Category Archives: Arranger

Guitarist in the Spotlight: Agam Timor of the Barns Courtney Band

Agam Timor
Guitarist Agam Timor shot by Monika Wilczynska

While the frontman in a band usually gets most, if not all, of the media’s attention, the bands we love would not be what they are without the integral contributions of the rest of the members. When it comes to the guitar stylings and overall musical contributions of Israeli musician Agam Timor, his are ones that deserve exponential recognition.

You may know Timor as the lead guitarist for the Barns Courtney band, whom he’s been touring the globe with for the past year. Signed to Capitol Records, the band has skyrocketed to international acclaim in recent years with sold out shows and several of their singles topping the charts.

“After so many gigs together, almost every night, it creates a really warm environment, like a family,” says Timor.

Timor’s rhythmic fluidity, precision on the guitar, and mesmerizing stage presence have proven to be a powerful addition to the Barns Courtney band, just as they have for a long list of other bands over the years. While Timor’s talent has helped bring him into the spotlight, his success didn’t just happen overnight. It’s the result of years of dedication and an inexhaustible passion for what he does.

Growing up in Tel Aviv, Israel, Timor discovered his love for music at the budding age of 6. Quickly picking up the violin, piano and saxophone, his passion for music grew, but it was upon discovering his connection with guitar that he found his true love.

“Since I was 12 I never put the guitar down,” admits Timor. “I immediately fell in love with it.”

Most Israeli citizens living in Israel serve in the military at some point in their lives, and while Timor is no different, he served the country in a rather unique capacity. During his three year military service he was the guitarist and arranger for Israel’s military band.

Timor says, “I enjoyed the fact that although people from different places can be very different, love different things and going through different experiences in life before joining the army . They can still go through a similar experience while watching the show, at the end of the day, people want to feel something. They want to feel the energy and forget about the tough day they had on the base”

After completing his military service Timor was free to take his musicianship to new heights and it wasn’t long before he became a national sensation in Israel. He would go onto share stages with some of the country’s most idolized talents, including singer and actress Ruthi Navon, Momi Levi and Moran Mazor, who competed in Israel’s Eurovision Song Contest, Chen Aharoni, who appeared on The X Factor UK, The X Factor Israel and Kokhav Nolad (Israel’s version of American Idol), vocalist Meital De Razon, and many more. Timor would also go on to perform as the house guitarist on the hit series The X Factor Israel, in the hit musical “Mary Lou,” as well as on Sports Channel 5 Israel, where he played the morning show hosted by Slutzki and Dominguez. Timor actually played the morning show on more than one occasion, often being called in to  play a few songs each time with a new rising artist, and then chatting with the hosts on air about life and music.

Agam Timor
Agam Timor shot by Arielle Kassulke

“I assume that any musician that keeps practicing and listening to music eventually would play great. The difference between being a professional and an amateur is pretty much the attitude and the amount of dedication one has to the project, always aim higher and keep evolving your craft,” says Timor.

Though there is definitely substantial truth in the age old saying ‘practice makes perfect,’ few will make it quite as far as Timor has over the span of his short life no matter how much they practice. At age 26, he has already proven himself to be among the world’s top guitarists. With his virtuosic talent, it’s not surprising that Timor was accepted to the Berklee College of Music, one of the most competitive music schools out there. Not only was he accepted, but he was given a scholarship, a rare award that few receive, and in 2018 he went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude.

While Timor’s strength and versatility as a guitarist has led him to be tapped to play with a pretty long list of heavy hitters in the music industry, it’s not the spotlight that drives him to perform. Behind the scenes, he is a powerhouse when it comes to writing and arranging music, and he’s used his talents in that area to create music for other artists over the years. In 2014 he worked alongside legendary producer Luis Lahav on the album for artist Or Colenberg.

“For this project I recorded all the guitars and arranged the album with my colleagues Amit Shtriker and Tom Lahav. I will never forget this project and how much we felt involved in the recorded music,” recalls Timor. “The most incredible thing is to add your own personal taste to someone else’s music and watch it become something whole.”

Another project that Timor holds dear to his heart was when he recorded the album Beit-Aba with the artist Doron Raphaeli, the founder of the popular music group Tararam.

“We spent days in the studio working on this album, I especially remember the day when we recorded the guitar solo for ‘Aguim’ that it was so late at night and Doron fell asleep in the control room while the engineer and I finished recording the song.”

With a plethora of cultural influences and experience playing diverse genres such as pop, funk, r&b, blues-rock, gospel, middle-eastern, fusion and jazz, Timor brings the full-package to the table as both a guitarist and arranger.

“When I work with artists, I first try to understand their character and what I can add from my perspective that would complement their music. When I succeed in doing that I feel that’s when the artist is being satisfied the most. Add your flavor to the same field.”

Last year Timor made another huge mark in the Israeli music industry when he was tapped to compose the intro for Omer Adam’s show, which was the first concert to be performed at the Sammy Ofer Stadium and was a sold out success. Having competed on the series Kokhav Nolad, and releasing four hit albums over the last few years, Omer Adam is arguably one of Israel’s most famous contemporary artists.

