Over the course of his pop-reggae career, Matisyahu has been closely tied to his image, which is one of the most unusual around. He's quite outspoken about his Hasidic faith, and his appearance follows suit. This sort of artistry lends well to the yearly Jewish festival Fedstock in Boca Raton, which he headlined last year.
In his interview with Monica Uszerowicz, he spoke of this stage of his career ushering in "a certain appreciation for life, for living simple, for getting in touch with God and staying centered."
As far as we know, nothing has changed in that respect -- except that Update: Everything has changed. One of the key tenets of Hasidic Judaism, based upon Leviticus 19:27, is that you don't cut off your beard. But that's exactly what he has done. "At the break of day I look for you at sunrise When the tide comes in I lose my disguise," he wrote in a tweet posted Tuesday morning. And here are two photographs he added:
As it turns out, this is definitely a religious choice:
This morning I posted a photo of myself on Twitter.
No more Chassidic reggae superstar.
Sorry folks, all you get is me...no alias. When I started becoming religious 10 years ago it was a very natural and organic process. It was my choice. My journey to discover my roots and explore Jewish spirituality--not through books but through real life. At a certain point I felt the need to submit to a higher level of religiosity...to move away from my intuition and to accept an ultimate truth. I felt that in order to become a good person I needed rules--lots of them--or else I would somehow fall apart. I am reclaiming myself. Trusting my goodness and my divine mission.
Get ready for an amazing year filled with music of rebirth. And for those concerned with my naked face, don't worry...you haven't seen the last of my facial hair.
Anyhow, this whole bit of hair-chopping -- which any happily bearded man (or lady) will greet with a certain level of dismay -- has a local tie.
A few weeks back we discovered that Matisyahu, born Matthew Miller, is doing a special engagement at West Palm Beach's Kravis Center for the Performing Arts on December 29. Given that the guy comes down here at least a couple times a year, that's not too surprising, but he's billing this as an acoustic show -- and a Q&A is set to follow.
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We can bet that the first question won't be regarding what he got for Hanukkah -- although he might have gotten something from Norelco.
Matisyahu. 8 p.m. Thursday, December 29 at Kravis Center for the Performing Arts - Dreyfoos Hall, 701 Okeechobee Boulevard, West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $25 to $75. Click here.