Date Signed: N/A
Label: Saban Music Group
Type of Music: Pop
Band Members: Static (vocals-rap), Ben El (vocals), Jordi (production)
Management: Saban Music Group
Booking: Saban Music Group
Legal: Saban Music Group
Publicity: Saban Music Group
As of this very moment, Israeli pop duo Static & Ben El, composed of rapper Liraz Russo (aka Static) and singer Ben El Tavori, are not household names in the United States, but that’s changing fast. Not only has their most recent track, this year’s “Further Up (Na, Na, Na, Na, Na)” with Pitbull (a reworking of Ini Kamoze’s “Here Comes the Hotstepper”), pulled in over 13 million views on YouTube alone, but they recently signed on with the brand new Saban Music Group, founded in 2019 by Haim Saban.
Both musicians started writing and recording seriously when they were in their mid-teens. Tavori’s father is veteran Israeli singer Shimi Tavori, so he grew up within the music industry. Meanwhile, Static was rapping in a band at school. They eventually met in a studio.
“We met through a rapper that we both wanted to collab with,” Static says. “Me and the other rapper were both looking for a singer and he brought Ben El up. When I heard him in the studio, we were like, ‘Okay this is dope.’ We started working together, we met a couple of times, and then the audience started demanding shows with both of us. That’s how we slowly became a duo.”
The rapper says that their sound is difficult to nail down, but he makes a valiant attempt.
“I would say it’s a mix,” he says. “It’s like a cocktail. There’s the ethnic Israeli music that Ben El brings to the table, rap music that I bring to the table, and then it becomes this kind of pop.”
Pop is a big word with debatable definitions nowadays, but singles such as “Further Up” definitely display a marketable pop sound that blends hip-hop and contemporary dance with reggae and traditional Israeli music with intoxicating results. Haim Saban certainly thought so when he made the duo one of his first signees.
“Haim Saban actually contacted our managers,” Static says. “He contacted them saying that he likes our music. After meeting up, he told us a story about how he and the head of Universal got together on his yacht and he let them hear the music, and they liked it. He told us he wanted to meet up, we met, and then the story began.”
“Tudo Bom,” an English re-recording of a song originally put out in Hebrew, was their first release for Saban. It’s that crossing over of cultures that makes this pair more exciting than your standard pop act. And with “Further Up” still pulling in more views online, the rise is only going to continue.
“What’s coming is us in the studio creating cool new music,” says Static.