Before Tomer Yosef’s Holy Water came to light, the Israel-based singer experienced a surprising and surreal moment. “I was walking to the studio in the morning, thinking about what kind of song we should do that day,” he recalls. “Then I noticed this lady, sitting in her car waiting for her daughter, staring at me. The little girl looked at her mom, and her mom was like, ‘Come inside the car! He’s approaching us!”
It was clear to Yosef, who hails from Yemen, that the woman was afraid of him because of the color of his skin, explaining, “I’m an Isreali, but I guess I look Arab. My origins put me in a mess.” When Yosef arrived at producer Tamir Muskat’s studio, the two were determined to transform this ugly encounter into something beautiful. As they worked on the lyrics, this ‘profiling’ experience expanded to encompass the Israel-Palestine situation. “Most conflicts in the world are based on religious differences,” Yosef says. “As someone who grew up with both Palestinians and Israelis, and has no issues with God, I feel that we are all swimming in a sea of ‘holy water.’ We need to be careful not to drown.”
The powerful single is accompanied by an equally powerful video focused on Yosef with transposed images that command your attention. While Yosef and Muskat rarely disagree on musical efforts, the two had some serious differences of opinion for the video. “Tomer was skeptical about the video being completely centered on him, and taking place in one room,” says Muskat. “And we couldn’t convince him to do most of the shots we had planned. So we honestly had no idea what we were going to shoot until the last minute.” One of the main images in the video, the mud on Yosef’s face and body, came to the singer at the last minute. “I felt the visual meaning needed a little more edge, something that would give people a deeper connection to the text,” Yosef recalls. “So I added a few elements like the mud and the shackles.”
Get your dose of Tomer Yosef and Holy Water right here.