Matisyahu

Matisyahu

Matisyahu (born Matthew Paul Miller on June 30, 1979, in West Chester, PA) is an American Hasidic Jewish reggae musician. Known for blending traditional Jewish themes with reggae, rock and hip hop beat-boxing sounds. At first rebelled against his traditional Jewish upbringing, however at the age of 14, during a camping trip in Colorado, he reconciled himself to Judaism and visited Israel shortly thereafter. After returning to the US, he dropped out of high school and traveled the country. Back at home again, he agreed to let his parents send him to a wilderness school in Bend, OR, where he became enamored of reggae and hip-hop, and began rapping at open-mike competitions. At the age of 19 he returned to New York to attend the New School for Social Research in Manhattan, and joined the Carlebach Shul, a synagogue where his musical interests were encouraged. Meeting a Lubavitch rabbi, he became interested in the strict Lubavitch Hasidic sect of Judaism and renamed himself Matisyahu.

His debut album, “Shake Off the Dust...Arise” was released in 2004. While touring in support of the album, Matisyahu recorded one of his February 2005 concerts and released the material as “Live at Stubb's”, which was issued in April. In March 2006 appeared “Youth”, an album nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Reggae Album. A simultaneously released dub version of the album was made available to mail-order customers. The singer's third LP “Light” was released in August 2009, along with the live EP “Live at Twist & Shout”. At the beginning of 2011 appeared “Live at Stubb's, Vol. 2”, with a companion DVD release.

Matisyahu’s present band, Brooklyn’s acclaimed Dub Trio, includes guitarist D.P. Holmes, bassist Stu Brooks and drummer Joe Tomino. “Dub Trio understand the concept of space,” says the singer, “which for a vocalist is great, because that leaves a lot of room for me to really get into my lyrics in new ways.”

Matisyahu appreciates live shows and personal contacts with his fans. “Performing is such a big part of what I do,” he says, “and there’s a lot about that live energy that you just can’t catch in the studio. So for me it was simply a matter of figuring out the right time to do it.”

Gallery Matisyahu