by Melanie Weiss

You Couldn’t Mac This Up

It’s a big step from the Israeli Defense Force’s Air Force band to a Mac computer commercial to Billboard’s Top Ten, but Yael Naim has done it all. A French-Israeli singer of Tunisian heritage, musically influenced by everyone from Mozart to Aretha Franklin to the Beatles, Naim has described her ascent into the spotlight as an “old dream” that is now finally real. Singing in French-inflected English and Hebrew, Naim often draws inspiration from her own life, especially on her more autobiographical and self-titled second album, where melancholic songs like “Paris” channel darker times, including disappointing record sales and a failed relationship, while happier songs reflect her love of music. She also boldly reinterprets more commercial music, as in her radically soulful version of Britney Spears’s “Toxic.”

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