The album Beshaah Tova may have taken three years to come out, but OHAD’s fans are thrilled — this is one of the shorter breaks he’s taken between the seven albums he’s put out in the past 15 years.
“Usually, after I release an album, it takes me around a year before I can even listen to anything about new songs,” says singer Ohad Moskowitz (known in the music world simply as “Ohad”). “But this time, we started as soon as the last album was on the shelves. There was this feeling that we had a lot to say.”
Ohad’s voice doesn’t disappoint — it’s vibrant and rich, and he’s continued to work with Itzik Dadya, who produced the vocals for some songs on his last album (Segula) and all on this one. “Itzik’s vocal directions are always on the mark,” says Ohad, who comments that Itzik is “like a brother” and how he wished he had had such a guide when he’d first started out in the industry.
Ohad doesn’t view himself as a composer, but what’s different about Beshaah Tova is that it includes four of his own compositions — “Beshaah Tova,” “Avinu V’imeinu,” “Tzemach Tzaddik,” and “Im Eshkachech.” In each of his previous albums, he’s contributed one tune at most.
“I never sit down at an instrument to compose, but sometimes I see words and a melody comes to mind on the spot. It takes me time to decide if the tune is something I want to share,” he says. “The idea for ‘Beshaah Tovah’ came to me as I was thinking about how we use those words so often. Whether it’s a birth, a shidduch, a business deal, or anything in our lives, we want it to happen at an auspicious time.” The track is lively and the tune uncomplicated and catchy, the type that gets listeners to sing along.
As for his newest version of “Im Eshkachech,” as a wedding singer, Ohad felt it was time to change the predictable breaking-of-the-glass song for something fresh. His musical expression of the timeless words gives a new flavor to that special chuppah moment.
The order and variety of the songs on the album are particularly important to Ohad. “I view it like a story. The songs have to fit together and lead the listener somewhere.”
One familiar composer on the album is Elie Schwab. Ohad says he received Schwab’s demo of “Keshe’atem Mispallelim” — a warm and inspiring song about the significance of prayer — while he was driving in New York and bought it on the spot. Eli Klein and Yitzy Berry arranged the music (for this and most of the other songs), and it was recorded in their studio in one take.
“I sang the song, and they said, ‘Stop, that’s it. Perfect.’ They didn’t want any retakes, any editing parts of words, any added layers of vocals,” says Ohad. “It’s pretty unusual for a first take not to require any touching up.”
On the slow, reflective end of the spectrum, “Avinu V’imeinu” is a warm, thoughtful song that also came in a burst of inspiration. “We all have parents, and we all owe them the world. The song expresses a child’s love and gratitude.”
Ohad says he didn’t expect the wave of reaction from children whose parents had already passed on. “So many people contacted me to say thank you for helping them express their feelings and connection to parents who are no longer in This World. When you write a song expressing what’s in your own heart, you never know what it can do for someone else.”
During the summers, Ohad is a regular guest at Camp Simcha, where he loves singing for the children. “During the show, I like to get off the stage and walk around, connecting with the kids,” he says. “There was one child in a wheelchair who just didn’t seem to respond to the singing, but as the show was winding down, a counselor came over and said this boy wanted a chance to sing. He came up and asked to sing ‘Birkas Habonim’ (from Echad Yachid Umeyuchad). The music began and he had the voice of an angel. I was so overcome that I couldn’t sing anymore, and the crowd had to sing the finale all together. Later, I was told that this boy had lost all his friends to cancer. He used to sing, but had become quiet and withdrawn and hadn’t sung in a year. You just never know who you can reach when you release a song or an album.”