Actor/author/singer Meital Dohan has been on our radar since her video for "Yummy Boyz" was released (which was so over-the-top, we had to give it the SmackTalk treatment). She was nice enough to sit down with us and talk about her upcoming album, her musical influences, trying to make it in America after being a success in Israel, Charlie the Tiger, and set us straight on her "Yummy Boyz" video.
How's it coming with your debut album?
It's a very exciting project. I'm running after my own project. I'm trying to catch up with the project.
Do you have a release date for it yet?
No. Basically, the whole singing and recording experience has happened pretty fast for me. I was doing the Dancing With The Stars series in Israel. I was meeting with my fabulous healer and she was saying, "Now you need to go back fast to America because you're going to start your music career."
I sounded like you, very skeptical. I was like, "What are you talking about? I'm an actress. Blah blah blah." Because I trust her and she's a very smart woman, I just took a shot and basically made three phone calls and the third person that my friends connected me with was Che Pope, who produced Lauryn Hill and Dr. Dre. So the next thing I know, I'm in a recording studio working on my album. Very soon after, I started working with all these top-notch companies and people around the music. Honestly, it has been an amazing, fast experience.
We shot a video. We're waiting on the next thing right now. I'm just trying to catch up. The next thing I know, I'm performing on stage, jumping around. Right now, we're focusing on two singles we're very excited about.
What made you decide to call it I'm In Hate With Love?
Basically, I think that we as humans in this day and age are pretty confused about relationships and love and our relationship to one another. Having the positive thinking, all the holistic medicine, all the Western medicine, and all that is wonderful and we all learn very well how to love ourselves. But one thing we're getting farther and farther away from is loving and respecting one another. Where you see it the most is in the very core, in the house, in the families. People just think, "Oh, I don't have time for love" or "I don't need love because I'm working on loving myself." This is a new model and I had to express it in my songs because I'm one of the people just like everyone else experiencing it and having struggles and difficulties with it. That's why I decided to call it I'm In Hate With Love. I thought it's capturing where we're at in terms of society.
You're doing a few shows in the next few months. Do you have any plans for a full-fledged tour?
I was honored to be invited to the Dinah Shore festival in Palm Springs. This is the first time I'm going to be performing four songs.
Who are your musical influences?
It's hard to say because I grew up with so many different artists and so many different music genres, from Dinah Washington and Nina Simone to Coldplay, Radiohead, Massive Attack, and more dancey music like Prodigy, Aphex Twin. So, as you can tell these are so many different directions.
Can you tell me exactly what's happening in your "Yummy Boyz" video?
The video itself?
Yes. What was your goal with that?
It's two different things. One level of it, it's kind of a little, fun, on the verge of novelty, silly song. The other layer that goes along with my point of view about where we're at and everything, is it's been awhile since Bettie Page or Madonna used art to express a form of sexuality. These days, we can go even further. Women are in a place where they actually can treat guys as sex commodities, just like men have been treating women as sex commodities throughout history. That's the deeper layer that I'm trying to show and say, "Hey, we're switching genders right now." This whole homage in the beginning with Shakespeare and Napoleon and all the historic figures or me passing by the guys, is a wink, a satire of regular music videos where you see guys passing beautiful women, touching them, or having the women dance and trying to be sexy. I did it, but I put some funny characters, historical characters, meaning everyone can be sexy.
Actually, it has a philosophy behind it, believe it or not!
Cool. You're an actor, writer, and singer.
Unfortunately. Too many things!
What's your main love?
You know, it used to be acting. I grew up acting my whole life. That's the only thing I've been doing, especially in Israel. But the singing was not even something I had considered before talking to my great healer. But I have to say, I'm in love with love with the music. I'm not in hate with love when it comes to music. I like singing now. It's all good.
But writing is just something I do just to express myself.
You've been on shows like Weeds and movies like Monogamy. Do you prefer acting in movies or television?
It doesn't matter to me. It's all about what's the content, what's the character, what's the movie about, or the people that are involved.
I thought your video with Charlie the Tiger was pretty funny.
Was he really in the same room with you, unchained?
Yeah! Can you believe it?
Weren't you scared?
You know, let's put it this way: what are the odds you're going to be eaten up by your tiger in your living room compared to being killed in a car accident? That's kind of how I live life.
You've been nominated for Israeli Oscars, won an Israeli Tony, and been on the cover of the Israeli Maxim. You were obviously a very big deal over there. What made you come to America and in a sense, have to start over?
It's a good question. It was something that just happened naturally. It was a weird story where I went to a film festival here in New York and I met the same girl who I went to study acting because of when I was thirteen. She met me on the plane and was telling me about a friend of hers in New York who graduated from Columbia University and was directing Blood Wedding by Garcia Lorca. I had zero interest to meet her because at this stage in my career, I couldn't care less about off-off-Broadway. She was very adamant about it. I had this small notebook with my notes from the trip and she wrote her information on it.
I totally forgot about it and the day before I left, I was looking at my little notebook and I found her name and I was like, "Why don't I just call her?" So twenty-four hours before my flight, I called this person and apparently she was a fan of my work and basically was like, "Can we meet? I think you might be perfect to play the bride in the production I'm doing, Blood Wedding." She was really cool over the phone and I decided to meet her and then I just fell in love with the play. It was absolutely gorgeous. Next thing, she just called me and said, "You know what, Meital? Are you willing to come by and do the production for two months?"
I graduated acting school in 1998 and since then I was on stage almost every day. Finally, I had a break in my schedule and I got this offer. Basically, I just came for two months and one thing led to another.
I've got one more question for you: what makes a boy yummy?
It can be anything. It can even be the brain.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today.
Absolutely! It's been a pleasure!
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