Roy Edri is a soulful man from a holy land with a clarion voice and a charmed guitar. Blending sounds from world folk, reggae and R&B with lyrics in Hebrew and English, Edri’s songs speak to bridging divides and searching for a higher plane.
Born in to a Moroccan father and an Israeli mother in Israel’s Be’re Sheva, the “7-welled,” City of the Desert, he was a musician from the moment he could stand. Edri picked up the guitar at 3 and found his way to a piano at 6. His ears devoured recordings of African and Israeli folk, along with the rock and rhythm & blues that the radio beamed in from the West.
That was, until his family brought him over to L.A. where hiphop was on the rise. In the 80’s and early 90’s, Eldri learned the words to every West Coast rap song that got play, until earthquakes and crime sent him back Israeli at the age of 13. Home again, Edri taught his friends what he had learned. Fueled by passion and a sense of destiny, his high school hiphop group, Side Effect, achieved the unthinkable—a demo deal with Def Jam Records.
It was time to return to the States: this time Brooklyn. Because they inhabited the form while staying true to their own voices and life experience, the Israeli teenagers excelled in the New York scene, earning props from the likes of Method Man and DMX. As a rapper, Edri was drawn to musical hiphop acts like The Fugees, Everlast, Chaos and The Roots. He picked up the bass and began studying the records of Bootsy Collins, Larry Graham the other greats of funk. It was an exhilarating time.
Then, suddenly, everything changed. Still barely out of their teens, Side Effect lost their drummer and dear friend, Raphael Pollach [SP?]. It only drove them closer as friends but the weight of Pollach’s death changed the vibe of the band irreparably. As musicians, they went their separate ways. It was a time of intense searching for Edri, who had never felt completely at home as an MC. From his first solo explorations came 2002’s Hear Me Out, a dramatically eclectic mix of styles, which reached out from the murk of urban dreariness and loss, back toward the light and joy of Edri’s childhood.
Edri began touring Europe and settled for a couple of years in London, a singer/songwriter with a guitar and a wicked, Jamaican backing band. There, he penned songs for soul singer Mica Paris and tried his hand at producing. In 2005, Israeli rapper Subliminal asked Edri to record vocals for he hook of his single “Street Kid.” The track tour up the charts. Edri was inspired to return to his homeland where he laid down All the Way, a new album of funky, world-beat infused, songs in Hebrew, featuring a who’s who of Israeli artists.
On the success of this album, Edri developed a TV show, [TITLE]. Israeli’s answer to Yo! MTV Raps!, it featured interviews, rap battles and performances. It was a huge success. After two seasons though, Edri found that Israeli’s small hiphop community had been sufficiently tapped. The show fizzled and its host basked in the profound silence that arises when a phone that has been receiving 400 calls a day, stops ringing. The silence gave rise to mediation. Edri found that he had been living in the City of Lights—of glitz and bling. It was time to recharge. Time to reconnect with his past, with tradition—time to go back to The Roots. On his new album of that title, that’s where you’ll find him: drawing deep from the wells of his faith and making music that unifies cultures, feeds the spirit and speaks to the soul.