It wasn’t too long ago that I was ignorant of the existence of a gay hip-pop artist out of Tel Aviv named Shorty. Now, I want to shout my love from the rooftops because I know she’s ready to steal your heart along with your ears.
When I finally had the chance to throw some questions her way, I have to say I was taken aback by the honesty with which they were answered. I was also floored by a particular answer (let’s see if you can guess which one that was).
AfterEllen.com: What was your coming out process like? Maybe this is dumb of me, but I feel like Israel isn’t exactly the easiest place to be out and vocal about it.
Shorty: Well, some would say you can divide Israel into two parts: The state of Israel and the state of Tel Aviv, which is a very open-minded city, very similar to New York. Thank God it’s where I grew up, so I had a very easy coming out. Plus, as a person, I never cared about what other people had to say about me. I just do me. But it’s not like that all over Israel. In some parts it’s still very hard to be who you are, and not everyone is as accepting and open minded as in Tel- Aviv.
My mom is my best friend. She took it hard in the beginning. When I told her, I was 15. But she learned to accept it; since she didn’t want to lose me. Now she lives comfortably with the issue.
AE: I remember back in 2006 when the gay pride parade was canceled there. It was the only time Orthodox Jews, Muslims and Catholics got together. Are things still like that?
Shorty: I think that when it comes to the gay community, the Jews, Muslims and Catholics will always come together in order to stop the “gay evil.” But I think that as long as the world sees that we are not afraid of religious groups, then we are in a good place. I think that with every gay parade it gets a little bit better. There are even gay parades in Jerusalem now, and who ever thought that that would happen?
AE: I was in Israel once for my bat mitzvah and it was a beautiful place. I remember eating a lot of schnitzel. I was too young to really go out to any of the clubs, though. For anyone traveling to Israel looking for a fun gay-friendly place to go to, where would you suggest?
Shorty: Wow, there are tons of gay-friendly places and also, all-gay places in Israel nowadays. Tons of clubs and bars and beautiful people that live their lives freely and openly. Of course Tel Aviv is still the number one city for the gay scene, but other cities are coming along, like Jerusalem and Haifa.
AE: Let’s talk about your music. You can rap, you can sing — you’re raw but poppy. Can you tell me a bit about how your sound came together?
Shorty: Well, as a person and as a musician, I get bored easily, so I try to always be one step ahead, to always change, sound-wise. When I started doing what I do — when I was 20 — I made a pact with myself that the songs that I write will always say something, and perhaps change people’s lives, because that’s what music is all about.
I was the first artist to come out of the closet in such a blunt way, without being afraid of how the critics or the radio stations might react. All I cared about was my audience. I felt like there wasn’t a female artist that young girls could connect too that says everything on her mind on every subject. I wasn’t the typical “pop” star, I was always the industry’s bad girl and I love it. Lucky for me, I was able to earn loyal listeners and the respect of the people in the industry and I’m grateful for that.