By Rochelle Miller
Described by renowned composer and producer Yitzy Waldner as “a breath of fresh air … who has the ability to do things with his voice no one else in this business can,” Mordechai Shapiro is one of Jewish music’s hottest and most gifted performers.
“As an artist, I take pride in the fact that my songs are very message-oriented,” says Mordechai, whose third album, HaKol MiShamayim, began generating buzz in the weeks prior to its much-anticipated June 11th release. “In every song that I sing, there is a distinct message that I want to convey to the world. Positivity and joy is what I aspire to promote through my music.”
“Looking back to the ‘predictions’ feature in my yearbook, my classmates had written I would be singing professionally in 20 years. Being a singer has been a lifelong dream of mine. It’s something I persevered at and pushed hard for all these years. I enjoy every aspect of inspiring people through my music and bringing happiness into their lives.
Raised in a Modern Orthodox home, Mordechai was inspired by Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, and Michael Buble, as evidenced by the stellar quality of every one of his vocal performances. It was precisely that star quality that drew the attention of Yerachmiel Begun, who elected to have Mordechai as star soloist of the Miami Boys Choir in 1997. Since his debut as a solo performer two decades ago, Mordechai’s star has been shining brightly, as he continues to inspire people worldwide with his music.
Throughout the ensuing years, Mordechai has captivated crowds at concerts and graced celebratory events, bringing his unique style and energy to simchas. Trained under the world’s foremost vocal coaches, Mordechai’s stunning vocal performances take him to venues spanning virtually every continent. His penchant for performing chesed in its purest form has made him a beacon of hope to those in despair as he prioritizes the mitzvah of bikur cholim, devoid of any desire for honor or publicity.
Personable, unpretentious, and greatly appreciative of his ever-expanding international fan base, Mordechai recently shared his thoughts about HaKol MiShamayim, which was produced by Yitzy Waldner at Playmasters Studio. Featuring 15 tracks, it comprises 12 brand-new songs as well as three bonus favorites: “Friends,” “Kidei LeHodos,” and “B’Yachad.” It is a musical masterpiece, brimming with optimism and hope.
For Mordechai, music is the media through which he conveys his message. Each track is a stand-out selection in its own right, hand-picked by the artist himself because of its relevance to the thoughts he wishes to express.
“I am excited about every song on this album,” he shares. “I focused on conveying a very positive message throughout. As I worked on the album itself, I internalized the message of its title track, HaKol MiShamayim, more than I ever have. It impacted me deeply and I hope it will inspire others that if we can live every moment of our lives knowing that Hashem customizes our lives, it can help us live more tranquil lives.
“Sometimes we feel the grass is greener on the other side,” says Mordechai. “When we realize that each of us is a unique individual whom Hashem has gifted with special talents and abilities, we understand that we are truly ‘One in a Million,’ which is the distinct message of the song with that title.
“‘Up All Night’ conveys the message of how, despite all the seemingly insurmountable challenges our nation has faced, we remain steadfast in our emunah and pray for the ultimate Redemption with the coming of Mashiach. This song features Danny Palgon, an incredible vocalist making his way into the music industry. It is an honor and a pleasure to feature him on this album.”
Music has the power to bring people to an emotional place they never thought possible. An exemplar of chesed, Mordechai dispenses countless videos weekly to uplift hospitalized and bedridden patients. Each day, Mordechai receives e-mails thanking him for putting a smile on the faces of the ill and infirm. One email described the joy expressed by a terminally ill patient who took pleasure in listening to Mordechai’s songs.
“I never thought the songs I sing could have such a tremendous impact,” he says, when pressed to comment. “The ability to bring people pleasure through my music is incredible. The feedback I get from people all over the world is very rewarding. They tell me how the music has impacted their lives and helped them cope with their struggles. Music is a language that speaks to so many. The message I want to give is one of positivity and hope. We all face challenges and obstacles throughout our lives, but if we place our faith in Hashem, nothing is insurmountable. My message is to have a positive attitude and to look at our fellow Jew with a bright light.”
Rochelle Maruch Miller is a contributing editor for the Five Towns Jewish Times. She is a journalist, creative media consultant, lecturer, and educator, and writes for magazines, newspapers, websites, and private clients. She welcomes your comments at Rochellemiller04@aol.com