Matisyahu Sheds Old Sonic Habits, Among Other Things
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Staring at yourself in a mirror can be as daunting as looking down the barrel of a gun, especially if you don't like what you see. Last December, Matishayu faced the decision of whether to cut his beard, a symbol of his dedication to Orthodox Judaism. After mulling it over, he knew the beard had to go.
With clippers buzzing in his hand, Matisyahu knew he could start fresh. When he tweeted a picture of his new clean-shaven look, the caption read, "No more Chassidic reggae superstar. Sorry folks, all you get is me . . . no alias."
"It had been 10 years, and I was ready to make that change and expose that part of myself," he says while backstage in Jacksonville, Florida. "I wasn't sure how I was going to express that to the world." The moment wasn't contrived or a publicity stunt. In fact, it was the exact opposite. "I didn't have a plan or call my publicist or talk to my manager and wife," he confesses.
"That day, I was reading my Twitter and someone quoted my song 'Thunder,' and the lyrics that inspired some people gave me inspiration that it was part of God's plan for me."
Since bursting onto the scene with his 2004 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! the singer has had varied degrees of success. After the performance, his profile grew to heights no one could have foreseen. Initially, some perceived him as a novelty act, as there hadn't yet been a Jewish musician who looked like him who had caught on with the mainstream. But after people got past his appearance, they noticed he's extremely talented.