Two years ago, Israeli singer-songwriter Hadar Sopher was in a long-distance relationship that went suddenly awry.
“My girlfriend was supposed to catch a train to come for the weekend, and she called me and said, ‘Yo, I’m sorry, I’m not gonna go on the train,’” recalls Sopher of that fateful phone call. “She said, ‘We need to break up. I’m really sorry.’ It was, like, 10 minutes before the train was supposed to leave. I hung up the phone and I was very confused. I felt horrible. I was a mess. And I just didn’t find my closure. I tried to move on, but I was haunted by questions. I just felt like I was constantly thinking about the situation and stuck in some kind of a loop. And then I just woke up in the middle of the night and started to write this song.”
Sopher may have lost the girl, but he’s gained a career.
That song, “Fcked Up,” an anthemic pop-rock ode to romantic heartbreak, is now his debut single, out today (March 31) and paired with a cheeky video (watch below).
Sopher, who grew up in the humdrum Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva is the first artist signed to the newly launched OneWay Records, a joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment Germany.
“I couldn’t be more grateful,” says the 26-year-old musician. “It didn’t happen by accident, because I’ve been working my whole life to get in this position. It only took, like, 26 years of me just practicing in my own room making as much music as possible — just expressing myself. And I was lucky enough to find the right team.”
As a teen, Sopher felt like an “outsider,” whiling away countless hours listening in secret to Coldplay in his bedroom.
“Petah Tikva is more old school, traditional, and most of the people listen to Oriental or Hebrew music,” he says. “It wasn’t just Coldplay. It was the combination of looking different, talking different, and listening to other music like Justin Bieber and more Western stuff — it wasn’t accepted at school.”
Sopher left home at 18 to fulfill his mandated service in the Israeli army, but a broken finger sidelined him for a month. He used that time to focus on his music, play his guitar and develop his “own sound.”
“I feel like you need to work 10,000 hours in order to find your true self,” he says. “And I feel like ‘Fcked Up’ is the first job where I can genuinely say, this is me, this is what I want to represent.”
As protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political coalition rage across Israel, Sopher is remaining “as focused as possible” on his music.
“Every single nation has this in common — there are always sides,” he says. “People need to get outside of their perspective and learn how to accept the other and connect to each other. It’s not like hard left and hard right. We’re all living together. And the more tolerant we are to others’ opinions, the happier we will be.”
One of the reasons Sopher decided to make music in English rather than his native Hebrew is that English is a language spoken by people globalwide. It’s a unifying force. “Fcked Up” is a track about Sopher’s personal heartache, but at its core is a message to which “everyone can relate.”
“I’m trying to be as vulnerable and as honest as I can in my music,” says Sopher. “English is a language that everyone is speaking, no matter who you are. Whether it’s Israel or the United States or Sweden—we are all connected by music. And that’s another language that we all have in common. It speaks right to your heart. And that’s the best way to connect with people.”
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