Madonna, the iconic pop star, would seem to have little in common with Sylvan Adams, a Canadian-Israeli philanthropist. She’s outspoken; he’s mild-mannered. But they have a closer connection than you might first imagine. They’re both the same age and grew up just across the border from each other – Madonna in Michigan, and Adams in Canada.
Adams, who moved to Tel Aviv a few years ago, is currently spearheading an effort to bring the rock legend to his new adopted hometown to perform in May. After discussing it briefly while on stage at Keshet’s Innovative TV conference last week in Jerusalem, we caught up with Adams backstage to probe a little further.
In recent months, Adams helped bring a prestigious European cycling race known as the Giro to Israel and was also part of the team that launched a tiny spacecraft on a historic mission to the moon. So how does Madonna compare? He laughed. “It may not be as lofty, but it’s within the same theme.”
As the winner of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, Israel became the host nation for the 2019 outing, which is May 14-18 in Tel Aviv. The international singing competition enjoys a massive audience, with up to 600 million people watching the telecast worldwide. It launched the careers of ABBA and Celine Dion. But in the United States, which does not compete in the contest, it hasn’t taken on the same resonance.
“The Eurovision is a massive thing, but it’s not very well known in North America,” Adams said. “We’ve reached out to Madonna to try to add some glitz to the event and create more interest. It’s looking very good that she’s going to participate.”
And Madonna will do more than watch from the sidelines. “I decided to join forces with the Eurovision people here in Israel and to invite Madonna to come and sing during the competition and to coach some of the contestants and to make it more of a worldwide event, to make it more exciting and more impressive for an event that was already exciting and impressive.”
For Madonna, the trip to Israel this spring won’t be much of a stretch. She already has strong connections to the Mediterranean country. Since 2005, her manager has been Israeli producer Guy Oseary. He’s not only overseen her most recent albums and several very successful tours, he also released two books of his concert photography from those tours: Madonna Confessions and Madonna: Sticky & Sweet. The 46-year-old Jerusalem native also works with U2, Alicia Keys, Ashton Kutcher, Amy Schumer and baseball great A-Rod.
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