An acclaimed contestant on BBC’s The Voice has revealed that his talent is inherited from his father — a chazan at Newbury Park United Synagogue in Ilford — and his mother, who is also “an amazing singer”.
Moni Tivony, who performed Bob Marley’s No Woman, No Cry on the talent show last Saturday night, told the JC that he was inspired by reggae, as well as Israeli and Sephardi music derived from his father Shimon’s Egyptian background.
“That’s why I’ve always been called the ‘ginger Jewish Jamaican’,” said the 32-year-old former Ilford Jewish Primary and Stamford Hill Lubavitch school student, a period he describes as “quite a frummy time in my life.”
Essex-based Moni reported that “since the show, people are now starting to recognise me and stop me on the street — it’s mad!”
The lead singer of Totem, a band that performs at barmitzvahs, weddings and corporate events, said he was “overwhelmed” after all four judges of the singing show — Sir Tom Jones, will.i.am, Jessie J and Danny O’Donoghue — tried to persuade him to join their team.
“Vocally, you’re amazing,” said Jessie J. “I would be honoured to have you with me,” chimed in Sir Tom. But Moni opted for will.i.am “because I love his quirkiness and he’s a great producer who will help me excel in my career.
“I’ve spoken to him a few times since the show and it’s all so positive.”
After talking on the show about his Israeli roots, Moni was pleased to discover that he received “a lot of support — which is refreshing. Even #Jewmaican is trending on Twitter, which is a positive thing. Music can definitely break down social and religious barriers.”
But there has been some hostility: “There was something political on a YouTube clip of me singing — it said ‘Free Palestine’.
“Why get political about singing? It’s just my background. For me, this is a talent competition and I just want to be heard.”
Moni is a former X-Factor contestant, has performed backing vocals for Boyzone, wrote “World of Her Own” for Peter Andre, and was a finalist on BBC’s The One and Only as a Lionel Richie tribute artist. As for the future, Moni Tivony said that, “this time next year, I want to be producing my own album.
“The whole experience of singing on The Voice was amazing. At first it was a blur, then watching back and seeing my friends support me was mad.”
And it was more than his friends tuning in - The Voice attracted around eight million viewers on Saturday night. It ends on June 22.