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Matisyahu Finds "Light" Of New Directions

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Sunday, December 6, 2009

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With its hip-hop and electronic experiments, Matisyahu’s third studio album, “Light,” casts the Hassidic New York artist in a different, well, light than fans have heard him before. And that, he says, is by design.

“When I really started out, reggae music was the most fundamental music for me in terms of as a vocalist and my influence,” notes Matisyahu, 30, who was born Matthew Paul Miller in West Chester, N.Y., and came to fame in 2006 when the single “King Without a Crown” hit the Top 10 of Billboard’s Modern Rock chart.

“Over the past three or four years, I’ve really gotten into a lot of different styles of music, a lot of other things. You hear something, and you say, ‘That’s awesome. Why am I not doing that?’ and then you go try to do it yourself.”

“Light,” which debuted at No. 19 on the Billboard 200 chart after its late August release, teamed Matisyahu with cutting-edge producers such as Stephen McGregor and the team of Eric Krasono & Adam Deitch — the latter of which produced the single “One Day.” Fortunately, he says, those meetings were more collaborations than collisions.

“I went in and just took my message, the consciousness and the lyrics, and tried to make a song that is really sort of anthemic, with organic instruments and a big, massive hip-hop beat behind it and vocals stacked on top of each other,” Matisyahu explains. “I was looking for a powerful, real hooky kind of song, and I feel we pretty much accomplished that.

“And I had a good time, too.”

Matisyahu and the Dub Trio perform Monday (Dec. 7) at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call (313) 961-6358 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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