Shlomo Artzi is an Israeli folk-rock singer-songwriter. Since the late ’80s, Shlomo Artzi has maintained his status as Israel’s biggest rock star. Artzi, whose high-energy tours garner a large and loyal following, releases studio albums every five or six years, each reaching platinum within weeks. Artzi’s summer live tours are synonymous with the historical Caesarea Amphitheater, an open-air Roman-era arena. In the course of his career, he has sold over 1.5 million albums, making him one of Israel’s most successful male singers.
Artzi was born on November 26, 1949, in a kibbutz, and grew up in Tel Aviv. His father, Yitzhak, a future parliament member, survived the holocaust in the Zionist underground in Romania. Artzi has been known to address “second generation” issues in his later songs, especially “In Germany Before the War” and “Like a Large Yard.”
Artzi’s parents were Holocaust survivors and their memories deeply influenced him and his sister Nava Semel, a playwright. His father, Yitzhak Artzi, a Zionist activist in Bukovina, Romania in his youth, was later a member of the Knesset, his maternal grandmother, was the sister of Rabbi Meir Shapiro.
When Artzi was eight years old, his family moved to northern Tel Aviv. Artzi’s schoolmates thought he would become an actor, not a musician, as he was known for his acting skills at elementary school. However, at the age of twelve, he started playing the guitar and singing in a boy scouts group and at friends’ parties. At age 16, he began writing and composing songs.
During his military service, he was recruited to the Artillery Corps, and after serving for a year and a half, he joined Lehakat Kheil Hayam (Naval Corps Entertainment Group). During his service in the group, he took part in the programs “And on the Third Day” and “Rhapsody in Blue”, alongside other soon-to-be Israeli celebrities, such as Rivka Zohar, Dov Glickman, Avi Uriah, Riki Gal, and more. He was yet to stand out during the first program, but by the second program, he became the lead singer and one of the main stars. He sang lead vocals on several songs on the Group’s LPs.
In 1975 he was selected to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest. The selected song was At Ve’Ani (You and Me), written by the legendary Israeli songwriter Ehud Manor, and composed by Artzi himself. To seize the moment, Artzi’s record label pressured him to record a completely new record in less than 2 weeks. However, At Va’Ani didn’t win the contest, and the album was a big disappointment.
Artzi is married for the second time, having three children from his first marriage: Ben Artzi (singer), Shiri Artzi (book-critic and book-writer) and Jonathan Artzi.
Today, Artzi resides in Tel Aviv. He is known as a fan of the soccer team Maccabi Netanya. In 1971, Artzi composed Maccabi Netanya’s championship song.
Profile of Shlomo Artzi
- Full Name: Shlomo Artzi
- Born: November 26, 1949
- Birth Place: Alonei Abba, Israel
- Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
- Movies: Hasamba, Leather Jackets
- Children: Ben Artzi, Shira Artzi, Jonathan Artzi