|Occupation:||World Music Singer|
|Birth Day:||August 8, 1981|
|Birth Place:||Kfar Saba, Israel|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
He won his first children's festival singing competition at age six.
Harel Skaat was born on 8 August 1981, in Kfar Saba, Israel, to a family of Yemenite-Jewish and Iraqi-Jewish descent. When he was six years old, he won a national children's festival competition entitled "A Star for the Evening – Singing Big" in his hometown and while still a child he appeared in an episode of a popular Israeli television show called Parpar Nehmad (פרפר נחמד, Nice Butterfly). Throughout his youth, he continued to appear at festivals and television shows, and at the age of 15 he was the lead singer of both the Kfar Saba city band and his high school band. At 18, he sang with the Israel Defense Forces' Communications Corps. Band, where he met and became friends with singer-songwriter, Dor Daniel. He attended Beit Zvi, a college specializing in the performing arts, where he was awarded two of the university's most prestigious scholarships for his performances in school-produced musicals, including the outstanding achievement scholarship and the Sano Scholarship. While still in college, Skaat recorded and released a single, "Ein od Si'kui" ("אין עוד סיכוי", "No More Chance"); around the same time, he competed in a televised talent show called Ha'melech Ha'ba (המלך הבא, The Next King) along with Ninet Tayeb, (who later gained fame by winning the first season of Kokhav Nolad). Rafael Mirila won the competition, while Tayeb finished third and Skaat finished in sixth place.
In 2004, during his second year of studies at Beit Zvi, Skaat became a contestant on Kokhav Nolad after a friend signed him up without his knowledge. He emerged as the favorite, consistently receiving praise from the show's judges for his performances, which included his rendition of "Betoch" ("בתוך", "Inside") and the Hebrew version of the French song "Je suis malade" known as "Bdidut", ("בדידות", "Loneliness"), which he sang in the semi-finals (Ricky Gal, one of the judges on the show, said of the latter performance that it left her "almost speechless"). On his way to the finals, Skaat received the highest votes of each stage he competed, including the semi-final round where he defeated his competitors, including eventual winner, Harel Moyal by a wide margin. The final show generated huge viewer interest in Israel. At the finals, Skaat sang the song "Hinenny Can" (Hebrew: הנני כאן, "Jerusalem, Here I Am") which was originally performed by Yehoram Gaon in the 1971 movie "Any Yerushalmy" (Hebrew: אני ירושלמי, "I Am a Jerusalemite"). This version of the song went on to top the Israeli Music Channel's chart for a record-setting 80 days. Moyal's surprise win "sparked heated debate in the general public in Israel" and spurred accusations of voter manipulation by some of Skaat's fans. The allegations, which were denied by the producers of the television program, arose in part from perceived problems inherent in the voting system, which allowed for block voting and from online betting taking place before the finals.
In 2005, Skaat performed in a musical play, He Who Dreamed (English translation), based on the last 10 years of the life of Yitzhak Rabin. The cast also included Gila Almagor and Oded Teomi in the title role. In early 2006, Skaat was featured in a unique series of three-minute reality-based segments produced by Cellcom, which was made available for download to its customers, among the first content of this kind in Israel's history.
Skaat released his debut album, Harel Skaat (הראל סקעת), in July 2006. Reviews of the album were mixed. A review in The Jerusalem Post criticized the lack of spontaneity of the album, and the inclusion of dance-tracks which the critic claimed undercut the singer's talents, but praised Skaat's soothing vocals and his ability to move listeners. In a review of the album for Ynet, Roman Singer compared Skaat to a cultured rose without the thorns. Another review claimed that Skaat was "trapped" singing "romantic stories", but praised his warm singing of "Ve'at", and his singing talents which the writer claimed allows him to "express at higher levels".
In 2006, Skaat began a concert tour to promote his debut album, performing throughout Israel, including a concert at the Frederic R. Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv (home to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra). The tour eventually passed the 200 concert mark, an achievement which has been widely noted in the Israeli media. In 2009 Skaat began a second concert tour to promote the Dmuyot album. Reuters' music writer and critic, Assaf Nevo began his review of the launch of that tour by noting that if a computer were to create the ultimate Israeli pop singer it would resemble Skaat, who he wrote combined the charisma of Shlomo Artzi, the star quality of Ivri Lider, the vocal clarity of Izhar Cohen, the cuteness of Evitar Banai, and the sensitivity of Rami Kleinstein. While Nevo viewed Skaat as a good pop singer, he believed that Skaat's music did not extend beyond this genre.