Timor admits, “I got amazing comments about the musical intro to his show and how much it enhanced Omer’s character as an artist.”

Though playing in shows such as the celebrated Israeli musical “Mary Lou” have led Agam Timor to become a celebrity in Israel, and his role in the Barns Courtney Band has led him to play in front of hundreds of thousands of fans across the globe, what Timor enjoys most is the simple art of creating music.

Guiding his life and career by the famous quote, “Do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life,” Timor is an inimitable pro at doing what he loves and doing it in a big way.

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JAYDA JEON TRAVELS THE WORLD BY MEANS OF HER INCREDIBLE MUSICAL TALENT

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One of the biggest perks of being a successful musician is that you get to travel and see the world while getting paid and being the center of attention. Doing what you love as a career, exotic locations, good pay, built in respect and admiration; it’s not a bad way to earn a living. Jayda Jeon has travelled extensively as a singer with California’s Liquid Blue whose moniker is “The World’s Most Travelled Band.” Visiting many domestic and foreign destinations has taught her things; some of the most important of which are that people everywhere love great music and travelling internationally can be hard on a singer’s voice. Seasoned through worldwide stage experience, Jayda has written mega-hit pop songs and performed with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. While she has many great stories to tell, she has even more knowledge to share. Her recent trips to Macau typify the exciting life Jeon leads as well as the wisdom that helps her maintain such a productive career.

Tatler is a British Magazine focusing on fashion and lifestyle as well as coverage of high society and politics. It is targeted towards the British upper-middle class, upper class, and those interested in society events. Tatler also offers editions in the native languages of mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.

The Tatler Ball is a high-class annual meeting where V.I.P. guests and celebrities mingle and socialize. Due to the magazine’s focus on fashion, guests don luxury attire and walk on the red carpet for the press. Everything about this event oozes glamour in every way. If you happen to receive the hand-delivered invitation to this event, you have certainly made it to the elite list because this is an invite that cannot be bought.

Tatler hired Californian band Liquid Blue to appear as the entertainment at the Tatler Ball. As vocalist for the band, Jayda was a main focal point for the evening. Jeon was just as excited as the attendees to be at this event as she states, “This particular show got me really excited since it was an international gig and I had never been to China or Hong Kong. I was really happy that I had the opportunity to perform there.” As part of the Guinness World Book recording holding and Billboard charting Liquid Blue, there was no doubt that the band would wow the crowd but sometimes different cultures can have unexpected reactions. Jayda tells, “Never having been to Macau before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. We perform for sold out crowds and do a number of encores in the US and other locations but this was undiscovered territory for us in 2016. I noticed that when we were performing, some of Asian audience members were listening and watching us perform, remaining quiet rather than dancing on the floor. While not the common US crowd reactions, this gesture shows their respect for the performers. In most Asian cultures (particularly East Asian culture), being respectful for others is very important. We understood and appreciated it. After a few drinks, everyone relaxed more and interacted.”

Jeon and her bandmates also performed at the Grand Opening for The Parisian Hotel in Macau. This took place in September of 2016 and was one of the biggest events attended by Hong Kong and Chinese celebrities, and socialites from all over the world. Macau is known as the Las Vegas of Asia; the city of night where all entertainment is going on. The Parisian hotel is a larger version of The Paris hotel in Vegas. Performing pop, hip-hop, and rock music as guests filled the dance floor, the band proved that great music has no language barrier. Many citizens of China speak English because of its prominence in the business world and the availability of English classes. Many of the attendees at both events were fans of US music. (as evidence in this video (http://hk.asiatatler.com/society/the-2016-hong-kong-tatler-ball-the-highlights).

International celebrities such as Joanna Hotung, Vacheron Constantin, Crazy Rouge, Jenny Chau, Feiping Chang, Steve McCurry, Sean Fitzpatrick, Kristine Li, Kent Ho, and other V.I.P. guests not only interacted with the band but, some even found their way onstage to join them.

The entire experience was more than Jayda had hoped for and she adamantly states how much she enjoyed performing there as well as seeing the sights and meeting the people of Macau. She does reveal that the international flights and travel can be especially taxing for a vocalist like herself. She relates, “It is very important for a singer to take care of their health first and foremost because, unlike other musicians who use an instrument, as a singer your body is your instrument. Your voice is very much likely to be affected by your health condition. When you travel, particularly when you’re stuck on a plane for a long time, you are not able to fully recover or sleep well…which hugely affects your condition. Sleeping is the most efficient natural human recovery system for your body. If you cannot sleep well, your body will immediately show it, especially in regards to your voice. Environmental changes also affect your immune system. I’ve had experiences where I was sick during traveling gigs in the past but as I got used to those gigs and searched what I could do to kep my immune system high, I was able to keep my health from intact with these type of routines. I never understood those stories of rock singers going crazy, partying all the time and never taking care of their health; I guess that’s why I’m a professional singer/arranger rather than a rockstar. Ha.”

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