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Matisyahu

Real name: Matthew Paul Miller
Birthdate: N/A
Status: Single
Partner:

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Biography

Known for blending traditional Jewish themes with reggae and rock sounds, Matisyahu is most recognizable for being a member of Chabad-Lubavitch, a chassidic group of Judaism. As such, Matisyahu stands out for wearing the traditional clothing of Hasidic Jews and not performing on the Sabbath. Since 2004, he has released two studio albums as well as one live album, two remix CDs and one DVD featuring a live concert, and a number of interviews. Through his short career, Matisyahu has teamed up with some of the biggest names in reggae production including Bill Laswell and duo Sly & Robbie.

Since his debut, Matisyahu has received positive reviews from both rock and reggae outlets. Most recently, he was named "Top Reggae Artist" of 2006 by Billboard.

In 2004, Matisyahu, after having signed with JDub Records, a not-for-profit record label that promotes Jewish musicians, released his first album, Shake Off the Dust...Arise. At the time a relatively unknown musician, he did not rise to prominence until Bonnaroo 2005, when he talked Trey Anastasio of the band Phish into letting him play a set. This would prove to be the event that launched his career.

His live album, Live at Stubb's, released in 2005, was recorded at a concert in Austin, Texas. This concert album, and Youth, his second album, both received critical and popular acclaim. Each album marks significant changes in Matisyahu's style, most markedly between Stubb's and Youth, when more rock music influences are evident. Since his second two albums became popular, Shake off the Dust has steadily risen in demand, fetching prices upwards of $30USD on online auction sites such as Ebay.Matisyahu performing at the Roskilde Festival in 2006.

As of July 2007, Matisyahu has already begun writing new songs for his third proper studio album, which is due for release sometime in early 2008.

The music, developed partly with his backing band Roots Tonic has a unique sound, mixing reggae, traditional rap, and guitar solos typical of rock music. He sometimes performs with Kenny Muhammad, a Muslim beatboxer. Matisyahu's major label debut album was produced by avant-garde musician and producer Bill Laswell, with minor contribution by pop producers Jimmy Douglass and the Ill Factor.

However, he mixes in contemporary stylings of rap and beatboxing, similar to Sublime, as well as the traditional Hazzan style of Jewish cantors and Hasidic nigunim. The generally critical New York Times' Kelefa Sanneh notes that "His sound owes a lot to early dancehall reggae stars like Barrington Levy and Eek-a-Mouse." The Chicago Tribune's Kevin Pang has described a Matisyahu performance as "soul-shaking brand of dancehall reggae, a show that captures both the jam band vibe of Phish and the ska-punk of Sublime." Reviewers generally agree that Matisyahu may disappoint reggae purists, but acknowledge the unique blend of musical traditions that Matisyahu harnesses generally please the people who see his performances. Matisyahu's style has been compared to Jew da Maccabi, an Orthodox Jew from Florida who includes religious lyrics within a musical style derived from hip-hop.

Matisyahu is the Ashkenazi Hebrew and Yiddish pronunciation of the Biblical name Matthew (מתתיהו). The Modern Hebrew pronunciation is Mātityāhu. The name means gift of God.

Singles: "King Without a Crown" · "Youth" · "Jerusalem (Out Of The Darkness Comes Light)"



 


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