Both Skaat and Moyal emerged from Kokhav Nolad with large fan bases and in the months after their appearances on Kokhav Nolad they were frequently characterized in the media as rivals in the manner of "Ofra Haza – Yardena Arazi of the eighties" A large part of Skaat's fan base has consisted of Israel's youth. He won the "Singer of the Year" from the Children's Channel three times from 2005–2007 and in 2007, 2008, and 2010 he was ranked number one out of Israel's Top 100 Stars by the youth magazine, Maariv Lanoar. In the period between his appearance on Kokhav Nolad and the release of his first album in 2006, Skaat appeared dozens of times on Israeli television talk shows, and at televised special ceremonies and holiday events. In 2005, Skaat sang in front of an estimated 80,000 people at Rabin Square, Tel Aviv at the memorial rally for former prime-minister, Yitzhak Rabin on the ten-year anniversary of his death. He continues to be a popular singer at holiday events, performing for example, in five different cities on Israel's Yom Ha'atzmaut (יום העצמאות, Independence Day) 2010. He has also taken part in three Festigal children song festivals, which occur annually during the Hanukkah season. At the 2004 Festigal, Skaat competed in a song contest, playing the part of Peter Pan (a character which he told an interviewer that he identified with) and sang the song "Lauf" ("לעוף", "To Fly"). He again finished second to Moyal, who won the contest with the song "I Am Zorro" ("אני הוא זורו"); Ran Danker finished third.
In early 2008, Hed Artzi sued Skaat for breach of contract, claiming that he had secretly recorded new material for a new CD for a rival company before their contract had expired, and demanding all the recordings Skaat might have made in secret. In court, Skaat denied that he had broken their contract, but Hed Artzi won a temporary injunction against Skaat, which kept the singer from recording any new material. A resolution seemed possible in December 2008 when the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) selected Skaat to be the country's representative in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009. Skaat and Hed Artzi renewed their negotiations to resolve the conflict but when these broke down, the record company contested the IBA's selection, which forced Skaat to drop out. In February 2009, the Tel Aviv District Court granted Skaat permission to return to the studio. (The IBA eventually selected Achinoam Nini and Mira Awad to represent Israel with the song "There Must be Another Way", and they finished 16th in the contest.) The two parties subsequently reached a compromise and Skaat soon entered into a new agreement with Aroma Music and Partner Communications. Skaat's second album, Dmuyot (דמויות, Figures [alternative translations of the title include "Images" and "Characters"]) was released on 1 September 2009. The album contained the hit song "Muvan Li Achshav" ("מובן לי עכשיו", "Now I Understand"), which was released as a single and sold exclusively in Israel at Aroma Espresso Bar's chain of coffee shops. Other singles from the album include "Boi Ha Yom" ("בואי היום", "Come Today"), "Sof", ("סוף", "End") and "Od Ya'ir Alay" ("עוד יאיר עלי", "Shine on Me"). The majority of the album was produced by either Peter Roth or Izhar Ashdot, with a number of young Israeli songwriters contributing songs to it, including Ofer Bashan, Yali Sobol, Ben-Artzi, Sheila Ferber, Kfir Epstein, Didi Shachar, Ilai Botner, and Yoav Degani. Skaat co-wrote four of the songs on the album ("Sof", "Od Ya'ir Alay", "Dmuyot", and "Zippor" ("ציפור", "Bird")), including two which were released as singles.
In December 2009, the Israel Broadcasting Authority selected Skaat to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010. The announcement was made at the Knesset, Israel's legislative body. The selection was preceded by several days of speculation and confusion, and followed by criticism of the Israel Broadcasting Authority and calls for an investigation of the selection process. On 15 March 2010, "Milim" ("מילים", "Words") written by Noam Horev and composed by Tomer Hadadi, was selected uninaminously as the Israeli song entry for the Eurovision contest when it won the Kdam Eurovision, the country's pre-Eurovision selection competition. The four songs chosen as finalists for the Kdam Eurovision, including "Milim", were recorded in a studio by Skaat and released on a special EP entitled Eurovision 2010 At the Kdam Eurovision, Skaat sang "Milim" in Hebrew with the backing of string instruments, but before the Eurovision contest Skaat re-recorded it again entirely in Hebrew but with an altered vocal arrangement and with a full orchestra accompaniment. Because it was known by early March 2010 that the majority of Eurovision entries for that year would probably be sung in English (24 of the 39 entries at the Eurovision contest sang in English), there was some coverage in the Israeli media prior to Eurovision as to which language "Milim" should be sung—Hebrew, English, French, or in some combination of the languages.
