The simchah band that makes stars


It takes an especially soulful diva to get all four X Factor judges clapping - but 49-year-old Jennifer Phillips managed it.

The part-time carer, who has made it through to the "bootcamp" stage of the ITV talent show, but she will have to juggle rehearsing songs for Simon Cowell with performing with the London-based simchah band, Neshama.

Ms Phillips, who first started singing in her church, is a regular with the band and has performed Israeli songs for guests at Jewish weddings and barmitzvahs. "I love working with Neshama," she said. "The band is great and the guests always seem to be really up for it.

Neshama founder Danny Shine, a former Hasmonean School student, was not surprised Ms Phillips had impressed the X Factors judges.

"I have worked with dozens of singers, but she has the most incredible voice," he said.

Ms Phillips, who has sung with Neshama for five years, is not the only vocalist to have found fame after a stint with the band, which was launched by Mr Shine more than 20 years ago.

Former X Factor winner Alexandra Burke joined when she was 16. Singers Moni Tivony and Alex David Charles, who both appeared on BBC's The Voice, have also performed at simchas with the band. Patrick Alan, who appeared on Britain's Got Talent this year, continues to perform occasionally with Neshama.

Mr Shine, 48, said all singers picked up Hebrew songs along the way .

The bootcamp stage of the X Factor airs this Sunday. Perhaps, viewers might be hearing Ms Phillips's sing Salaam, an Israeli song she describes as having "beautiful words and melody".

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive