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Fill The World With Light An Exclusive Interview with: Benny Friedman

Benny Friedman continues to be one of the hottest singers in the Jewish music industry.  It’s been two years since Benny released Kol Haneshama Sheli. In the almost ten years since Benny rocketed onto the scene releasing hit after hit, from “Yesh Tikvah” to “Kad Yasvun”, from “Bum Bum” to “Toda”, Benny’s songs of hope and thanks have energized people throughout the world.  Benny Friedman recently sat down with Ari Hirsch of the Vues for an exclusive interview to discuss different topics including his new album
“Fill The World With Light.”

The Vues: How many years ago did you come out with your hit song Yesh Tikvah?

Benny Friedman: It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been almost 4.5 years.

VUES: Besides Yesh Tikvah what are your most popular songs?

BF: Todah & Bum Bum are probably numbers two and three. Shalom Aleichem & Bshem Hashem are also very popular.

VUES: Do you enjoy performing more at concerts or simchas?

BF: They are two very different things. At concerts there’s more of a connection between you and the crowd. At a wedding, you are more in the background, providing the music as a support for the real show that’s going on.  There’s more emotional satisfaction at a concert because there’s more of a connection. At a wedding, if I’m connecting with someone, then it’s almost as if I’m steering them away from the wedding. A wedding is more fun, a lot less pressure.  We’re just a few musicians having a good time. It’s a whole different rhythm. I definitely feel a connection with the audience a lot more at a concert where I am performing for an hour or more.
VUES: Who do you look up to in music?

BF:  My guy was always Uncle Avraham Fried. I only started appreciating Mordechai Ben David after my wedding. My idol was always my uncle, Avraham Fried. Absolutely.  Hands down. I haven’t done something with him lately, in terms of concerts, because he’s very busy in Eretz Yisrael. But I always look forward to working with him and performing with him, as well.
VUES: Please tell everyone about your newest hit CD called “Fill The World With Light.”

BF: I believe it’s a CD for everyone! There are many different styles. It’s been two years since I released Kol Haneshama Sheli, and the time has come for something brand new! This is my 4th studio album over the course of about ten years. This new album aims to keep that same winning formula with songs that feature original lyrics, strong topics and great rhythms that will leave you inspired and moved; songs of Jewish pride and Jewish prayer, great levels of joy as well as words that
issue forth from a broken heart. “Fill The World With Light” features songs composed by Yitzy Waldner, Yitzy Berry & Eli Klein, R’ Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz, Ari Goldwag, Elimelech Blumstein, and for the first time, songs composed by Boruch Sholom Blesofsky, Elie Schwab and newcomer Moshe Shmeel Deutsch. And finally (drumroll please…) two songs by the great Yossi Green!

VUES: What’s your favorite song on the CD?

BF: It’s very hard for me to answer that question.  There’s one song called “Rabbi Yehoshua” which is a tribute to the great Shliach and my uncle, Rabbi Yehoshua Binyomin (Josh) Gordon, OB”M. It’s very personal to me and my family and therefore means a lot to me.
VUES: Who made the cool cover for your CD?

BM: The beautiful album cover features original artwork by world renowned artist from L.A. Marc Lumer, and the jacket includes art by Yitzchok Moully, Yiddy Lebovitz and Sruly Meyer.

VUES: In a year from now, what song do you think will be the biggest hit of your new CD?

BF: If I were to guess, I think it’ll be Ivrei Anochi written by Ari Goldwag. I’m actually working on a YouTube video for that song right now. Hopefully it’ll be out in a few weeks.

VUES: How many songs has Ari Goldwag written for you?

BF: There are five songs: Yesh Tikva, Shalom Alecheim, Shma Koleinu, Mah Yedidus, and on the new CD Ivri Anochi (Baruch Hashem for Ari Goldwag!).
VUES: Any plans for Chanukah?

BF: I plan on performing in Florida over Chanukah.

VUES: Anything else that you would like to share with readers of The Vues?

BF: I hope you enjoy the new CD & have a frelichen Chanukah!

Favorite Uncle Avraham Fried Song:
BF: That’s a tough one. There are too many. The obvious ones include Tanya and Adaraba. Everyone loves those. The not obvious ones are Zechor, a slow song and a fast song Hashata on the album Chazak. There are so many that I love! 

Favorite 8th Day song (your cousins): Soldiers of Light

Favorite Ari Goldwag song: Yesh Tikva
Favorite Ben Tzion Shenker song: Aishes Chayil
Favorite Gemara: Bava Metzia
3 Dinner Guests-Anyone from the history of the World-Who would you invite? It could be from Tanach, the music world, sports etc.
BF: Avraham Avinu, Eliyahu HaNavi, and Sandy Koufax. In 1965 the Dodgers played against the Minnesota Twins, my hometown, during the famous World Series on Yom Kippur which Sandy
Koufax refused to play, and was a tremendous Kiddush Hashem. The Chabad Shaliach, Rabbi Moshe Feller, in Minnesota, met Sandy the day after Yom Kippur at the Saint Paul hotel he was staying in and gave Sandy a pair of tefflin in appreciation of his
respectful stand. Great story!

VUES: How often do you go to the OHEL of the Lubavitcher Rebbie? 

BF: At least once a month, I try to go more often.