From an unknown student in acting school to the most successful singer in Israel
The Eighties: the breakthrough
Rita started her musical career in an army singing troupe, “IDF 80” during which she preformed in a duo “Rami & Rita”, with Rami Kleinstein, a young musician. Roni Brown, then the VP of CBS records, attended one of the shows during the first Lebanon war, and was mesmerized by the 2 artists, inviting them to sing in the soundtrack of the movie “The Pnimiya”. After her discharge from the IDF at 1982, Rita started acting school at “Beit Zvi”. Rita says that “the 3 years of school were very intense but contributed a lot to shaping me as an artist.” in 1985, during Rita’s school and following Her and Rami’s impressive work, both were signed as core talents of a new label – “Helicon”. Rami, as the local wonder boy, and Rita as a rare vocalist and exceptional stage persona.
“Bgida”: A tale of a yellow jacket
At the end of 1985 Rita released her first single “Bgida”: lyrics by Yael Tevet and composed by Rami Kleinstein. With over 120 hours of studio recordings invested in the single, “Bgida” went straight to number one in the charts of all radio stations in Israel and kept its status for more than 2 months. This was an unprecedent achievement for an unknown singer who was still attending acting school. it was also the first time the Israeli public was exposed to Rita’s outstanding vocals.
In 1986, following her tremendous success of her first singles, Rita was invited to take part in the “pre Eurovision” for the chance to represent Israel in the international Eurovision song contest. Rita’s unforgettable performance of the song “Shvil Ha’Bricha”, made her overnight, the most talked about superstar, impressing the Israeli public with her unique quality and performance.
The first album – first highlight
The same year Rita debuted with an album bearing her name “Rita”, which till this day holds the incredible record of best selling debut album of all times. Produced in an unprecedented investment, the album brought a fresh and new musical arrangements that produced an international standards of sound quality. Rami Kleinstein, along with Reuven Shapira and Naor Dayan, produced and arranged most songs, while Rita herself wrote 3 texts. The album achieved triple platinum status.
No rest from project to project
Following the immense success of her debut album, Rita decided to take the lead role of Eliza Doolittle in the Israeli production of “My Fair Lady”, a role she knew well from acting school. Rita says: “the success of the album was crazy and they wanted me to perform in parks and arenas. People will come to the park to hear just 10 songs? I felt it was too early, that’s why I decided that I don’t want to have a concert before a second album and more songs in my repertoire. “My Fair Lady” came right on time – an amazing musical, a familiar place and a chance to meet the public.” The musical showed for several months in Tel Aviv with great success and the songs were recorded on an album. That year Rita first (but not last) earned the title of “best female singer” in the charts.
In 1987 Rita released her first international album “Breaking Those Walls” which included English versions of her debut album and a cover of “Roxanne” by Police.
The second album – “Yemei Ha’Tom”
In March 1988 Rita released her second album “Yemei Ha’Tom” which till this day is considered by critics to be a masterpiece. The critically acclaimed album achieved many accoladed and it was the first Israeli album to reach golden status on the day of its release. Eventually, the album reached a triple platinum status, selling a total of 120,000 copies.
Following the success of “Yemei Ha’Tom”, Rita launched her first tour which was a distinct expression of her career path. The tour made history as the most successful in Israel and ran more than 400 times throughout 3.5 years. Produced by Louie Lahav, the tour presented Rita’s extraordinary vocals and performance, making her the undisputed queen of Israeli pop.
Collaboration with esteemed artists and a big success abroad
In 1990, the second decade of Rita’s career, she stared in the Israeli production of “Taming of the shrew”. That same year she was chosen to represent Israel in the Eurovision song contest in Yugoslavia with the song “Shara Ba’Rchovot”. Rita says humorously: “although the song did not reach a high rank, to say the least, but at least I earned an amazing song, which I sing in every concert.” In 1991 Rita collaborated with Dudu Fisher and Shlomo Bar Aba in the show “tonight, Musical” alongside an ensemble of singers, actors and dancers. The show included numbers from the musical “Kol Nidrei” composed by the international pianist Lalo Schifrin and selected songs from famous musicals such as “Funny Girl”, “West Story” and more.
Hot Tin Roof, Roxanne and a mother
On February 1992 Rita had her first daughter, Meshi. That same year she played the lead in “A Cat on A Hot Tin Roof” by Tennessee Williams at the “Ha’Bima” national Theater. She also wins the title of best female singer of the year.
