Efrat is the professional name of critically-acclaimed songwriter, violinist and vocalist Efrat Shapira. Raised with one foot in Tennessee and the other in Israel, from a young age she was exposed to a broad spectrum of musical genres. Formally trained as a violinist and singer, she became proficient in Classical, Jazz, Pop, Folk, Country and Klezmer music.
At just 11 years-old the prodigious artist was the youngest ever admitted into the Knoxville Youth Orchestra. After studying and performing everywhere from Indiana to Israel, Efrat earned her Masters degree in Music Performance and relocated to New York City. There she dove deeply into the Jazz world with the Jade Quartet, working with dozens of giants in the genre. She even worked for a time as concertmaster for Olivia Newton John Orchestras. Eventually, the multi-talented artist launched her solo recording career.
“We Just Need Love” is the brand new album from Efrat, released worldwide to all major streaming services on September 1, 2021. The record is her third, following 2015’s “The Silver Lining” and her 2009 debut “No Strings Attached.” The seven song collection was inspired by the trials she has faced both as an artist and a mother with a child with a rare heart disorder. The record is a testament to the power of love in the face of life’s challenges.
The album’s title track is also its first single. The song “We Just Need Love” is a soulful Country waltz featuring an acoustic arrangement of piano, bass, drums and a rich tapestry of harmonized violins. Efrat sings a melancholy yet hopeful ballad, prescribing the simple elixir needed to heal our broken world. The performances are excellent throughout with a particularly beautiful violin solo in the bridge from the lady at center stage.
We had the chance to chat with Efrat about the new album. Read her answers to our 8 questions below. Check out the “We Just Need Love” album in its entirety here, or listen on your favorite streaming service. You can also hear the single on the Deep Indie Songwriters playlist. Follow the links at the end of this article to connect with Efrat. Get on here socials and get in the loop on all of the current and future projects from this vastly talented artist.
8 Questions with Efrat
Where are you from?
I grew up in Oak Ridge, TN, but summered in Israel until my early teens (parents are from there) and never really fully felt at home until I moved to the NorthEast, NYC, and was one of a million mutts instead of the only girl with a weird name. 🙂
How long have you been making music?
Practically all my life… I started taking lessons on the violin when I was 7 but I always loved music and would sit in on my Dads band rehearsals (he was a serious hobbyist who was a scientist daytime) and I remember the singer teaching me to play Castanetas when I was 5 or 6
Who are the musicians involved in your project?
I was so lucky to have an array of amazing musicians on this project! On the title track I have Michael O’Brien on Bass who has traveled the world with Lady Rizzo and more. I have Larry Eagle on Drums. He has been performing for Andy Statman for years and also was the drummer in the Grammy winning Seeger Sessions by Bruce Springsteen. On Which Side Are You On and Let Go we have Gal Gershovsky on Drums. He has made a name for himself in Jewish Music working for Neshama Carlebach and more and is one of the most sought after drummers in the Jewish Music World.
Also on Let Go is Brian Glassman on Bass. Brian has toured six times for the U.S. State Dept as an honored Musical Ambassador as well as working with top Jewish/Jazz groups such as the Klezmatics, Liza Minelli, and many more. Also on Let Go is Chris Hardin on Piano. Chris has made a name as a big band and choir arranger and as a pianist has backed up Susan Sarandon and Mel Brooks. I have met these amazing musicians through the worlds of Jazz and Jewish Music around the Northeast.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
This is REALLY tough because there are so many! My first influences were what I heard at home, which was plentiful! My parents had a great collection and records of note were Mozart Requiem, Bach Partitas and Sonatas, then the Beatles, the Doors, as well as Israeli Artists Arik Einstein and HaGevatron (Israeli Folk Music).
I totally loved pop as a ten year old, especially Madonna and Whitney Houston. Later on I started listening to Jazz starting with Astrud Gilberto and Miles Davis. I also loved 60s &70s rock and used to sing along to anything with Stevie Nicks or Janis Joplin or Jim Morrison. I got into Depeche Mode and NIN and The Smiths later on and Turtle Island String Quartet. I love all music, as long as its good. This list doesn’t even come CLOSE
What is your greatest non-musical influence?
This is such a hard question to answer. The political climate? Climate Change? Honestly, I have to say its my kid… he makes me care about the two before and many others even more than I did before. I guess I hope when I go he is left in a better world than the one I came into and fear this will not be the case.
What inspired you to create this project?
Ultimately, once again, I must say my kid is a huge inspiration. I always have the desire to create and share music but as of late its been especially hard. First, I was dealing with my childs new diagnoses, and then COVID. My friends and parents who encouraged me to do what I can while in isolation EVEN IF… and that even if stands for every reason NOT to do it when I can’t tour, can’t plan concerts, etc… because of an ever changing climate of Covid were a HUGE impetus as well.
What are your plans for the future (musically)?
I will always create and continue to play no matter what happens in this world. I actually have songs ready for the next EP! This one will be about relationships…. then again.. my last album was not planned to be what it is but was reshaped by experiences, and the political and health climate surrounding us right now… so we shall see what it ends up as.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
I found out recently that in the 70s over 30% of the US population could read music notation… Now, it’s down to 10%. I want to encourage people to take music lessons… even if only to garner an understanding and appreciation. In turn, they get the healthiest activity EVER for the brain, according to science. It’s been shown that those who study music, even intermittently, have greater acquisition skills in so many areas AND are able to see outside of the box.
Most importantly, it feeds and soothes the soul. I want to encourage teachers out there to teach whatever it takes to keep a student going.. not just what they feel someone should learn. At this point, with so few sticking with it we really need to go on inspiration and feed whatever inspiration we can find and create in a student. Lastly, music brings happiness… to those who play it and those who hear it. It can help healing from wounds both physically and mentally.
JUST DO IT shouldn’t merely be a Nike Sports saying.. it should apply to music. Make yourself happier, if you can’t afford a teacher, Youtube can help… and I and many others offer scholarships to those who put in the work/ are in need because in the end we just want to share this bounty we have received! – Efrat