Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Signature Sheya

Yisroel Besser

After more than three decades on the front lines, veteran Jewish music producer Sheya Mendlowitz is still at it — sniffing out new stars, genres, and styles for a most discerning crowd, and making sure there’s enough pizza to keep everyone happy when the work seems overwhelming. From creating a young chassid named Avremel to finding a class act for HASC, he never ceased bringing freshness to an ever-changing, discriminating industry.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I keep clearing my throat but Sheya Mendlowitz doesn’t take the hint. Here and there, over the course of our interview, I hum a few notes. “You never know,” an industry veteran told me. “Everyone else hears with their ears. He hears with all five senses. He might just see something in you.” But Sheya doesn’t jump up and say, “Sign here.” I guess it’s not bashert — the magazine will just have to continue to be my stage. It’s not that I have a particularly good voice, but Sheya, I am told, is a magician: he doesn’t only discover stars — he can even invent them. Veteran Jewish music producer Sheya Mendlowitz has been doing it for years, and he’s still doing it — identifying and cultivating genius and skill like some kind of expert gardener, smelling out genres, styles, events, even people. He plucked songs off obscure tapes and replanted them, watching them develop into hits. In an industry where competitors are friends and friends are competitors, he’s the sounding board, his musical haskamah as necessary as that of a respected posek to a new sefer. It’s the singers who take center stage in this industry; the producers are somewhere off in the wings worrying about food, lighting, sound, and funding. But the recent chasunah of Sheya’s son was an impromptu celebration of his accomplishments, with friends and admirers pouring in to take part. The paparazzi might have captured the faces of attendees — Jewish music’s A-listers — but not the mood, the appreciation and acknowledgment of established stars who lined up to say mazel tov. They knew that the credit for their careers — and for the richness of today’s Jewish music scene — belongs in large part to the man whose place has always been behind the scenes.

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you