From Metro Weekly
Maya Siman-Tov
"Who's the Diva?
Offer Nissim�s album is surprisingly strong, while Elkland�s retro sound proves to be too much of a good thing
By Doug Rule
Published on 05/19/2005

Dana International is nowhere to be found on Offer Nissim�s U.S. debut album, First Time. Know how you can tell? The first transsexual, first Israeli Eurovision Song Contest winner would never allow her work to go uncredited, as the artist here does. Her winning song (and one international hit) wasn�t called �Diva� for nothing.So just who is that female heard all throughout First Time? Her name is Maya Siman-Tov, or just Maya for short. As Nissim acknowledged in a Billboard interview, Maya, a young Israeli singer, actually wrote all the lyrics and melodies on First Time. �The album is a real collaboration,� he said, before adding, �But I have the last word.�

Yes, indeed. And the only official notice. The album isn�t being promoted as Offer Nissim presents Maya. Or as Offer Nissim featuring Maya. And it�s certainly not simply Maya, even though Nissim appears to be more the producer than the artist here, in the same manner that the gay-popular Israeli DJ was the producer for Dana International. Maya has to settle for fine-print notice in the liner notes. You have to be inspired, in other words, to search out her name.

International male: Nissim
But search you will. Not only is Maya�s a refreshing voice in dance music today -- it�s smart, serious, quiet, soft but not weak, sweet but not cakey, vulnerable but not insecure. But for all this spotlighting of the slight of Maya here, I have to confess: Nissim has produced an amazing album, one that exceeds expectations of a dance album. It may be a little too uniform -- the scenery changes, but nearly every song courses down the same medium-fast tribal rhythm desert road. Still, it never becomes unpleasant or monotonous. And it�s not just a collection of forthcoming singles (though several of these already have been). First Time is a consistent, true-to-form album, with a thought-out progression: a strong beginning, middle and end, with songs that work well together, lyrically as well as musically.

And they do so cleverly: Maya sings of her being lost after her lover has gone on �Searching.� But that�s immediately followed by her singing that she�s finally realized she�s better of without the ex on �Alone.� Nissim�s melodies usually act or react to what Maya�s singing -- as the melody writer, perhaps we should give her the credit for that. So she sings of �Rain,� with her voice falling down the scale and strings splish-splashing around her.

�That�s the Way I Like It� ends the album in exceptional fashion. It begins, fittingly, as a gently sung, piano-driven ballad. But the more Maya thinks about how great she feels -- �when you�re holding me, when you�re touching me, when you�re feeling me, I like it� -- the more ecstatic she becomes, cooing and ad-libbing sweet-nothings. Eventually the music catches up and matches her mood. And once it does, it�s all over. She�s sent back down to wallow in the fine-print credits, and Nissim rides off again, after having the last word -- or in this case, the last synth-jab.
From - Maya Simantov page

About Maya Simantov

Dance-R&B singer/songwriter Maya Simantov also known as Maya was born and raised in Israel, beginning her dreams of becoming a singer at the age of 2. Over the past few years Maya has proven to be a musical asset with magnificent talent as a singer, songwriter, lyricist and composer. Having established a successful music career in Israel, Maya had life-long dreams of establishing her musical career with international recognition. Ever since Maya was a young aspiring artist she had been inspired by legendary artists such as Elvis Presley, Chaka Khan, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and others.

In 2002 destiny brought Maya together with a well-known and talented Israeli producer Yinon Yahel. The two met at a mutual friends studio (Yossi sidi) and began working together immediately. The recording of their first song took no time. Special chemistry lead Maya and Yinon Yahel to begin their musical affairs, and within a short period of time proved to be vigorous. Shortly there after, Yinon Yahel introduced Maya to a world re-known recording artist, producer and DJ by the name of Offer Nissim. The trio worked together very closely and achieved major success as one of Israels most anticipated performers/recording artists. Mayas Dance Album First Time received acknowledgment as one of Israels all time best Dance Albums. Mayas series of hits astonished her fellow Israeli listeners and her fan base enlarged each and every day. Maya succeeded to excite her audiences with every performance and caught the attention many internationally known DJs, producers and executives including that of Grammy Award winning producer and owner of Star69 Records, Peter Rauhofer. Not long after Maya and Peter met, the trio DJ Offer Nissim, Yinon Yahel and Maya teamed up to be unbeatable and recorded a full album which was signed and released by Star 69 Records

In 2005 Maya recorded numerous top ratings on major charts across the nation including Searching entering the billboard top 25 and First Time hitting top 10 on billboard dance/club play. Mayas sweet and soulful voice rewarded her with invitations to perform internationally including Asia, Europe, South America and the United States. Today Maya continues to strive towards her dreams of becoming a successful international recording artist and now on the merge of completing yet another accomplishment with a Soul/R&B album destined to open the eyes of millions. As a young girl growing up with inspirations that kept her strong, Maya hopes to inspire millions with the days to come.
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