Asaf Avidan Asaf Avidan Israeli singer-songwriter Asaf Avidan is about to embark on a European tour. (Photo: Carsten Wilde)

Is Asaf Avidan the next Janis Joplin?

Jerusalem native tops the charts with his surprising voice and brooding brand of soul.

Upon first hearing Asaf Avidan's naturally raspy, crooning vocals, you might be tempted to compare him to the likes of Janis Joplin and Nina Simone. That's just fine with the Israeli jazz and soul musician, who doesn't mind at all if listeners think he's a woman. He achieved international acclaim in 2012 with "One Day (Reckoning Song)," which reached No. 1 in 14 countries and now has more than 130 million hits on YouTube.

The 34-year-old Avidan, whom Billboard Magazine said is “blazing international trails," sings in English, which has helped his music reach a wider audience. After successfully finishing his first U.S.-Canada tour, Avidan this month kicks off a European tour that includes 32 concerts in cities such as Paris, Berlin, Milan and London.

Born in Jerusalem in 1980, Avidan spent four years of his childhood in Jamaica. Upon returning to Israel, he was diagnosed with lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes. He fought the disease for two years before reaching a full recovery. He studied animation at the renowned Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem and then pursued a career in animation, but said his world was “torn apart” when he and his longtime girlfriend broke up. This prompted him to quit his job, move to Tel Aviv and become a full-time musician in 2006.

Avidan put together a supporting cast of musicians in 2008, which became known as Asaf Avidan & the Mojos. Together, they released three albums, including their platinum album "The Reckoning," whose 15 songs were written by Avidan and chronicle the ups and downs of romantic relationships. After releasing their third album, the Mojos decided to take a hiatus in 2011. Since then, Avidan has been pursuing a solo career.

His latest solo album "Different Pulses" was released in 2013. 

Asaf AvidanAsaf Avidan embarked on a solo career in 2011. (Photo: Dudi Hasson)

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