In 1993 Rita re-released her cover for “Roxanne” in France and Belgium, where it reached high in the charts and sold 140,000 copies.
In 1994 Rita released her third album, “Ahava Gdola”, produced by Louie Lahav and Yaakov Gilad. The album, which included many hits by Israel’s top writers, hit golden and triple platinum status. The music video for the song “Tzipor Zara”, directed by Yariv Gaver, was considered then to be the most expensive video ever produced in Israel. It also won “best foreign music video” title on MTV.
The concert titled “Ahava Gdola” ran for unprecedent 4 years and 400 shows. The concert combined breathtaking lighting, spectacular dancers, costumes and even the first use of the “Madonna” microphone. The concert was taped and released on DVD and enjoyed a great success.
In 1995 Rita gave her voice to Pocahontas in the Hebrew version to Disney’s movie, as a gesture to her daughter, Meshi.
In 1996 Rita released “Tachanot BaZman” with songs that were never included in her previous albums alongside some new songs. The album was a great hit, reaching a quadruple platinum status.
In 1998 Rita sang Israel’s national anthem in the Jubilee ceremony in Jerusalem.
In 1999 Rita released her 4th studio album – “Tiftach Chalon”, produced by Louie Lahav. The album won quintuple platinum status and the music video with the same name won the title of best music video for that year. Following the album’s release, Channel 2 aired a documentary about Rita’s life and career.
New Millennium – New Records
Live, Orchestra and a New Baby
In 2000 Rita is recording her second international album – “Time For Peace”, produced by Corrado Rustici, who worked with Whitney Houston and Elton John, among others.
In 2001, after the birth of her second daughter, Noam, Rita reunited with Rami Kleinstein on stage. They preformed together on a hit tour which was later recorded, reaching a quadruple platinum status. That same year, Rita performed in “Concerto for Rita and the Symphony” with the Israeli philharmonic, introducing her amazing vocal abilities in classical musical.
In 2002 Rita launched a series of acoustic intimate shows “Rita & the Piano”. In March 2003 she released her sixth studio album “Chamtsan”. The album that included 13 songs, sold over 30,000 copies, followed by a new concert “Rita Live”. The same year Rita recorded with Ivri Lider the international hit “Cinderella Rockefella” for the soundtrack of Eytan Fox’s film “Walk on Water”.
One – a once in a lifetime show
In 2004 Rita played the lead of Roxy Hart in the Israeli production on the hit musical “Chicago” and received many accolades for her performance.
In July 2006 she launched the show “One”, directed by Hanoch Rosen and musically produced by Rami Kleinstein. The show was a once in a life time spectacle in international standards. With an unprecedented investment of 20 Million Shekels, the show combined extraordinary visual effects, spectacular stage and an ensemble of 60 dancers and acrobats. Till this day it is considered to be the most spectacular production in Israel, drawing an audience of more than 80,000 people.
Rita’s seventh album, “Remazim” was produced by Ivri Lider who recorder the album in his private studio. The album was Rita’s most personal and intimate project to which she contributed some of its texts. Released in 2008, the album received rave reviews by critics who defined it as a milestone in Rita’s career. The album, followed by a successful tour, reached double gold status after only two months.
In 2008, Israel’s 60th independence day, Rita was named “The most loved singer of all times” by the Israeli public, reinforcing her status as Israel’s queen of pop.
The Singer of All Time Starts a New Journey Around the World
In 2009 Rita collaborated with Rock band “Knesiyat Ha’Sechel” on a unique tour which received many accolades. Following the concert they released the single “Day La’Keev” with original text to a folk Farsi tune, which became a huge hit. The surprising collaboration laid the cornerstone for one of Rita’s most significant turn of her career – the album “My Joys” that was produced by the band’s members Ami Reiss and Ran Elmaliach.
In 2010 Rita took part in Elad Zakay’s student film “Ben is Back” in which she also sang the theme song. The film was screened in several movie festivals around the world. Rita received rave reviews and won best actress in San Francisco short film festival. That same year Rita published a children’s book “The Girl with a Brave Heart: A Story from Tehran”, based on Farsi folklore. The book soon became a best seller and was published in the USA, England and Japan and was adapted to a children’s play in Israeli theater. Rita also performed that year in World Expo international show in China and in the international Jazz festival in Istanbul alongside many known world artists, produced by Latin Grammy winner, Javier Limon.
