Leaving a successful career behind and moving to another country is very difficult for people in any profession. It is more difficult for performing artists, where accent, culture, and language, are just too difficult to overcome. Shirel Bitan is giving it a try at the age of 36. Can she break the cultural and language barriers and become a prominent, top Israeli performer?
Shirel Bitan became famous in Israel this year for her participation in the The Voice Israel 3. Married with two children, at the age of 36, and having a French accent, certainly did not help her in the contest, where most of the voters are in their early teen years and relate more to competitors their age. However, her friendly and positive attitude, her beautiful smile, and her talent as a singer and performer, made her popular and helped her advance all the way to the quarterfinal before exiting the competition.
For most immigrant performers this would have been the end of their Israeli career. Yet, in her case, it is probably just another obstacle, which she’ll navigate successfully, as she did in her personal life many times before.
Shirel Bitan was born to a French Jewish father and a famous Christian American singer mother. Shirel was raised on both religions. After her parents divorce, she lived in Paris with her Jewish father.
Very early in her life she decided to be a Jew. As a young adult she left Paris and moved to Israel, where she was converted to Judaism according to the orthodox tradition.
She studied music in the Israeli music School Rimon and shortly after that, her career shot up in France where she played Esmeralda in the Hunchback of Notre Dame. She recorded songs and performed in theaters in Paris. Shirel became famous in France, but remained unknown in Israel.
While performing in France, she was exposed to the growing antisemitism and was threatened several times for her vocal support of Israel. One day she packed up and moved with her family to Israel. She applied to The Voice Israel in order to jump-start her career in Israel. In the competition Shirel sang in French, English, and Hebrew. Her last performance on the show was in French. To watch it, click on the YouTube video below.
Will Shirel become a successful Israeli singer? I believe she will. She is a great performer. It won’t be long before she’ll be performing on Israel’s best stages.