Isreal’s popular music is as diverse as any other country’s would be, with a mixture of Hebrew and English, Religious and Secular, and a melding of tradition and experimentation. Out of this melting pot of artistry a gem arose and captured the hearts of Israeli audiences. Amit “Winky” Winkler has been working hard, although she would probably call it “play” instead of work. Winky got her start on the radio at the ripe age of 8…yeah, 8! After winning a television show competition at 12, she entered the Academy of Music and Dance, focusing on sound development. She released a couple of singles during her time there, getting radio play, and even earned herself the opportunity to sing the Israeli National Anthem in front of 30,000 people and a National audience for a Tel Aviv Football game!
By the time she graduated from the Academy of Music, Amit was already a radio star in Israel. Multiple singles and countless radio spins brought her international interest. Now, this young woman is 19 and more mature, adding a fresh face to her look. Still the sweetheart if Israel, Winky has added a sexier look that makes her mysterious and mature. Positive lyrics and upbeat rhythms add to the intensity of her voice. “Love Again” taps into the mainstream pop feel with a fresh sound and a slight nod to her native traditional roots with vocal descents and some instrumentation. With the aid of producer Hagay Mizrah (Gemini Musiq), Winky has stepped up her game. Looking toward the future, Amit Winkler, a.k.a. Winky, is dreaming of being an international star! Good luck Winky! Don’t forget the little guys.
I interviewed Winky via email, as the time difference didn’t quite align. Her English is better than mine, and my Hebrew required a Google Translator, so this made the interview easier on me! Read her story and learn more about this young, humble, and very mature woman:
Big Jon / BackStage360
עמית ווינקלר (Amit Winkler)
What was your inspiration to start singing and competing at 8 years old?
I remember that my mother always believed in me. When I was 8 years old I asked her as a birthday gift to go the studio and record an old Hebrew song that I used to love. So she took me to the studio, I sang this song and I just fell in love with music. I was so excited about it, so when I came back home I wanted to create something on my own so I just went to my school’s notebook and started to wrote my very first song “Wanna’ be a star”
You were so young, and it was over a decade ago, but do you remember what it felt like to win that first competition?
I know it was super exciting for me. All this time I was just a little girl with a big dream that her parents gave her the opportunity to do what she likes. But, when I won this International Singing competition, my parents and I just realized that it was a lot more than just a hobby. I loved it; I breathed it in and all the time thinking I was about to stand on big stages. So this competition was like a sign for me that I have to keep doing music and I should never give up.
How much music did you write and release while studying at the Academy of Music?
When I was 16 years old, in my tenth grade, I wrote my very mature song and composed it. After a few days I decided to go and record this song in a big studio in Jerusalem, and I remember my producer at the studio saying that if I wanted to get success I have to put this song on the radio. So, I was with no budget and no manager at all and I started to do the PR by myself. One day after school I just drove to the radio stations, knocked the door and said, “Hello, I’m Winky and this is my song. I just want you to hear it,” and left my song there. After awhile, I got my first cover on the biggest newspaper in Jerusalem city, was performing on big stages with major artists here, and this song was playing all over the Israeli radios stations.
You recorded your previous songs in two languages:
- Did you record “Love Again” in Hebrew ?
Actually, I didn’t record this song in Hebrew, but I do have another song in Hebrew that coincidentally is the same name – Love Again. I have big plans to get this song in Hebrew, Love Again, and write another song in English so I can publish it as my second song in English.
- Why do you record your music in both languages
In Israel, they liked the idea that my pop album will be published in both Languages. So I believe that it would be great to switch between the English and the Hebrew’s songs so my album could be international and [have] variety.
What is the inspiration for your more confident sound and mysterious look?
I can’t deny the fact that I did music since I was a little girl, and I can’t deny the fact I was influenced by amazing singers like Christina Aguilera, but I think that I’m just trying to be myself. All the time, I have this competition between me and myself trying to be better than yesterday, and be the best tomorrow!
What was it like working with Hagay Mizrahi?
Hagay Mizrahi is known as “Gemini” and is an Israeli talent producer that now lives in LA. In Israel, he worked with the best artists in major record labels and he is doing the same in the USA. I am really proud of him and I love to hear his amazing music and the professional work that he does. But what I like about him the most is that he didn’t give up and he fought to be where he is at now. So, I was very happy to work with him on my song “Love Again.” There is something special about knowing that we are both Jewish and came from Israel, but are doing an international song that everyone could hear.
Are you returning to Los Angeles to work with Hagay again?
Absolutely! I was in LA a few months ago, but after I finish my military service to the Israeli Army, I definitely will come again to work with Hagay Mizrahi and other producers.
Is this the first of many more singles? …Or are you compiling an album for future release?
I think I’m about to release another song really soon, so my album will be like an amazing and fascinating journey with a lot of difference producers and a variety of vocals that come from me, as a little teenager girl until today as a woman. So each time my writing will be different and it will be full of surprises.
You do your own PR: Would you explain your reason for that?
Correct. I’m doing my own PR from one reason. I believe that no one could take care their music like the one who creates the music, as it their first priority. I’m only 19 years old I don’t have a budget, so I had to take care my music. I have a lot of patience and determination so I truly believe I could promote my music in the maximum way to achieve success. I’ll do everything that I can to make my dream come true and I definitely enjoy every step, so even a failure is a part of the experience.
I think every guy reading this, after watching your music video, believes in “Love Again” and wants to know…are you single or in a relationship?
You mentioned before, in one of the questions, [something like] “how am I keeping my mysterious look?”
So, I’ll just keep it like that… (:
LISTEN TO “LOVE AGAIN”