By Andrew Wroblewski
Judaism and reggae are not typically regarded as a common combination, but Matisyahu – Matthew Paul Miller – has managed to combine the two with success over his 14-year-long career in music.
The rapper from White Plains, N.Y., will take that combination – and what he said is the “real, authentic, inclusive experience” of his live shows – to The Paramount’s stage on Dec. 21.
“From a genre perspective my music is really a mix of things including aspects of reggae, hip hop and rock – it’s hard to classify,” Matisyahu said. “With my performances, I’m looking for more of a musical experience than a show… where we [the audience and I] are exploring the space, music and emotions. It makes for a very honest, raw and authentic performance.”
Matisyahu – the rapper’s Hebrew and stage name – said The Paramount is especially welcoming to the type of show he likes to put on, with its “intimate setting” that doesn’t give performers a place to “hide.”
“You have to expose yourself and connect with the people that are there,” he said.
Connecting with people is something Matisyahu accomplished over his career. Ever since his emergence onto the scene in 2004 with his first studio effort “Shake Off the Dust… Arise,” Matisyahu has been open with his fans about his personal life – including his embracing the Jewish religion, subsequent distancing from said religion, struggle with divorce and other changes in his life.
All of those changes, he said, culminated to form his fifth studio album, “Akeda,” which he is supporting with the “Festival Of Light” tour that dates back to June when the album was released.
“I went through a lot of changes… during the time [I made the album],” Matisyahu said. “With a lot of those changes came a feeling of freedom and a certain creative, newness that came into my spirit – as well as a lot of the after-effects and pain that came with making those changes.”
Upon its release, “Akeda” charted several times – including no. 36 on the Billboard 200 – and was praised for its sound, which in many ways is much different than the music Matisyahu has produced in the past. Anthems like “Champion,” raps like “Confidence” and hypnotic melodies like “Broken Car” will likely be heard at The Paramount on Dec. 21 once the show begins at 8 p.m.
Accompanying Matisyahu on stage will be Aaron Dugan (guitar) and the Dub Trio – consisting of Stu “Bassie” Brooks (bass guitar), Joe Tomino (drums) and D.P. Holmes (guitar). Each of the band members add their own sense of style to the show – such as Dugan’s ability to improvise and the Dub Trio’s method of “tapping into the simplicity of the music.”
“Regardless of the genre and style of the music… What I look for when creating a live music experience is the changing nature of the music,” Matisyahu said.
Tickets to see Matisyahu are available for $25-$55 from www.paramountny.com or at the box office at 370 New York Ave. in Huntington.