The most interesting new talent to hit the music scene lately is quite a surprise. The old saying “Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover” could certainly apply here. As I was watching late night television, I flipped through channels to check out Jimmy Kimmel and noticed a band about to play. Jimmy Kimmel introduced him and my finger was poised on my remote, ready to change the channel. The musician was dressed in traditional Hasidic Jew attire, complete with a black fedora and long beard. Honestly I expected to hear some boring, strange music, but was pleasantly surprised. The crooning, spell-binding vocals began, and I found myself listening in amazement. Not only was this beautiful vocals and reggae, but also had a hip-hop sound. Always being a huge music lover, I love to hear a musician with a unique sound to their voice or with inspiring lyrics. This performer named Matisyahu was just so refreshing. Even at almost 2 a.m. in the morning, I was completely blown away and excited about this artist. Before going to bed, I ran to jot down this artist’s name, so I could research his background and hear more of his awesome sound.
Early the next morning, with coffee cup in hand, I quickly ran to my laptop to do a little investigating. Guessing at the spelling, I entered Matisyahu into my Google Search. Hungry to learn more about this interesting reggae/hip-hop sensation, I found a plethera of information on Matisyahu. He was born Matthew Miller on June 30, 1979, in West Chester, Pa. Raised Jewish, he rebelled and was even considered a Hippie in his early teen years. Matthew visited Israel and it turned out to be a very important experience in his life. He felt a strong connection to God there and spent time exploring praying and enjoying Jerusalem. After he left Jerusalem and returned home to the States, he dropped out of school and began following Phish on their national tour. Several months later, he returned home. His parents were quite upset and decided to have him attend a wilderness school in Oregon. This school turned out to be wonderful as he studied up on hip-hop and reggae music. He began doing open-mic nights where he would rap, sing, beat-box. Here he developed his awesome and unique musical style. When he was 19, he returned to New York to attend The New School, where he continued working on his music. He began going to a synagogue on the Upper West Side, that had great singing and had a relaxed hippie atmosphere. There he continued to follow his unusual style of reggae and hip-hop, with positive messages. Matthew became Matisyahu after meeting a Lubavitch rabbi in a park.
Having lived a hippie lifestyle at one time, this lifestyle was quite different from the structure of Jadaism. Matisyahu made every attempt to abide by the Jewish Law. Now 2 years later, Matisyahu lives in Crown Heights , and spends time on stage and his yeshiva. Matisyahu has such a unique mix of reggae, hip-hop, and the Hasidic Jewish culture. He is so different from everyone else on the music scene, he really stands out. Matisyahu has “King Without a Crown” on the radio now, as well as on MTV. He is capturing the attention of young and old alike with his messages of Bible stories and positive messages to a reggae beat. The band’s talent really shines, and will hopefully outlast the novelty of being labeled the Hasidic Jewish Reggae band. For Matisyahu, his dedication to his beliefs and his spirituality is reflected in the music, which makes his performances a powerful and uplifting experience.