empowering music, blending urban beats, Afro¬ Pop grooves and anything from brass to electronics.
What are your plans for your solo career and Milk and Honeys in 2016?
For my solo career, I’ll be touring worldwide with my band and making connections with my fans, releasing my first EP and recording my second, and reach new people all over the world who would enjoy my music. I hope to keep doing what I’m doing, and to keep growing. For Milk and Honeys, I hope to get to every Jewish/Israeli community around the world and connect them to their roots though our music and just let them enjoy a magical nostalgic moment with the sounds and flavors of Israel.
Discounted tickets for her upcoming show can be purchased here: