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    Avraham Fried Returns With An All New Chasidic Album “Bring The House Down”

    Avraham Fried, the world renowned Jewish  singer, is beloved to his fans and best known  for his beautiful songs and lyrics. Ari Hirsch of  The Country Vues magazine sat down with Avraham for a few minutes to learn more about him, his new album and his musical career before the Summer of 2016.

    VUES: How many years have you been involved in the Jewish music industry?

    AVRAHAM FRIED: 36 plus years, Baruch Hashem.

    VUES: What inspired you to go into Jewish music?

    AF: Going back almost thirty six years, a lot of music was about pain, the Holocaust, suffering, and loss. I felt I had a message to deliver that was positive, uplifting, inspiring, and invigorating, which of course I got from the Rebbe [the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson] by listening to him every Shabbos at Farbrengen. I didn’t feel I was the best singer, but I felt I had a message.

    VUES: Were you part of a choir?

    AF: As a child, when I was about eight or nine years old, I was in the school choir, Oholei  Torah, here in Crown Heights, and we actually travelled as a choir for some concerts through Chabad. When I reached thirteen and my voice changed I figured, “Okay. That’s it.” But then when I was about twenty I had a message to bring to the world of “No Jew Left Behind.”
    VUES: Who was your favorite musician growing up?

    AF: There were a few musicians who were played in my home as a kid. Yom Tov Ehrlich was one of them, a Yiddish singer. David Werdyger was a favorite, Bentzion Shenker was another.  Then of course, Mordechai Ben David hit the scene and he captured my imagination.
    VUES: Is there a Jewish musician today that you would pay to listen to?

    AF: I would pay to hear a good chazzan.
    VUES: Has music always been your full time parnasa?

    AF: Yes.

    VUES: What does Avraham Fried do when he is not working on music?

    AF: B”H I am a husband and father and that takes some work and effort. When I am not travelling, I have new albums and ideas I am always working on.
    VUES: What do you prefer: concerts or simchas?

    AF: I prefer simchas, absolutely. It’s far less nerve wracking, less butterflies, and much easier.

    VUES: How has the Jewish music industry changed over your thirty years?

    AF: It has changed drastically and dramatically, for the better I think. There are so many different styles, different palates now. On the other side, change and development, and pushing the envelope, is pushing us over the red line. Some of the music today sounds a little too goyish for my taste. But other than that, Chasidic music has exploded in so many different ways. There is so much variety and talent out there.
    VUES: Do you like the era of YouTube?

    AF: I enjoy a lot of clips online. When thousands of people download music for free, it hurts distributors so it really affects a lot of people. I blame it more on the people that put it online and make it accessible. It’s a problem that we all have to deal with in the industry.

    VUES: Please tell everyone about your experience with filming the song” Shine a Little Light”

    AF: It was an amazing experience. When I think of the name Yitzi Hurwitz, on the one hand it is so sad and tragic and on the other hand, it’s incredible how he continues to shine the light and inspire under such circumstances.  He still puts out Divrei Torah every Friday and he smiles when people see him. He was at my concert Chol Hamoed Pesach in California and the whole crowd sang his song “Shine a Little Light” to him. It’s so incredible that he can do this and not let anything get in his way. He continues to be a light for the world. I was humbled to be a part of the video.
    VUES: How many concerts do you perform at per year?

    AF: As many as Hashem sends me.

    VUES: How do concerts around the world differ?

    AF: The crowds bring different types of energy. In Israel, the shows are on a much more professional level than many other places around the world. The staging, the lighting, the whole set-up there is quite spectacular and you don’t see that anywhere else. In France and
    London, the crowds really come alive. As a singer, if the crowd stays roaring for 2 ½ hours, it keeps you flying. Some crowds aren’t as leibidik and you have to work harder to get them into it.
    VUES: Tell us about your latest trip to Israel promoting your new CD.

    AF: I had a big concert at Heichal Hatarbut in Tel Aviv just last week.  Baruch Hashem it was sold out. My mood was happy, B’H, this was before the latest tragedy had hit. The crowd there is great. They just come to sing, they come to get involved. You can fly from the audience.  The experience is amazing and you really connect to each song. It’s a really spiritual experience. I just close my eyes and really connect to Hashem.

    VUES: What’s your favorite venue to play at?
    AF:  I love singing any place in Eretz Yisrael.

