Yael Naim was born in Paris, France and raised in Israel. During Naim's obligatory military service, she formed a band called "The Anti Collision" and toured Israel's clubs. Signed by EMI in 2000, she released her first record In A Man's Womb in 2001, which flopped. It was only after the soulful folk-pop singer met West Indian drummer David Donatien that her career began to take off. Her self-titled second album, a collaboration with Donatien, contained songs in French, English, and Hebrew. In France it was both a critical and commercial success peaking at #11 on the French album chart.
It wasn't until 2011 that Naim released another album (She Was a Boy) internationally. When we spoke with her that year, she explained that her sudden success was a blessing because it meant that she could travel the world, but the downside was that it didn't leave her as many quiet moments to contemplate and write songs. Explaining why she didn't follow up "New Soul" with more music right away, she told us: "It was very, very important not to forget where we came from. I had this first experience with a major company when I was 20 and saying, 'You should do this and this and this in order to have success and money and blah blah blah.' And of course it's not an automatic thing in art. You have to start at the beginning. The beginning is to find something sincere and to have a real thing to say. You cannot invent it from nothing. So for us, it was people to listen, because the first album had 8 ballads in Hebrew. We did everything on a very old computer, with a very cheap mike, and we did it with nothing, with no record company, no money, no one waiting for us. It was the most wonderful period of my life, because I was free, completely free. I didn't care about signing or releasing an album, it was really for myself. And it was amazing to discover that you can do things your way and have some success with huge things. I think we were like 7 on the Billboard, plus we got something that was really out of every expectation. So for us, the message that we received from life was just continue to relax and to do music that you like and just not think about every other distraction."