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Heroes of Cult: Noam Kaniel

The name you might not recognise – but the voice and music have been heard all around the world. The chance exists that you may have even sung some of his songs! But who is he?

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Born on August 18th 1962 in Tel Aviv, Israel, Noam discovered music at an early age competing in numerous singing contests. When he was eight years old he took place in a music contest organised by Yuda Talit and Haim Saban. He finished second. This led to a music career in Israel which peaked with the huge hits Gali and Ima Sheli.

In 1973 Israel was engulfed in the Yom Kippur War and a strange turn of events befell Noam who was invited to sing in front of some soldiers. Pop star Mike Brant (famous for the hit Laisse-moi t’aimer aka Let me love you) was on tour with Yaffa Yarkoni and witnessed Noam’s performance. Brant believed that Noam could be a successful pop star in France and convinced Haim Saban to move there to look for, record, produce and supervise potential hit songs for Noam.

Brant’s instincts were correct and Noam’s first release, Difficile de Choisir went straight to the top of the charts. This was followed in succession by such hits as Viens Maman on Va Danser, Une Maman, Lollipop and other singles. Two subsequent albums followed.

In 1975, Noam released an album in Japan in which he sang all 12 tracks in Japanese. This resulted in a headlining concert tour, first in Tokyo, then in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Three years later, Noam recorded France’s first-ever major theme song for an animated cartoon show. The 1978 production Goldorak was the first animeseries to be telecast in France. Noam’s performance earned him unprecedented celebrity status in France; by the time Goldorak had ended its original run on French TV, the theme song had sold over 1.3 million copies.

At the end of 1978, Haim Saban and his partner Shuki Levy moved to Los Angeles, Noam followed and the three began to work even closer together with Saban and Levy as composer/producers, and Noam usually handling lead vocals. The results of this collaboration included Entrechats, The Fantastic Four, Superman, The Incredible Hulk, Heathcliff & the Catillac CatsHe-Man and the Masters of the UniverseShe-Ra: Princess of Power and then in 1985, together with Filmation founder Lou Scheimer and his daughter Erika, the song I Have the Power, the title song from the He-Man/She-Ra movie The Secret of the Sword.

Further work included The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Beverly Hills Teens, Popples, M.A.S.K.Diplodos, and X-Men. 

In 1980, Noam made his acting debut in an Israeli film, Kohav Hashahar (Morning Star), in which he portrayed an aspiring teen singer who tries to help his fisherman father out of ruin.

In 1988 he recorded and released My Butterfly, which he wrote with his friend Alain Garcia. The song was a tribute to Noam’s wife Kira, who had died of terminal cancer, at the age of 23. Shortly after My Butterfly was released, Noam abandoned his acting career, making few appearances on French and Israeli TV.

In 1995, he took a sabbatical to return to his first real love, songwriting. To date, he has written and/or produced material for such French music stars as Mireille Mathieu, Patricia Kaas, Ophelie Winter, Hélène Ségara, Patrick Fiori, Lorie, Julie Zenatti and Lâam.

In 1998, Noam teamed up with Johnny Williams and Louis Element to create MIRANDA, a mix of technopop and dance fusion that took the European charts by storm. Miranda’s first single, Vamos A La Playa was sold over 2,000,000 copies worldwide, and was honored as Best Italian Artist of the Year.

In the next decade, Kaniel returned to writing music for animated television and theatrical films such as Pig City, W.I.T.C.H., Gadget and the Gadgetinis, Code Lyoko, Action Man A.T.O.M., Monster Buster Club, Casper’s Scare School, Rekkit Rabbit,  Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch, Power Rangers Samurai, Power Rangers Megaforce, Digimon Fusion, Power Rangers Dino Charge and Miraculous Ladybug.

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Founded Cult Faction in 2014; previously crawled out of the Black Lodge in 1976, only to find himself in the Village.

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