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Actress-singer Dohan takes neither fame nor criticism to heart

| Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, 9:05 p.m.
Meital Dohan
Courtesy Meital Dohan
Meital Dohan Courtesy Meital Dohan

Consider this your warning: Artist Meital Dohan is not for the faint of heart. Far from being the stereotypical pop-tart princess, she, instead, embraces a persona of being boldly sexual — almost to the point of borderline ridiculousness. But don't make the mistake of writing her off. Her message has less to do with what you're seeing and more with what you aren't seeing.

In other words, Dohan is all about using her art to deal with the bigger picture. And for her, a huge part of that picture has to do with the roles of men and women in society and how those roles are undergoing radical changes. She's not looking for everyone to love her or to “get” what she's doing. if only a few do, well, then so be it.

And while there's no way of knowing whether the nearly 2 million viewers understand the message of the YouTube video for her debut single, “Yummy,” it goes to show that she's at least grabbing their attention. As an artist, she means business, but she's also able to inject a serious dose of humor into her craft that begs for people to lighten up.

Her debut album, “I'm in Hate With Love,” has been received with open arms from critics and fans, although she's as pragmatic about praise as she is about criticism. Taking it all with a grain of salt, Dohan is at the very least, much more than meets the eye.

Question: You enjoyed an extremely successful acting career in your native Israel and here in the States. Why bother with music?

Answer: I didn't bother the music, it bothered me. It still does … on a daily basis. It's kind of like an addictive lover that cannot get off of me and is knocking on my door harassing me. It really just happened.

Q: Critics can be harsh. Are you able to take criticism about your music with a grain of salt or does it really strike a chord?

A: Criticism is just the same all around, and, at the end of the day, it's just something people say. So, if you listen, you obviously care too much. I just don't have the time to deal with them. I'm too busy! So, I think, for artists, you want to do your art for the masses, for the people. You don't want to do the art for this critic or that critic. You want to do your art for what you believe in and everything else should serve that purpose. If people hate you, that's great! I can't say I've had anything but the privilege of being loved for what I do. But there are times I've gotten criticism in the past. … I've been there. It's just whatever. When people tell you “you're the goddess,” “you're the next best thing,” you don't go to bed with the article and kiss it. You always have to take it in the right context.

Q: You've said that your native Israel embraced you as an actress. What's been the reaction to your music?

A: So far, I've had great criticism. I'm very happy and thankful. I was thinking it would be a little (harder) of a transition. I was getting ready for them to be sarcastic about it because when an actor tries to become a singer, they react with sarcasm. But this has been really positive and smooth. And I was pleasantly surprised at Israelis' support.

Q: You're not the average pop princess. Are you going strictly for shock value or is it something more?

A: I think it's really impossible to shock people anymore these days. I think there's a lack of humanity in general because everyone is so busy and life became so hectic. You don't even need to meet with people — you can just talk on emails and Skype. And everything is getting misunderstood and people are running around like (mice) without heads. ... I feel like it's hard to live life ­— it's easier to live the future. And people are just running to the future.

Q: Sexuality and the current state of gender are two items that you've said your music frequently references. What message are you hoping to convey?

A: (Male) and female roles (are) changing and, you know, what's the new role and what's our new attitude towards love and life? We are in an era that monogamy barely (exists). The percentages of divorce are growing. It's certainly means something about the status of love and women, after the waves of feminism, are definitely in a different place. ... I'm trying to deal with that aspect of changing between the roles — like, what's been expected of men and what's been expected of females and how they're supposed to relate to each other.

Q: Humor seems to play as much a part in your music as the sexuality does. Why?

A: Well, even when I'm very depressed, I usually laugh and have some dark humor jokes. I guess I'm that type of person. Life is so surreal. I mean, we tend to be so smart and understand so much, but we still don't understand the keys to the universe. So, we better laugh (rather) than take it too seriously.

Q: True, but you're good at shocking people. What shocks you?

A: I think the most shocking thing is just the universe and the way it was created. That's like the hardest to digest and understand.

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