Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Matisyahu Opens Up About Pushing Jewish Teens Off Stage at Maccabi Games

Matisyahu wasn't always Matisyahu.

Born Matthew Paul Miller, the singer/songwriter's career took off in the early 2000's during a phase of his life when he was affiliated with the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. Six years ago, the reggae vocalist and alternative rock musician famously shaved his beard and stopped wearing a yarmulke in public. His religious transformation, divorce and struggle with addiction led to his well-received "Akeda" album. Matisyahu’s latest work, "Undercurrents," is the first album he’s produced by himself.

Matisyahu - Interview with Rabbi Jason Miller 2017

The artist, who brings his tour to St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit on December 12, took the time to talk to me for an interview in the Detroit Jewish News. In this candid interview, Matisyahu opens up about his religious journey and shaving his iconic beard. He also, for the first time, addresses the controversial concert at the Maccabi Games this past summer, in which he pushed Jewish teens off the stage during the show.

Here's the audio of the interview with the published interview in the Detroit Jewish News below that:

Rabbi Jason Miller: What are the high points of your career?

Matisyahu: There’s been some great moments. The time I got to go on stage at Bonnaroo [Music and Arts Festival] 2005 with Trey [Anastasio of Phish] singing “No Woman No Cry.” That was a definite high point. I also got to sing “Roxanne” with Sting at Ramat Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv. That was incredible. Those are probably the two biggest artists that I got to sit in with in big stadiums. One of the memories just popping into my head was after the whole BDS thing in Spain, coming to Israel a month later and the warm feeling I got from everyone in Israel was very special for me.

What do you love about coming to Detroit, a city that like Matisyahu, has been on a transformative journey lately?

I have a song on the new album called “Back to the Old” and I think Detroit is one of those cities where young people who left the city have a real pride in the city and return when they’re older. And my first paid gig ever was in Detroit – at the Detroit Auto Show for Volkswagen. Every hour on the hour, I would play music at the Volkswagen display.