Indie rock star Ezra Furman has revealed he considered quitting pursuing a music career in favour of studying to become a rabbi.
The American singer – who has referenced his Jewish background in hit songs such as The Refugee – spoke of his increasingly close connection to his Judaism ahead of the release of a hotly anticipated new album and forthcoming UK tour.
Speaking to the FT Weekend Magazine, Furman admitted becoming frustrated at the slow progress of his music career, saying: “I was thinking very carefully about going into education, becoming a teacher, maybe becoming a rabbi.”
The Shabbat-observing musician from Chicago also revealed that his two greatest interests were “pop music and traditional Judaism”.
Furman dismissed the suggestion that he should feel threatened as a homosexual Jew living in America at the moment. But he added: “My grandparents survived the Holocaust because they were paranoid enough to leave home, so as a kid even, I was ready to leave America whenever I needed to.”
Asked for his view of President Donald Trump’s “wooing of Israel”, Furman added: “American Jewry should realise that if they felt as threatened as Muslims or Mexicans feel right now they would be demanding much more solidarity than they (we) are showing those more vulnerable than us.”
Furman’s new album, Transangelic Exodus, is released on February 9, with sales expected to exceed those for his 2013 breakthrough LP Day of the Dog.
He will arrive in the UK later this spring for a tour that included dates at the 5,000-capacity Brixton Academy in London.