INTERVIEW: Rising Talent Kfir Talks ‘Fan a Bitch,’ Ballroom Experiences, and Eurovision Aspirations

We had a chat to rising talent Kfir about his latest single Fan a Bitch which was released on Friday. The singer captures the free-spirited energy of the ballroom scene – home to countless queer individuals and POC communities. The slick, electronic production, paired with Kfir’s inviting and energetic vocals help Fan a Bitch shine as one of the singer’s strongest tracks. The contributions from SIS also help ensure that Fan a Bitch is a lively, powerhouse party anthem. The track really taps into a dreamy sense of hedonism and the concept of losing your inhibitions and celebrating your own power in the context of the club scene.

Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind your new track, Fan a Bitch?

FAB started as a club inspiration. Last fall I went to a dance party in NYC called Battle Hymn and for some reason that night I was more interested in people watching and listening to what the DJ was playing than dancing. So in came this beautiful creature, full of confidence and not caring who is around, holding a club fan in their hand and some elaborate outfit and started dancing so hard they cleared the floor. They came in, performed and conquered everyone’s attention while dancing and flapping the fan. That night as I was leaving, I started saying FAN A BITCH and basically filed it on my phone till one day I just started singing the chorus and it all started from that point.

There’s a clear influence of ballroom and nightclub culture heard on Fan a Bitch. What is it about that world that appeals to you as an artist?

I am an artist and I connect to true and honest forms of art and expression. The art form of Ballroom is very unique, expressive and full of individuality. It comes out in the dance, attitude and style of the performers. I love it because it’s an art form which is very honest. Those who participate in it know exactly who they are and they are proud of it and flaunt it. I truly admire people who can be open and proud of who they are. It’s perfect, it’s all about individuality and something which we have been fighting for in the last few years. To me, the nightclub culture represents a freedom which humanity is missing right now due to world circumstances. FAB is almost a yearning to be able to go back to those times where you could just dance freely till the morning with other people and just let go. In the bridge section which I call “the runway” I name clubs and places who have big LGBTQI appeal. FAB is a very global party track.

Can you tell us a little more about your collaborators on Fan a Bitch and your songwriting/production process? What tends to come first: the theme of the song, lyrics or melody etc?

FAB started as a concept as my songwriting process is not defined. It can come from anywhere, like a melody in a dream or something I might have heard on the subway. Anything and everything can be an inspiration. The trick is to stay alert, to listen and to be open to everything that comes to me. The writing process for FAB happened gradually.

There was at least a seven month gap between the time I had that concept in my head after that night at the club. When I came up with the melody for the chorus that’s when I knew I had something. I contacted my co-writer Javier Cardellino and told him the story about FAB with the inspirations and the melody for the chorus, we started jamming, an hour later we had a skeleton for the track. The lyrical content didn’t come up until I had the structure first, then I started writing the lyrics. At one point I knew I wanted to feature another artist on the track and was looking for someone who would capture everything that the track stands for. Then I met Sis who is an amazing performer in her own right but she is also a big advocate for LGBTQI, trans community and Black Lives Matter. I gave her the initial idea of what I imagined for her lyrics to be and she came up with the rest. I couldn’t be more proud of this track since it gives us all an opportunity to make our voice heard and our presence known in such a fun way and especially in this world political climate.

Fan a Bitch marks seven years since your debut single Fake It Til You Make It was released in 2013, how do you think you’ve changed as an artist and performer since your debut?

OMG, I think I am too different – people. So much has happened, I met so many people, so many trials and errors (which I am still learning from). Rivers of disappointments and few successes, but overall I am so proud of what I have done till now. Even when I have those hard days of seeing myself like a total loser and unaccomplished nobody. I still find the strength
somehow to move on. I am a very stubborn person and I can’t rest till I get to where I believe I’m supposed to be. However, my stubbornness has melted a bit, I am more willing to listen and apply changes, be more flexible. Someone told me once “There’s a set time for your destiny”.
And I have to keep reminding myself just that. As a musician I feel like I’ve grown so much as a writer and creator as well, I think that if you really take the time to listen to my material in the chronological order you will notice how much work went into my efforts, trying to improve it all. The sound, the lyrics, the artistic direction, even my accent in some places. I feel like I had to reborn and recreate KFIR as a person especially since I was not born in the state. And some parts of me think that is sad and contradicting my previous mentions of how I admire people who live their individuality. But that’s another conversation.

Themes of queer nightlife scene can be heard in Fan a Bitch, whilst Gigolo and Drama Queen both feel like very LGBT friendly tracks. Do you feel a pressure as a gay artist to represent the queer community in your music?

I never feel any pressure at all. When it comes to music, these days I try to be true to what moves me. I don’t see music as gay or straight music is for everyone. It’s life, the world would be a horrible place without sounds. It’s a gift that I hope I can make available to everyone. My dream is to experience a sea of people from all walks of life in my concerts moving and enjoying
sound no matter where or what they are.

We love how you draw inspiration from your real experiences in your songwriting, for example Gigolo being inspired by an obsessive relationship being particularly powerful. On a lighter note, do you have any particularly fond, outrageous or memorable experiences of performing or the nightclub scene that perhaps inspired Fan a Bitch?

It’s actually the opposite then what it seems. As a Broadway performer and freelance dancer I work so hard to maintain my lifestyle in NYC. My art is mixed in with my passion and my real life. So I don’t normally go out at night especially after doing eight shows a week. If I do go out, most of the time it feels like work to me. I get tons of attention on stage that I don’t feel the need to go to the club and get attention there, though the night that FAB was conceived, I was in a club and I was people watching when I eyed that individual that walked onto the dance floor armed with a club fan and they cleared the floor, it was amazing the enjoyment this individual had in performing for everyone and everyone responded accordingly. That moment left such an impression on me that I knew that night that I was bound to write this song.

Have you ever considered working on an album or do you prefer the standalone feel of working on singles?

I have such a big musical catalogue that I did write with the intention of releasing albums, but I just feel that for an artist of my size, songs get lost in the sea of Spotify and the internet. People’s attention span is so short that they can focus on one song at a time. I feel that when I have a broader audience and more attention from people it will be a good time to release an album. I always wanted to do a concept album. I think those are the best – eventually for creating a stage show as well. I’m thinking in broader terms, building up to tours.

Who or what are your current musical inspirations?

There’s no end to my music inspiration. I’m into jazz now, I always love classical music and pop, R&B, soul, funk, disco, electronic. I try to find more indie artists, there are so many amazing musicians out there.

With Israeli roots, were you inspired by the country’s music scene?

Of course deep in my core you can still hear it, in my singing and my music choices. Many times I get negative feedback from bloggers and other music critics that don’t really get me. I am sure they can hear something is different. But I believe that that’s what makes an artist interesting. I don’t want to be a carbon copy of someone else just to fit a mold. It’s very difficult
to break through the barriers of the music industry since a lot of it is a very brainwashed mentality. So for new artists especially with some different sounds and interpretations of music such as myself it’s even harder.

As a website that covers Eurovision, a particular icon of ours is Israeli pop sensation Dana International. Are you a fan of the contest or Ms International herself?

I want to perform in the Eurovision Song Contest as an artist. That would be amazing. I know of Dana, we have mutual, close friends and I would like to get to know her for sure. She is such a cool person I love her spunky personality and she seems very smart too.

Musically what’s next for Kfir after the release of Fan a Bitch?

I would have loved to tour a bit and really start bringing my music to people, connecting with them directly. Other than that, I have new material I’m working on right now. So release more material for sure.

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