The story of Edon, from YouTube to America’s Got Talent

Edon Pinchot is a modern orthodox teenager from Chicago who writes, plays and performs pop music. He recently released his new single “Novocaine”


In the beginning of March, Edon Pinchot released a new single called Novocaine on iTunes. Edon, 15, is a Jewish high school student from Chicago who loves to perform his own music and has a total of more than ten thousand followers on Facebook and Twitter.

I discovered Edon back in 2011, when he posted a cover of P!nk’s Perfect on YouTube. I was impressed with the way he managed to personally reinterpret worldwide known hits, such as Bruno Mars’ Count on Me and Shontelle’s Impossible. Clean face, chubby, pink cheeks, and a yarmulke on his head were just small details when placed alongside his confident, young voice.

The talented Chicagoan quickly grew a solid fan base, especially after he became a successful contestant on the NBC show America’s Got Talent, where he performed an empowering rendition of Sia’s Titanium and reached the semifinals. After his experience on American TV, appreciation started flowing. The Chicago Tribune wrote that the young singer “often blows audiences away” and the Grammy nominated artist Sara Bareilles tweeted him to praise his cover of King of Anything.

The Edon who recorded Novocaine, though, is far distant from the Edon I used to follow on YouTube a couple of years ago. He has matured altogether as an artist, as a songwriter and as a vocalist. His new single reflects a whole new approach to pop music: his voice is no longer the dominant feature of the production, but now also the piano has been given its own life and expresses its own majesty. Voice and piano grow together throughout the track; they explore uncharted territory; they get to know and respect each other’s essence.

Mixing Jewish tradition and modernity

“I want to stay true to who I am” said Edon during an interview on The Steve Harvey show last year. And so he seems to be doing. Born and raised in the Modern Orthodox Jewish Chicago, Pinchot has inspired thousands of teenagers by showing a not so easy coexistence of tradition and modernity, of religious life and secular struggles. Right before Hanukkah, last year, he released an original track called 8 Days, in which he told a story of overcoming hard times through the achievement of victory – the story of the Maccabees, the Jewish rebels who fought in order to regain control of their land and of the Temple from the Greeks during the 2nd century B.C.E. Yet, he told an ancient, traditional and religious story shaping it for a young, contemporary audience, empowering the listeners to take control on their own lives and beliefs.

A similar pattern was used for Novocaine, a song about the tough end of a relationship, may it be a love story or a friendship. A time comes when it’s necessary to put pride and feelings aside, in order to learn the truth and be able to move on. Edon sings the chorus line “I’m through with all these games” just a few days away from the next Jewish holiday, Purim, when we celebrate the failure of Haman’s plot to exterminate the Persian Jews. Whenever I listen to the song – which has a very strong impact on me – I can picture the Jews of Persia, sick of seeing the evil Haman taking over King Ahasuerus’ political power and manipulating him in his own interest.

Is Edon the ‘Jewish Justin Bieber’?

Edon now is a sophomore in a Modern Orthodox Jewish day school in Chicago and keeps on dreaming big while his management team organizes live performances all over the States. He has performed in Central Park, NY, and in his hometown’s Hard Rock Café. He embodies the dreams of an entire generation of youtubers, to the point that he is often regarded as the “Jewish Justin Bieber”, even though he really does not have anything to do with the Canadian superstar: with his foot standing on the ground, a kippah on his head and his fingers playing the piano, Edon is the ultimate symbol of the Modern Orthodox American dream.


About the Author
Born and raised in Italy, Simone Somekh studies at Bar-Ilan University and works as a freelance writer. His works have been published in The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, Wired Italy, and more.
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