    VUES: Were you a fan of R’ Shlomo Carlebach?

    AF: Yes. We performed together at Westbury Music Theatre many years ago, and at a simcha. I sing so many of his songs and I love each one that I sing.

    VUES: How much nachas do you get from your nephews Benny Friedman, Eli Marcus and the

    Marcus brothers of Eighth Day?

    AF: I get tremendous nachas, especially since they are putting out such great stuff! It is great to see that Hashem is bentching them with Hatzlacha and it’s great to see that right off the bat their music has hits all over the world. They have my blessings to continue to inspire and bring the blessings of Jewish music all over the world.
    VUES: Did you know Benny Friedman’s hit song “Yesh Tikva” would be such a hit?

    AF: Right away! That was a no-brainer!

    VUES: Do you play any instruments?

    AF: I dabble in some, but I’m not good enough to play publicly. Give me a table though, and I can drum!
    VUES: Please tell everyone about your new album “Bring The House Down/Otzar Shel Yiras Shomayim”

    AF: “Otzar Shel Yiras Shomayim” comes four years after my last hit album “Keep Climbing” featuring the hit song Retzoneinu Liros Es Malkeinu as well as many others. The new album has a treasure trove of amazing songs, if you only take the time to look for it, I’m sure you’ll find Otzar Shel Yiras Shomayim. The album includes the first single released earlier this year “Hineni B’yodcho“. (Since its release, the song has reached nearly a million hits)  It features 14 tracks, of which 6 of them I co-wrote with Yitzy Waldner. The stellar composers/arrangers include some of the biggest names in the biz: Yitzy Waldner, Yuval Stupal, Moshe Laufer, Pinky Weber, Pinchas Breuer, Ruli Ezrachi, Eli Leshinsky, Naftali Schnitzler, Mendy Hershkowitz and more. The album is distributed in the US by Aderet music and in Israel by Shankys. It’s been out for four weeks now and Baruch Hashem the reaction has been heartwarming. People are buying it and listening to it and really enjoying it.  The reaction that I’m getting is that it’s a colorful CD with different songs for people of all ages and styles. It gives me a lot of chizuk to continue and put out more.  It’s really up to the crowd. If the crowd likes the music, then it gives me the chizuk to continue and to do more.

    VUES: What’s your favorite song on the new album?

    AF: It really depends on my mood. There’s a song there for every mood. I particularly like the song Otzar Shel Yiras Shomayim. The song is about how we all have a treasure of Yiras Shamayim in us.

    VUES: Elie Wiesel a’h was recently niftar. What was your relationship with him?

    AF: When I heard the news, I remembered that I have a letter that Eli Wiesel a’h personally wrote to me wishing me well.  I had the zechus many years ago to be the singer at a program where he spoke.  At the end of his speech he said to the audience that he wanted  to sing them a song, a Viznitzer song. So he began to sing a beautiful rendition of ani mamim that he heard as a child. When he came backstage after he finished, I said to him (in yiddish), “Mr. Wiesel, you can also sing!  You’re  not just a great speaker!” He smiled at me and said, “Reb Avraham, since when have you ever met a Chossid who can’t sing?”  Yehai Zichro Baruch Eli Wiesel.

    VUES: What’s next for Avraham Fried? Any summer plans?

    AF: I’ll be travelling a lot. I’m going to Eretz Yisrael and to Argentina. I’ll be releasing a new album, Baruch Hashem.  I have an Israeli CD coming out also. So Baruch Hashem, I am keeping busy.

    VUES: Favorite Catskills memory.

    AF: I remember doing concerts for Tzivos Hashem at the Monticello Raceway. Those were quite fun.

    VUES: If you can invite any three people from history or modern times for dinner, who would it be?

    AF: I would like to invite Yosef Hatzadik. I am particularly enamored with him. I think Esther HaMalka would be an interesting person to meet.  Dovid HaMelech would be a fascinating person, as well.

    VUES: Is there anything else you would like to say to COUNTRY VUES readers?

    AF: Everyone should have a healthy, safe summer. We should hear good news, especially from Eretz Yisrael. Summer is meant to energize us, recalculate, and get back in touch with ourselves.  We should be ready to take on the New Year and we be’ezrat Hashem this year we should merit that Mashiach will come and then we’ll recalculate the geula instead of galus.