By Rochelle Maruch Miller
Filling venues to capacity for over a decade, Michoel Pruzansky is clearly one of Jewish music’s most sought-after performers. Exciting, innovative, and gifted with an abundance of talent, Michoel lights up the stage–and the event–with his charismatic stage presence and high-energy performances. Painstakingly selecting songs that showcase his stunning voice and unique style, Michoel is blessed with the ability to infuse audiences with his simchas ha’chaim, conveying messages of hope and inspiration. Whether performing at a simcha, in concert, or brightening the life of a sick child or adult, Michoel’s compassion, sensitivity, and joy are reflected in every note and every performance.
Shootin’ for the Moon, Michoel’s fifth and latest album, has been generating excitement since its recent release. Produced by Michoel and Yochanan Shapiro, the album truly raises the bar in Jewish music, bringing together many of the industry’s most talented and respected names.
It features compositions and arrangements by Yochanan Shapiro, who composed three of the songs and arranged many of the choirs; Eli Gerstner, who composed three songs on this album and directed the music on several of the tracks; the Israeli dynamic duo of Eli Klein and Yitzy Berry; Yitzy Waldner; Elie Schwab; Naftali Schnitzler; and the exciting new producer and arranger, Dovi Gross.
Making his production debut is co-producer Ilan Schnitzer, who, aside from managing Michoel’s career, helped orchestrate this album to fruition, thereby ensuring it would become the megahit it is. Featuring arrangements by Ian Freitor, Shai Barak, Eli Klein, and Yitzy Berry, Shootin’ for the Moon is an album like no other, “white hot” in customer demand, the album’s tracks already most-requested at simchas.
From concept to completion, producing Shootin’ for the Moon involved a lengthy and arduous process. “After the release of my last album, Pruz Control, about a year later, my producer, Yochanan Shapiro–a talented composer in his own right–and I decided it was time for us to start working on a new album,” Michoel told the 5TJT. “Yochanan and I started kicking around songs. We collected so many songs, but finding the right ones involved a lengthy process. I wanted this album to be truly unique; therefore, we were looking for songs that reflected these standards.”
“Working with Michoel is an extremely enjoyable experience,” Yochanan explained. “He is a consummate professional who knows exactly what he wants. He remains true to himself and will not compromise his standards or integrity.”
Continuing their quest to find the perfect songs for Michoel’s album, Michoel and Yochanan visited many composers, including Elie Schwab. Elie played “Shootin’ for the Moon,” and the rest is history.
“When I heard the song, I was blown away,” Michoel recalls. “I said to myself, ‘Wow, that’s a real confidence-builder.’ Whether in ruchniyus or in gashmiyus, a person has to have confidence in order to succeed in life. The song was amazing! It had everything we were looking for–great lyrics, an inspiring message, and I knew it would be perfect for my album. I added a low part to it and I loved the song.”
“Finding the right arrangement was the next step in the process,” says Yochanan Shapiro. “Songs require arrangements and rearrangements to achieve a seamless sound.” Intent on producing an album that would be the gold standard of Jewish music in quality, content, and production, Michoel reached out to his good friend Ilan Schnitzer to join the team, as the long-awaited album began to take flight.
Eli Gerstner is one of the most talented and prolific composers of our generation, evidenced by the sheer volume of his hit compositions–each one an instant classic–and his acumen for discovering musical talent. Yet despite the time constraints of his own successful career, Eli graciously decided to become involved with the project. It all began when he opened the door one day.
Eli recalls, “There they were, Michoel, Yochanan, and Ilan–the team–standing at my door. ‘Do you have any songs for us?’ they asked.”
“‘Do I have any songs?’ I replied. “Come on in!’”
The visit proved to be enjoyable as well as highly productive; Shootin’ for the Moon features two songs composed by Eli, including “Hisorriri.”
“‘Hisorriri’ is very important to me,” he says. “Parts of it were written 15 years ago, while other parts were written more recently. The song is very close to my heart. No matter how little time I had available, I made the time to be involved with this project. I think the album reflects the good time, the quality, and the excitement that came out of it.”
“What you see at a wedding, what you hear on the album, what you see in person, is the energy, talent, and unique style of Michoel,” says producer Yochanan Schapiro.
For Michoel, there is no greater reward than using his talents to bring a smile to the infirm and be mesameiach a chassan and kallah as they embark upon building a bayis ne’eman b’Yisrael. Performing to perfection at every venue, Michoel’s style is fresh, exciting, and unique to every simcha, infusing and energizing the crowd with his joie de vivre, warmth, and sincerity. Conveying messages of inspiration, the songs he sings emanate from his heart and speak volumes. In addition to being a multitalented performer, he has a tremendous level of ahavas Yisrael.
Shootin’ for the Moon affords you front-row access to your personal Michoel Pruzansky concert. Savor the experience!