Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-11-07
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

MUSIC Matisyahu talks new CD, religion, LGBTs
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-12-08

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Matisyahu ( nee Matthew Paul Miller ) definitely made an impression when the public got to know him more than a decade ago.

Not only did was he an Orthodox Jew who adhered to the tradition of wearing a long beard, etc., but he blended religion-based themes with musical genres such as hip-hop and reggae—but he produced several hits, including "King Without a Crown," a Top 40 hit.

Since then, he was undergone spiritual and musical evolutions/rebirths, including shaving the famed beard. He recently talked over the phone about his newest CD, Undercurrent, as well as the changes in his life.

Windy City Times: I remember you from around 2005—and you were quite different from artists I had heard and seen, although I thought you were quite talented. Being different, were you hesitant about entering the public world of music?

Matisyahu: Yeah—I've always been a little eccentric. I wasn't raised in a Hasidic neighborhood; I went to public school and grew up listening to regular music.

When I decided to go into music as my life's work, that was one thing. But at the same time, I went through this transformation in my life and got into the whole Hasidic thing. I found a real meeting point between those two cultures due to music, but I was also about who I was.

So when I started out, I didn't give much thought about how difficult it would be or if it would work. I had performed on many open-mic nights just as a regular-looking white college kid. People would hear me sing and rap, and they would flip out; they were surprised. ( It was around the time of Eminem, in the late '90s. ) As I started to get into Judaism, I figured this would have a huge impact on people.

WCT: Yes, and it seems like you've had one of the most public beard-shavings in history.

M: Yes, and it was also because I had a long beard before most people did, in 2003-04. For fans who had been following me and seeing the [gradual] evolution, it wasn't so surprising. But for people who knew me as one thing and then saw me [suddenly] as something else, it was a surprise.

WCT: So Windy City Times is an LGBT newspaper. I'm not sure if you knew that. [Note: WCT made arrangements with Matisyahu's team to let him know ahead of time.]

M: Hmmm.... I did not know that. It's interesting though because, in a few weeks, I'm doing a show for the LGBT community. I'm doing a show for the Orthodox Jewish LGBT community. There has been some old-school backward thinking.

WCT: And some people might think that you shouldn't recognize LGBT rights if you truly adhere to your religion.

M: Yeah, I know. At this point, I don't identify as anything Hasidic or Orthodox. I'm a huge supporter of the community and of people following their truth.

It is true that within the tenets of Orthodox Judaism, that being [LGBT] is not accepted—and that was a big problem for me. There were three or four points that I had to accept that I just couldn't.

WCT: What was it like working with [gay Orthodox Jewish rapper] Y-Love?

M: Yeah—I haven't worked with him in a while. I knew him a long time ago. Actually, one of the first shows I did, in Washington Square Park for a rabbi, he stumbled in and we rapped together. But we haven't seen each other very much since then.

WCT: Let's talk about Undercurrent. Tell me about the title.

M: Well, I moved from L.A. back to New York, by the Hudson River. I spent a lot of time writing this record just looking out over the river, looking at the imagery—and I used the imagery in my lyrics. The theme is about the currents just below the surface that pull us in different directions.

WCT: Are you talking political, emotional or other types of undercurrents?

M: Not political—more emotional, more personal...

WCT: Where you do feel your spiritual evolution has brought you now?

M: I feel like I've come to a place where I have a nice balance between the principles and ethics I was raised with [as well as] the knowledge of my culture and religion, and my self-knowledge. I'm a lot more relaxed than I was years ago, more accepting of myself and those around me, and more appreciative of things.

WCT: I understand you worked with a woman for the first time last year. Is that true?

M: I worked with Judith Hill on a song called "Daddy's Girl" that was never released. It's a beautiful song. And I worked with a pair of women [Salt Cathedral] who sang backup on [the EP Release the Bound, per Observer.com].

[Working with women] was something else that was frowned upon, according to Orthodox Judaism; women are not allowed to sing publicly. Again, it's an archaic and totally ridiculous rule. I missed some great opportunities because of religion—but I have evolved.

WCT: Over the years, what's the biggest change you've seen in the music industry?

M: The music industry has changed tremendously because of the internet. I caught it at the end of the old-school business, when radio was the only way to market songs. Now, it's just as important to get on the playlists on Spotify. There are a lot more ways to expose people to your music. However, people do tend to work independently and you can't have those music-label collaborations—but, now, people have more control over their music.

Matisyahu will perform with Common Kings at Concord Music Hall, 2047 N. Milwaukee Ave., on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 9 p.m. Admisison is $30 each; visit Ticketfly.com .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Amy Ray on new album, acceptance and rock 'n' roll 2018-11-12 - Indigo Girl Amy Ray's September release, Holler, is a rich mixture of folk, Southern rock, mountain music, bluegrass and gospel, with her characteristic ...


Gay News

Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles to honor Stonewall, LGBTQ history 2018-11-09 - It may be a difficult, shaky time for equality right now, but Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles continues to play on, promoting positivity and ...


Gay News

Olly Alexander, Out British singer on band, queer artists 2018-11-07 - British pop band Years and Years is composed of Olly Alexander, Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Turkmen. Their sound is mix of electronic, pop ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Streisand, GLAAD book, Spice Girls, Boy Erased, Rhapsody 2018-11-06 - Barbra Streisand has released an LGBTQ anthem that doubles as a statement against President Trump, NewNowNext.com reported. The legendary singer's latest album, Walls, ...


Gay News

Measure for Measure, Chicago Sinfonietta, Swing Shift Orchestra and more 2018-11-05 - The Hindu celebration of Diwali, the five-day festival of lights, will be marked by the Chicago Sinfonietta with concerts in Naperville ( Nov. ...


Gay News

'Lion King' musical auditions Nov. 10-11 2018-11-05 - There will be adult singer, adult dancer and children's auditions for Disney's The Lion King musical Nov. 10-11 at Hubbard Street Dance, 1147 ...


Gay News

Festival celebrates queer punk rock for people of color 2018-10-31 - On Oct. 20, the Black, Brown, and Indigenous Collection presented the 2018 edition of "Will It Explode?," an annual festival celebrating queer punk ...


Gay News

Measure for Measure, classical music in Chicago 2018-10-31 - As part of its newly expanded arts coverage, Windy City Times is resuming Measure for Measure, a monthly digest of news about classical ...


Gay News

pronoun talks about name, breakups 2018-10-31 - Out singer Alyse Vellturo ( aka pronoun ) is attempting to outdo her counterparts—and going by the name pronoun is just the start. ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ: Jamie Lee Curtis, Latifah, Jim Parsons, 'Heathers' 2018-10-30 - Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis revealed to People magazine that she struggled with an opioid addiction she kept secret from the world since ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.