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Former IDF lieutenant Hadar Manor emerged from around 150 entrants to win the Ear to the Underground contest, a joint initiative between Capital 95.8 and thelondonpaper for which thousands of votes were cast online.
Leaving the radio station after appearing on a special programme with eventual runner-up Chris Dingli last Thursday, during which listeners also had an opportunity to vote, the 28-year-old received an immediate reaction. “Everyone on the street and down underground were asking me “Are you the Queen?” It was so funny,” she told TJ. “I guess they could tell since I was holding a sign and wearing a crown. I went busking at the weekend and people congratulated me and danced around.”
She added: “It’s been a mad journey, but it was well worth it, if only for all the support and love I received from people all over the world. The Jewish community also showed great support and in Israel it seemed to make waves too.
“I’m happy to have won, it’s a way of saying thanks to all the people who supported me so far.” But, she believed “there isn’t just one Queen or King or best artist on the underground or above. We are all unique and special in a different way. I know musicians who played with huge bands and sometimes like to play the underground, it’s an amazing experience!”
Other than the crown, her prize included a live support session with a major act and £5,000, most of which she intends to spend on completing her album. Manor– who has previously appeared on the South Bank Show – is also in the middle of recording a track for Defected Records and has been asked by OiVaVoi to do a couple of songs with them for their next album.
But her legion of fans needn’t worry about her disappearing from Tottenham Court Road and other major stations where she can often be found. “I may be a bit busy, but it’s great,” she said. “A few months I stopped for a couple of months and missed it a lot.” She is also currently putting together an event at a “secret location somewhere down the underground” which will bring a number of buskers together to perform.
The Israeli – who counts Limmud, the ZF and JNF among the organisations she has performed for since arriving in London five years ago – has also not lost touch with her routes. “I believe strongly in God and the Jewish way of life. I try to live my life according to that and out of respect to our long respected and rich tradition, culture and values,” she said. The performer – who is hoping to do a show in Tel Aviv later this year – added: “I can only be myself and hope I’m doing a good job in being am ambassador for Israel. I think every Israeli abroad is an ambassador.”Queen of the Underground by Justin Cohen