Matthew Paul Miller (born June 30, 1979), better known by his Hebrew name Matisyahu, is an American Hasidic Jewish reggae musician. He is known for blending traditional Jewish themes with Reggae, rock and hip hop beat-boxing sounds.
He was brought up a Reconstructionist Jew, and attended Hebrew school at Bet Am Shalom, a synagogue located in White Plains. He performed for over a year under the alias MC Truth in Bend, Oregon's Soulfori band. He spent some time as a young man as a self-professed "Phish-head," taking hallucinogens and following the rock band Phish on tour.
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.”
His live album, “Live at Stubb's,” released in 2005, was recorded at a concert in Austin, Texas. The live version of the song “King Without a Crown,” broke into the Modern Rock Top 10 in 2006. The accompanying video and album, “Youth,” produced by Bill Laswell, were released on March 7, 2006. “Youth” was Billboard magazine's number-one Digital Album. The album debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 with over 119,000 copies sold in its first week released. A month later, the album was certified gold by the RIAA.
In late 2006, he released “No Place to Be,” a remix album featuring re-recordings and remixes of songs from all three of his earlier albums, as well as a cover of "Message in a Bottle" by The Police.
His third studio album, “Light” was released on August 25, 2009, along with the live EP “Live at Twist & Shout.”
Matisyahu recorded the Sephardic music-influenced hip hop song "Two Child One Drop" for “The Official Sephardic Music Festival COMPILATION VOL. 1” album released by Shemspeed, alongside artists such as Hasidic rapper Y-Love, Israeli hip-hop group Hadag Nahash, and psychedelic rock/Sephardic fusion group Pharaoh's Daughter.
When Matisyahu emerged with his debut album, Shake Off the Dust...Arise, in 2004, his musical persona seemed novel to some. Here was a Hasidic Jew, dressed in a black suit with a broad-brimmed black hat worn over a yarmulke, and sporting a full, untrimmed beard, who nevertheless performed toasting raps about the glories of traditional Judaism over reggae beats in a dancehall style directly from Jamaica, punctuating his performances with stage diving. It may have seemed like a joke at first, but Matisyahu was serious, and he began to attract press notices to go with the enthusiastic audiences that packed his concerts. Live at Stubb's (2005) and Youth (2006) followed. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi
When audiences first heard of a Hasidic Jewish reggae musician with a talent for beat boxing, many people thought it was merely a novelty. However, Matisyahu's talent at combining hip hop and reggae is undeniable, and his tour dates and albums are some of the most talked about in the world of reggae. Matisyahu's faith and reggae music share similar spiritual aspects, which has led to music that not only has people jumping in the clubs, but also thinking. As one of the hottest reggae musicians in the US, Matisyahu is currently performing 2011 tour dates in some of the most popular venues in the country. Born Matthew Miller, Matisyahu grew up as a practicing Jew, but spent much of his teen years immersed in the music of Phish. When he converted to Orthodox Judaism in 2001, he began experimenting with rap and reggae music, eventually catching the attention of Jewish record label JDub Records. While it took a while for audiences to notice his debut album, Shake Off the Dust…Arise, his passionate performances on tour dates and powerful message eventually caught on after the release of the gold live album, Live at Stubb's. Matisyahu's next studio album, Youth, became a breakout hit and featured the popular single, "King without a Crown." Matisyahu's latest album, Light, has received even greater acclaim, dominating the top spot on the reggae charts and proving that the best of this rapper is yet to come. In addition to the anticipation of a new album eventually, fans are also excite about Matisyahu's many tour dates in 2011, where he'll be supported by Trevor Hall and Tea Leaf Green. Matisyahu's performances end on September 7, so be sure to buy your tickets on Eventsfy soon.