You may remember Matisyahu in 2006 as a breakout on the reggae and alternative rock scenes with his hit “King Without a Crown.” His knack for inspiring optimism quickly became the anthem of the summer, and before long, we were all kind of wishing we could beatbox and scat like him. With his Orthodox Jewish style, spiritual lyrics, and all-around unique persona, Matisyahu was a genre all on his own. Naturally, when he posted a picture of himself with a buzz cut and beardless on Twitter last December, fans were shocked to say the least.
When we spoke on the phone, I asked him what brought on the change in his appearance, and he explained, “It was time for me to just make a change in life. I knew what the change had to be. The beard was a physical representation of that.” As far as any backlash for his decision, he says, “I don’t really respond to it. It’s my own personal choice, even though I’m a public figure to some extent. But those personal choices are between me and God.” He’s been on tour for the past five months and writing some new material on the side. But for the most part, it’s been all about the live shows for Matisyahu. He’s playing at House of Blues tonight at 8 p.m. with support from The Constellations.
FrontRow: What time do you usually go to sleep?
Matisyahu: Well, when I’m on tour, anytime between one and four in the morning.
FR: If you could choose anyone to be leader of the free world, who would it be?
Matisyahu: Living or dead? I guess maybe Moses.
FR: What are your thoughts on youth culture being commercialized?
Matisyahu: I don’t think about it too much.
FR: If you could choose anyone in the world as your life partner, who would it be and why?
Matisyahu: I’d rather not answer that one.
FR: What instrument do you wish you played?
Matisyahu: Yeah, I wish I played every instrument. I like the piano, I think it’s pretty.
FR: What do you dread most about performing?
Matisyahu: I dread not being authentic.
FR: Who would you want to tour with most, who you’ve never toured with before?
FR: If you weren’t playing music and had the talent and circumstances to do anything else, what would it be?
Matisyahu: I’d play ice hockey. I’m a huge fan. The Kings are my favorite team.
FR: What are your thoughts on the theory of evolution and natural selection?
Matisyahu: I think it’s important for every person to evolve.
FR: If global warming melted the ice caps and flooded most of the world with water, what city do you hope would be spared so you could live there?
Matisyahu: New York.
FR: What is the best thing (food/substance/drink/thing) you’ve ever tried?
Matisyahu: The best thing I’ve ever tried? LSD. I think probably the most monumental moments of my life were on hallucinogens, maybe.
FR: If in the future, technology allowed us to live out our lives in a virtual reality like in The Matrix, would you want to do it?
Matisyahu: No, I think we have to live life as real as we can.