IMRI, 25, born and raised near Tel Aviv, won this year's Rising Star singing competition TV show, and the ticket to represent Israel in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. The young singer is already a veteran of the Eurovision stage, as a two-time backing vocalist, for both the "golden boy", Nadav Guedj, in 2015 in Vienna, and the man "made of stars", Hovi Star, in Stockholm in 2016.
Since a young age, IMRI has been singing professionally in many languages, including Spanish, English and Hebrew, and performed in dozens of concerts all around the world. In addition to singing, he also enjoys playing guitar and the piano, has studied acting and played in various Hebrew voice over roles in animated series. IMRI is currently a second-year Visual Communications bachelor's degree student.
Things you should know about IMRI
What are the three most interesting aspects about your entry?
The number is a pop-dance song, to which I will bring an ethnic groove, representing my country, with an additional touch of emotion;
The song is about my journey to success, trying to find my way and not giving up at any point;
When comparing it to other songs from this year, it is different and going to set the stage on fire!
What are the three most impressive facts about you?
I think it's quite impressive that before turning 26, I managed to take part in two Eurovision Song Contests as a backing vocalist, and this third time as the lead singer;
Apart from singing, I also studied acting and have played in various Hebrew voice over roles in animated series;
At the age of two I already knew the lyrics to Queen's We Are the Champions and I apparently sang it in front of my family and friends on every possible occasion.
Do you have a (lucky) routine before you go on stage?
I always take time to do some breathing exercises before I walk onto the stage. However, I think I will adopt the routine which was used in the last two Eurovision Song Contests: we basically all stood in a circle, holding hands and singing a former Israeli Eurovision song, before going crazy and dancing to it.
Why is the Eurovision Song Contest important for you?
Ever since I was a little boy, I dreamed of singing on a big stage in front of millions of people. You can only imagine how much of an honour it is for me to be given the chance to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest, not to mention representing my country. As an artist, I think Eurovision is a big stepping stone in my career and I hope it will allow me to grow professionally and release my own songs soon.
About the song writers & composers
Building on from the success of the mega-hit Malkat Ha'Shoshanim (Queen of the Roses), the official song of Israel's 2015 Gay Pride Parade that brought them to public attention, Penn Hazut and Dolev Ram have now established themselves at the forefront of the Israeli music scene.
Working from their Tel Aviv studio, where they compose, write and produce, Penn and Dolev have created major hits which were performed by some of Israel's top artists that became part of the soundtrack of life in Israel today. They also produce commercials and music for the children's channel.
The playlist of the songs they have created together, over the last few years, has accumulated more than 130 million hits on YouTube. Other popular singers with whom they have worked include Eyal Golan (Bati Elaich), Eden Ben Zaken (Queen of Roses), Sarit Hadad (Lama Li), Moshe Peretz, Dudu Aharon (Mazal Moznaim), Noa Kirel (Yesh Bi Ahava) and Lior Narkis.