Matisyahu. Multi-genre music

15 minutes with Matisyahu

Hasidic singing sensation talks about music, faith, Twitter and Passover traditions

The very unique, very hip 31-year-old reggae/rock/hip hop star and Jewish singing sensation, Matisyahu (born Matthew Miller), recently gave me 15 minutes to chat with him. (I went over by 56 seconds; he was cool about it.)


Here's what's going on with the Hasidic musician.


Lisa Goldman (LG): So, why music? How did you get started?


Matisyahu (M): Why does a painter choose to paint? Why does a hockey player choose to play hockey? It's just what I always did; I sang around the house as a kid.


LG: You definitely have a unique sound. How do you define your style as an artist?


M: I don't have a reason to define my music. I don't need to define it to reporters or journalists. All that matters to me is making my music – I don't have to explain my music. I would say that it's not easily categorized; it's multi-genre.


LG: So there's no one definition, but it seems that your faith plays a significant role in your music. How important is Judaism in what you write and sing?


M: Music is a form of self-expression and self-expression is a big part of religion. My faith is a major element in my life and it's reflected in my music.


LG: You collaborated with Akon on your single "One Day" – which is currently on my iPod. Any other artists you'd like to work with?


M: I've performed on stage with Sting, Phish. There are producers, such as Ratatat, who I'd like to work with. I'm collaborating with Kojak and my band Dub Trio.


LG: You sound a lot like Bob Marley to me and I read that he's one of your musical inspirations. True?


M: Yes.


LG: Who else or what else, besides Bob Marley and your faith, inspires you?


M: People who I work with inspire me. My band inspires me. It's always about what I'm hearing.


LG: You've performed all over the place. What's it like performing in Israel?


M: Every place has their own feel but I love (performing in) Israel because I love the country, the spirituality. It's a big deal for me to play there; I've performed 15 or 20 times. I usually do a big show in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv every year.


LG: How does your wife feel about you being away on tour so often?


M: It's hard but that's what I've been doing since before we got married. This is my life and how it's going to be.


LG: How old are your boys?


M: I have a five-year-old and a four-year-old and one on the way.


LG: Mazel Tov. Do they know you're a big deal, or are they still too young to realize?


M: I got to take them on the tour bus with me last summer. It's hard. Sometimes they wake up in the night and ask for me. To them I'll always just be dad.


LG: You have almost 1.3 million followers on Twitter. Do you tweet yourself or do you have someone tweeting for you?


M: No, I tweet. It's an outlet for me; a way to document what's going on and a way to connect with my fans in a different way.


LG: Passover is around the corner. You know when you were a kid and you went to your grandparents' house for Seders?


M: (Giggles) Yeah, I went to Poppi Sol's house.


LG: Where's the weirdest place Poppi Sol hid the matzah?


M: You know, I don't remember. He had a really weird house with weird furniture. He was a pro-basketball player and drove a Rolls-Royce. He was a character.


LG: Well where do you hide the matzah for your kids?


M: We don't actually hide the afikoman in our house. Some Lubavitch don't practice that custom because we don't want to teach our kids to steal.


Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life



פרסום ראשון: 04.15.11, 08:26
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