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Israeli Reality Star Asaf Goren on Performing New Song with Boy George

On December 19th Boy George, the lead singer of Culture club and Israeli artist Asaf Goren, 29, will go on stage and perform their song “Rainbow in the Dark” at London Wembley Stadium.
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December 17, 2020
Asaf Goren (Photo by Erez Shani)

On December 19th Boy George, the lead singer of Culture club and Israeli artist Asaf Goren, 29, will go on stage and perform their song “Rainbow in the Dark” at London Wembley Stadium. The performance will be streamed live and in front of a live audience of 1,000 people, to comply with Covid-19 restrictions.

The collaboration between Culture Club lead singer and Goren began a few months ago when a mutual friend introduced the British singer to Goren’s music.

“One morning, I woke up and saw that Boy George tagged me on Instagram with my picture and a song from my new album,” said Goren in a phone interview from Tel Aviv, “I was shocked. In Israel some artists like to say that I’m a reality TV star, but here is Boy George posting my music and wanting to collaborate with me, now, that says something.”

To say that it was a dream come true for Goren is an understatement. The young artist moved to Los Angeles in his early twenties in the hopes of making it big as a dancer and musician. “I was trying to make it in Israel; I went on auditions, tried to get casted, but didn’t get any work. I wanted to make music and be on TV, but it didn’t happen. That’s when I decided to move to L.A.”

To say that it was a dream come true for Goren is an understatement.

His first big break came when he was cast as a contestant in the TV show “So, You Think You Can Dance?” where he performed his breakdance moves, wearing a Tallit, a Chai necklace, and holding a shofar. He wowed both the audience and judge Paula Abdul, but didn’t win. However, it opened doors for other reality shows such as the dating show “Are you the One?” and “America’s Worst Cooks”. Further, he was cast as a dancer in Britney Spears’ music video “Make Me”, where he is seen dancing shirtless showing off his six pack.

With the recognition he received in Hollywood, albeit in reality shows, Goren was then cast in “Big Brother” Israel in 2019 and won first place, as well as being cast in “Israel Ninja”, which landed him in first place earlier this year.

After that, it was impossible for Goren to go out in the streets without being asked for a selfie. However, Goren doesn’t want to be known as a “Reality Show Star” only. A very talented dancer and singer, Goren released his first solo album in English “For The Kidz” a few months ago.

“Tal Drori, a talent agent and a mutual friend of George and mine, played George my album and he really liked what he heard. So, he decided to collaborate with me. We started sending recorded pieces back and forth” said Goren who stayed in Israel during the pandemic. “George wanted to include some verses in Hebrew in the song, so I wrote that part. He told me ‘Just bring yourself into the song, bring your Jewishness.”

Goren didn’t only bring Jewish motives into the song. The young singer is seen in the song video clip wearing long side curls (“Pei-ot” in Hebrew), and Magen David and Menorah necklaces, like many religious Jews.

Photo by Maayan Rudich

“While other (Israeli) artists are trying to hide their Jewishness while making their way in the world of international hip-hop, I’m emphasizing it. I’m very proud of being Jewish; it’s engraved in my heart and soul. The “Pei-ot” are my symbol. I’ll never take them off. One of the reasons that Boy George said he got so connected to my music was the combination of Hip-hop and Piyyutim, Jewish music and prayers. It is something he never heard before.”

The decision to record a song with an Israeli artist wasn’t accidental. George gave a concert in Israel in November 2017 and received ricochets and criticism from Israel boycott activists before and after his performance. “Rainbow in the Dark” is his answer to those who wanted to prevent him from singing in the Holy land.

Goren admitted that he encountered some anti-Semitism because of the way he appears, especially in Europe, but it doesn’t deter him from continuing wearing his Chai necklace and growing his side curls.

“My Judaism is a part of me, nothing and no one will ever stop me from demonstrating it in the way I dress or look. For me, to stand on the stage in Wembley, with Pei-ot, and Tzitzit (Jewish Tassels) and sing in Hebrew, is a dream come true. I feel like God has blessed me.”

Boy George will perform “Rainbow in the Dark” with Culture Club at London’s Wembley Stadium on Dec. 19. The performance will be streamed live.

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