Today we’d like to introduce you to Ethan (Itay) Jerufi.
Ethan, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born and raised in Petah-Tikva, Israel (which is anywhere between 15-90 minutes from Tel-Aviv, depending on traffic…). At the age of six I started to stutter heavily after some trauma I had on a stage. My teacher asked four kids, myself included, to recite poems on the gigantic stage at my 6th grade graduation ceremony. When I got on stage and it was my turn to speak up, I had a blackout and forgot my lines, which made me run away from the stage crying hysterically.
From then until the age of 13, I had major difficulty expressing myself, and for a 6-year-old who couldn’t express himself in words, music can be a great savior. I started to show interest in singing, songwriting and playing the keyboard. Soon after, I started to study at the Conservatory of Music in my city. During that year, gig offers started to pour in. I started to sing and do voice-acting for kids’ TV shows, commercials and DVD’s. I lent my voice in dozens of recordings and I remember that as a kid being in a recording studio had a special feeling to it; I’d even call it a sense of sanctity. The fact that I didn’t stutter while singing or voice-acting strengthened my sense of belonging and made me feel in control. I had no choice but to fall in love with it.
With the money I got after a few recording sessions I decided to buy some of my first recording gear. I remember myself sitting for days on end recording myself singing and playing the keyboard; exploring different arrangements, learning how to operate the gear and the software, and becoming excited with every discovery. At the age of 13, my friend gave me his guitar as a gift for my Bar-Mitzvah and I started to teach myself.
Since then I was privileged to perform on dozens of stages in and outside of Israel, making arrangements for top-of-the-line Israeli artists, and producing music in my home studio, which naturally got more and more well-equipped over the years. In 2016, after two years studying music production at the Rimon School of Music, I got a prestigious scholarship to the Berklee College of music, where I majored in Music Production and Audio Engineering. After graduation from Berklee, I moved to Los Angeles to work on original music. This is what I am up to these days.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I like to think that as a kid, things went pretty smooth for me. I suppose I was doing a good job because the gigs kept coming in, even though my parents were never the pushy type. Being an adult singer-songwriter and producer is a whole other story. I no longer have the freedom to wait for the next phone call. Nobody is waiting for me, and I know that if I don’t focus on my art nothing is going to happen. I had to learn that on my own the hard way. The next challenge, naturally, was moving to the states. Before I moved, I realized that I would need to kind of start my life over again, but that didn’t help prevent the surprise effect. I had to get used to living on my own and taking care of myself, in a totally new environment and in a language that is not my native tongue. With that being said, today I think that everybody should go and live in a foreign country for a few months or years. Getting out of your bubble in that way is worth more than 12 years of primary education.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
As a musician – especially as a music producer – every piece of music is supposed to tell a story. Just like in every good story, all the elements should correspond with each other impeccably. The “right” combination of lyrics, melody, harmony, sounds, arrangement and even mixing(!) is what grips and is most inspiring to me. Since I’ve been doing all these things from a very young age, I want to believe that I have a wider perspective than other musicians in my age, and that serves me well while working on new songs.
What were you like growing up?
I love performing on the stage as much as I love to work on new music in the studio, and I plan to find a way to spend my time doing both. Lately, I’ve been working on other people’s music, which I really love doing. But when the time comes I see myself focusing more on my original music in this beautiful city of angels. I still don’t know what the new materials would sound like, but I’m eager to figure that out!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @ethanjerufi
Roy Edni, Barak Broitman