Matisyahu performs at The Ridgefield Playhouse
Matisyahu, the singer-songwriter known for his infectious mix of reggae, hip-hop and soul, brings his tour to The Ridgefield Playhouse, Thursday, Dec. 26. This Grammy-nominated artist, who has performed around the globe, is returning with a community of like-minded musicians to celebrate unity and transcend barriers.
Born Matthew Paul Miller, Matisyahu, who is Jewish, grew up in White Plains, N.Y., and adopted his Hebrew name. He has said music is a way to express the most intimate and meaningful aspects of life. His performances often showcase a raw expression of spirituality, and Esquire has called him “the most intriguing reggae artist in the world.”
“One Day” and “King Without a Crown” are among his hits. “One Day,” which was used by NBC in advertisements for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, speaks to something we all face — the challenge of keeping positive in a difficult world. Matisyahu sings: “Sometimes in my tears I drown. / But I never let it get me down. / So when negativity surrounds, / I know some day it’ll all turn around.”
“In terms of ‘One Day’ and staying positive, I try my best to focus on being thankful for the things in my life and the people in my life,” Matisyahu says. “I find being thankful and having a positive impact on the world go hand-in-hand.” The artist shared more via email.
What happens at this concert: “In terms of what people can expect from the Matisyahu show, I will be playing songs from all of my various albums. There is also a heavy emphasis on the improvisational element of music. This keeps the music fresh for everyone and creates a unique experience at every show. The players I will be making music with are experts at this type of creating.”
About his music: “I always have a difficult time describing my music when people ask me. I would say it is a mix of reggae hip-hop and rock, though that doesn’t help very much. The music definitely has a spiritual tilt. In terms of inspiration, I find most of my inspiration from the people around me: my wife, my kids, my band mates. I am also inspired by the music that I listen to and in self-reflection.”
Something he’s always counted on: Music has always been an extremely important element of my life. It has been many different things to me at many different times. Mainly though it has been a friend and teacher in my times of need.”
Music was a friend to Matisyahu and ukulele player Clint Alama back in 2016, when their paths happened to cross at a Maui coffee shop. Alama was singing “One Day,” so the star joined in. Their spontaneous duet was videotaped by Matisyahu’s bassist; now it has millions of YouTube views. Alama didn’t recognize his musical hero at first, but certainly was delighted in the end. As was Matisyahu.
“The coffee shop performance was really cool in that, this type of thing reminds us how amazing this world can be,” Matisyahu says. “For example when I was just 17 I was following a band named Phish around the country and playing my drum in the parking lot — fast forward five years and I was on the main stage at Bonnaroo performing with the lead guitar player of that band. The universe can be an amazing place sometimes.”
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