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Return of the Diva for Israel

22 April 2011 at 02:05 CEST

Sinead O'Connor said about her "She inspires me and gives me courage". Jean Paul Gaultier called her "My Muse" and then in 1998, Time magazine chose her as one of the important people in the world. Dana International's story is not only the story of a successful singer, it is a rare and inspiring story about courage and the victory of the human spirit.

The early days

Dana was born in Israel and grew up in Tel Aviv as a boy named Yaron Cohen. He was a gifted child and an excellent student who sang in the school choirs. In adolescence, he started to feel that something was different about him. That he was not like everyone else. He started to discover the Tel Aviv nightlife, and there, in the dark nightclubs that allow everyone to be who they really are, the transformation started, a transformation that began with a recognition, an understanding, and ended three years later when the shy teenage boy became a beautiful girl, Dana.

At the age of 20, Dana started to perform in Tel Aviv nightclubs and was very popular amongst the crowd. A year later, she released a song from her club performances, Saida Sultana to the radio stations, and the song immediately became a big hit. This success led to the recording of a full dance album, and the second hit released from it was Dana International. Ever since, this name stuck with her, and a couple years later it became reality.

Eurovision disappointment in 1995

In 1994, Dana released her second album, Yeshnan Banot. The album became a big success, sold platinum records and Dana was chosen as Israel's singer of the year. In 1995, she participated in the Israeli national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest with Laila Tov Europa and achieved second place. She remembers that night when she didn't win as being one of the saddest in her life."I cried all night and I felt terrible. If only an angel would have visited me and whispered in my ear that two years from now I'm going to win the real thing, it could have spared me so many tears". Two years later, her third album, Maganuna came out, and Dana set her status as one of the successful singers in Israel.

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Eurovision glory in 1998

In 1998, she was chosen to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Diva, written by Yoav Ginai and Tzvika Pick. She took the first place and turned overnight into an international star. Dana's victory had a strong impression on the world, and she became a cultural icon. In Israel, on the night of the victory, thousands of people celebrated on the streets, and Dana completed the cultural revolution she started with her first album; a symbol of liberalism and human rights.

Dana in the 21st century

In the following years, Dana released two international albums, and went on a tour around the globe; from Japan to the United States, from Australia to England. She especially succeeded in Eastern Europe, left Israel and lived on the road, singing and performing all around the world. In 2003 she returned to Israel and released a new album in Hebrew. In 2005, she released the album HaHalom HaEfshari and in 2008, the album HaKol LeTova with the hits Love Boy and Seret Hodi became the greatest hits of that year in Israel.

Dana also returned in 2008 to the Eurovision Song Contest as the writer of the Israeli entry Keilu Kan, performed by Boaz Mauda. In recent years she has also been a judge on the Israeli Idol show Kokhav Nolad.

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This year, Dana represents Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest once again with the song Ding Dong written by her. She writes, "if you have a dream of your own, don't be afraid go on with your heart, close your eyes and hear the bells of your soul", something that probably describes her life story; a Cinderella story of success that proves to everyone that our lives are not a predetermined fate. Our lives are in our hands and if we stick with our truth, without being afraid and with inner faith, any dream can come true.