In 2010 Rita completed recording her Farsi album – “My Joys”, where she returned to her roots, signing in her mother’s tongue and including her family in the album. The album generated an international interest, especially in Rita’s native country, Iran and album soon reached gold record status.
In March 2013 Rita marked one of her most outstanding achievements when she was the first artist ever to give a full concert at the UN General Assembly Hall in New York. The concert, attended by then secretary general Ban Ki Moon and the Israeli ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, featured Rita singing in 3 languages: Hebrew, English and Farsi. That year Rita sang to President Barack Obama in his visit to Israel and was also invited to talk about women empowerment in the British house of Lords. Following these international events, Rita was named a culture ambassador of good will to Israel by the world press.
Rita Jahan Foruz
The documentary “Rita Janan Foruz” was released in 2013. The film documented the recording of “My Joys” and shared an intimate look into Rita’s family life and her extended family who yearns for their beloved homeland.
The Jewish students organization “Hillel” found that Rita is the most influential cultural figure among students, driving Rita to travel world wide campuses, giving inspiring talks about her life and people to people diplomacy. In 2017 Rita was honored to talk in the international TEXx convention in Tel Aviv, where she spoke about her life and even sang with her mother a Farsi lullaby. The talk titled “the Greatness of Weakness”, gave the audience a glimpse of Rita’s challenges and triumphs: “I used to think I was cursed by all possible ways: Jewish, Iranian, Israeli and a woman with a troubled childhood. Now I now that all differences can coexist. I have learned that our weaknesses holds the potential of great strength and our curses carry a blessing inside them.”
The long-awaited album that wowed a country
“Nisim Shkufim” proves once again that the Diva’s precise work pays off. She brought to the world precise music that feeds the ear and heart. This is a very successful song collection. Even after all these years Rita is Rita – she needs no miracles (Nisim) to remain Israel’s queen of pop.” Eran Itzkovich / nrg This is Rita’s most intimate album and the reconnection with Zruya Lahav’s texts adds some more wonderful moments to her known repertoire.” Amir Shwartz / Yediot Aharonot
“Nisim Shkufim” contains 10 songs, 4 of which were written by Rita herself. A review of her many albums shows that throughout the years the singer is signed off some of her popular and mainly most interesting songs: “Eved Shel Ha’zman”, “Ad Shetaazov”, “Chavera”, “Mayim Tslulim” and many more. Even in this album, the most beautiful songs are the ones she wrote.” Tal Levin / Achbar A’ir
In “Nisim Shkufin” Rita does reinvent herself, but she returns to the mainstream of local pop, being most honest and real, like we haven’t heard her in years.” Assaf Nevo / Israel Hayom
This is an album of emotions and excitements where Rita wrote lyrics of emotional honesty: from “Kchi Lach” that was written to her daughter Meshi through “Nisim Shkufim”, where Rita is wonderfully restrained, singing delicately and very accurate in expressing her feelings.” Yossi Charasonski / Yosmusic
In 2018, Rita filmed her first television series, the crime drama Malkot, in which she played Dori, the troubled but charmingly melodramatic widow of the head of a crime family boss. Malkot was Hot’s most watched show that year.
“One of the most enthralling shows you can currently find on local TV….The casting is nothing short of perfect…Leave your ethics at the door and surrender yourself to the fantasy of the show.” Mako
In 2019, Rita embarked on a mini-tour for the 30th anniversary of Yemey Hatom, her second album, that is considered one of Israel’s most iconic album, with unforgettable classics, such as Atuf Berachamim, Bo, Notza Baruach, Havera, Hanesicha Veharuach etc.
“Yemey Hatom is perfect. There are few albums like it on the local musical scene, with not a single wasted or mediocre moment. There is only one Rita.” Gal Uchovsky, Mako.
“Like wine, Rita improves with age. The 2019 vintage is even more delicious than the 1989.” Yuval Erel’s blog.
At Valentine’s Day 2020 Rita performed Erev Kachol Amok – with new arrangements of her greatest hits and a spectacularly designed set. Sadly, the tour was cut short because of the effects of the COVID19 virus.
In addition, she finished filming the second season of Malkot, participated inTzav Hashaa project with a new arrangement to the song Al Nevakesh and performed in a virtual concert for the 40th anniversary of the Festigal, with the artists Static & Ben El, renewing her 1990 hit song Agadat Hashemesh Ve-Hayareach, originally recorded with the band Ethnix.