In late 2009, to celebrate the end of the decade on the Jewish calendar, Israeli radio station Galgalatz and television station Channel 24 conducted a number of special polls in which the public selected their favorite songs, singers, bands, and music videos of the past decade. Skaat placed second on the poll for male singer of the decade (after Eyal Golan), while two of his songs, "Ve'at" and "Hineni Kan", placed fourth and 21st respectively on the poll for song of the decade ("Mima'amakim" by the Idan Raichel Project placed first on the poll). The winners and a countdown of the top 20 songs were revealed live on Israeli television at an all-star show on 15 October 2009 at Jerusalem's Sultan's Pool in front of an estimated 8,000 spectators. The concert featured many of the musicians (including Skaat) performing songs that made it on the poll.
One of Skaat's first major appearances after Eurovision was on 28 July 2010 in Tel Aviv at a tribute to the French singer, Serge Gainsbourg. Skaat had been scheduled to perform at the opening ceremony of the XIX International Festival of Arts, "Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk" in Belarus on 9 July 2010, but his appearance was canceled by the organizers two days before the event. The organizers cited a need to downsize the number of concerts as a reason for the cancellation, but Israeli diplomatic sources alleged that the cancellation was due to political reasons and the Israeli ambassador to Belarus refused to attend the opening ceremony in protest. In March 2011, Skaat took part in a unique collaboration: singing three of his songs live in the Sharon Levi's Barcelona Dance Company's tap dance show, "Fragments", which debuted in Paris.
In a documentary first broadcast on Israeli television in October 2010, Skaat stated that he is gay. The statement came after years of public speculation about Skaat's sexual orientation and after a controversial public outing by Israeli film producer and gay activist, Gal Uchovsky, after Skaat performed at a July 2010 memorial to mark the one-year anniversary of an attack on a Tel Aviv gay youth center. His partner is Idan Roll, a model, a lawyer and MK representing Yesh Atid.
In June 2010, Skaat purchased an apartment at one of the Arlosoroff Towers, a pair of planned commercial and residential high rise buildings in Tel Aviv's Ayalon Triangle. Skaat has been actively involved with charities aimed at children with disabilities. For recreation, he sometimes likes to engage in high thrill activities, such as skydiving, bungee jumping, and rafting.
Skaat's third album, Shuv Me'ushar (שוב מאושר, "Happy Again"), produced by Ran Shem Tov, was released on 29 January 2012. Two singles from the album, Tihye Li Ahava (תהיה לי אהבה, "I Will Have Love") and HaMea Ha-21 ("21st Century"), reached number one on the radio charts in Israel. Among the other songs on the album are the single, Kama Od Drachim (כמה עוד דרכים, "How Many More Ways"), "Mashehu Tov" (משהו טוב, "Something Good") and Gibor (גיבור, "Hero"), a duet with Yehuda Poliker. The album was Skaat's first since he came out as gay a few months earlier and started dating a male fashion model. A review of the album published in NRG Ma'ariv found that despite the big changes in Skaat's life, he still sounded restrained. Three of the songs from the album finished in the Reshet Gimmel's year-end poll of top songs from the previous year (announced on 15 September 2012). The songs are "Kama Od Drachim" (#7), "HaMea Ha-21" (#9), and "Mashehu Tov" (#11). Skaat also was named male singer of the year.
In 2016 and 2017 he starred as 'Marius' in Habima Theatre's Hebrew-language version of Les Miserables, Aluvei Hahayim. During the run, the role was rotated between Skaat, Elder Brentman and fellow Israeli Eurovision entrant Imri Ziv.
Currently, Harel Skaat is 39 years, 11 months and 20 days old. Harel Skaat will celebrate 40th birthday on a Sunday 8th of August 2021.
Find out about Harel Skaat birthday activities in timeline view here.