Years ago I was introduced to the music of Matisyahu through a friend from North Carolina. His music is fresh, and just like his identity, is always changing. He is positive and hopeful, and his songs take you through his personal journey.
His journey seems to have been pulled in many directions. He mixes reggae with beatboxing, has been in the horror film "Possession," Matisyahu is a name meaning "Gift of God." He was brought up as a Reconstructionist Jew in Pennsylvania, did some high school rebellion as a Phish-head, and finished high school in a wilderness program in Bend, Oregon. Matisyahu went on to join the Hasidic Lubavitch religious movement. He used to look like this:
I saw many men dressed this way in New York, and realized how little exposure Boise has to this culture. Eventually, Matisyahu went to less traditional forms of Judaism. He still observes the Jewish Sabbath, and will not do performances on Friday nights. He is also a vegan, and a founding Jewish vegan organization.
Thinking about this interview, it seemed like our worlds in the last month in comparison would be like night and day. I searched for a connection we might share, and found it. It was this band, Alabama Shakes.
His skills as a songwriter and beatboxer are amazing. He's recently been finishing up a new album in Brooklyn, hoping to be released early next year.