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.

What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you