Matisyahu reflected on his answers and changed his mind.
After sending follow up questions to his original response via email, the American reggae singer provided rewritten answers. Likely concerned with the reception of his initial responses, he replied saying “Being judged and feeling misunderstood has been a recurrent theme in my life.” His image has been a focal point of his career. An Orthodox Jew from White Plains, New York, Matisyahu, born Matthew Paul Miller, captivated the world with his 2006 performance at Stubb’s in Austin. His long beard, payos (sidelocks), and unusual blend of Old Testament storytelling with reggae melodies was a complete anomaly as Americans looked internationally for new styles like Shakira and Sean Paul that took top spots on the Billboard Chart.
At the end of 2011, Matisyahu shared a photo of himself clean shaven, declaring that he was “reclaiming himself” and ready to move forward with his career. But as much as any artist wishes to be creatively pure, no one operates within a vacuum unaware of critics and fans alike. On June 3rd, he will release his fifth studio album, Akeda, which is Hebrew for “binding” and a reference to the story of Isaac, where G-d tests Abraham’s faith by asking him to sacrifice his child. The story parallels where the artist stands today: his creative decisions decided, awaiting to see if his fans will follow.
This upcoming Friday Matisyahu will perform at Bottlerock Music Festival in Napa. In a series of emails, SFCritic spoke with Matisyahu about his upcoming album, his image and religious outlook. Read More