Known to the world simply as Rita, Rita Jahan-Foruz emigrated from Iran to Israel In 1970, aged just eight, and fifteen years later became the best known, most successful singer in the country. In 2008, after 25 years in the business, she received the accolade of being named ‘top female singer in the past 60 years’, during a special countdown for Israel’s 60th anniversary. Today Rita continues to pack venues and stadiums to capacity, her multi- platinum albums reinforcing her position as Israel’s biggest singing sensation.
Not only is she a huge star in Israel, Rita’s unique voice has also won her international acclaim, with appearances across the globe - from the USA, France, England, and Italy to Uruguay and more. Alongside her burgeoning career in Israel during the 1980s, she performed to European crowds. Her debut album was released in 1987 and went triple platinum, after which she went on to launch her first international release, “Breaking Those Walls”, which sold over 50,000 copies. In 1990 Rita represented Israel in the Eurovision competition and, although she didn’t win, her song was a massive hit in Israel, and is still routinely played till this day.
Rita’s career went into overdrive in the early 1990s after she released her version of The Police song “Roxanne”, a single which went down particularly well in France and Belgium, selling over 140,000 copies. In 1994 her music video for “Strange Bird” gained the “Best Foreign Music Video” on MTV Europe.
Throughout the 1990‘s Rita took to the stage thousands of times at festivals and for Jewish communities worldwide, and released multi platinum albums. However it wasn’t until the year 2000 that she was to release another international album “Time for Peace”. The album was produced by Corrado Rustici, the celebrated Italian musical producer who has worked with artists such as Andrea Bocelli, Eric Clapton, Paul Young, Beck and Sinead O’Connor, amongst others. The album was well received internationally, the music used to great effect by the Russian ice skating team at the 2002 winter Olympics. As well as enjoying her newly found international recognition at this time, Rita’s attention was also firmly focused on her family and new-born daughter. During the rest of the 2000s Rita toured Israel extensively and, with Rami Kleinstein (her husband at that time), released a new ‘live’ album which went triple platinum.
Rita has always been passionate about music and performance, and keen to try out different styles and directions. In collaboration with often classically trained musicians she put together new acoustic versions of her songs – showing the world a new and different side of her. An excellent example of a new direction in style is clearly evident in her latest album titled “My Joys”, which she is currently on tour with.
Rita also made the decision bring a totally different kind of entertainment experience to Israel. Her show - “One” was a musical cabaret featuring dozens of dancers and acrobats, and attracted audiences of over 90,000, even though it only played for a month. This international musical extravaganza turned out to be the perfect platform for Rita’s unique talent, and proved to be a runaway success. The combination of experimental visuals and music cost $5 million to produce and featured internationally designed stage sets, along with a team of world-class performers.
Over the years, Rita has performed with many orchestras including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Zubin Meta, and the Ra’anana Symphonette, as well as with orchestras from all over the world such as the Belgrade Philharmonic.
During 2009 Rita’s song “Love Has Begun” topped the adult contemporary and indie charts in the US and she was selected ‘most promising artist 2009’. In 2010 Rita was the closing act for the Israeli stand at the Shanghai world EXPO, where she performed to the delight of her many enthusiastic Chinese fans. In 2011 she represented Israel at the Istanbul Jazz festival alongside acts from Glikeriya (Greece), Aynur (Turkey) and Buyaka (Spain).
In recent years Rita felt the need to reconnect with the Persian/Iranian music of her childhood. To this end she performed with the Israeli band “The Mind Church”, and worked together with them to produce a number based on a traditional Iranian song. The song entitled “Stop the Pain” was released to rapturous radio reception. Rita also recently completed a world music oriented album, dedicated to her musical roots, working with some of Israel’s best known music producers. The album “My Joys” was released in December 2011, and was debuted at Tel Aviv’s Hangar 11 to an ecstatic audience including many from the Persian community. All the songs on the album hold a special significance for Rita – and fans have been quick to embrace its intimacy and authenticity.
The first number to be released from the album “My Joys” was “Shane (Comb)” - to great acclaim on Israeli radio. Building on the success of the first single, further songs from the album were to follow including “Shah Dumad”, “Gole Sangam” and “Your Shoulders” - all remixed by a number of top producers including the celebrated Ofer Nissim. The album achieved gold status in less than a month of its release.
Rita’s career has never been restricted to the musical sphere. As a graduate of one of the most respected acting schools in Israel, she became a popular theater actress, performing in dozens of plays to audiences of adults, teenagers and children alike. In 1989 Rita was crowned “Actress of The Year” at the Israeli cinema awards and recently she won the San Francisco Short Film festival award for best actress, for her role in the film “Ben Returns Home”.
Throughout her career Rita has sold over a million copies of her albums, won dozen of prizes and has been celebrated as the top performer and singer in Israel. A true performer, she continues to explore new and exciting musical territories, trying out new sounds and testing her vocals to the limit. Even after so many years in the business, she still manages to captivate audiences with her sensational performances.