Above the Politics and Poised for California:
Inner Zen, Traveling with the Family and New Horizons with Matisyahu

Words by Allie Mason

Montreal, QC — You have to let me in there, a mans voice said in the background as I waited in almost pure silence, hearing only occasional small breathes. I’m expecting a phone call, shutters in the through the air.

A few seconds later, Matisyahu took a hold of the phone and explained that his four-and-a-half-year-old, who is traveling with his father for summer dates, has a tendency to answer his phone calls.

It’s been a big year for Matisyahu. Not only is he touring North America with his kids, he’s also working on a couple of different projects, including a new album, all while becoming a father for the third time this spring. Matis and his wife welcomed their third son into the world this April.

Matisyahu loves having his boys on tour with him, but balancing kids, a vegan, a kosher diet, writing and performing music, while connecting with fans at the same time is challenging. He keeps it together by meditating. I like to have some place to put my mind in terms of what I’m thinking of and what I’m working on, Matisyahu explained. I figured that this summer I would take a shot at trying to share it with people [by posting the meditations on his website].

Matisyahu’s approach to connecting with fans is both traditional and innovative “just like his music. He still tours, records and does interviews, but he also reaches out to his fans through his website, Twitter and Facebook. It’s a direct way to connect with people, he said, agreeing that media like Twitter and Facebook have the potential to reach fans that he might not have connected with otherwise.

During our interview, Matisyahu was getting ready for his show at the Music Farm in Charleston, South Carolina. Having dodged the wrath of Hurricane Irene, he and his team are still energized and positive about the rest of the tour.

Thus far it’s been a really long tour, it’s been a lot of shows, and it’s been a lot of fun, said Matisyahu. We’ve had a great time. I don’t see that changing.

After almost a decade in the game, Matisyahu’s inspiration comes and goes in different forms and intensities, but his reason for making music has stayed the same.

The main thing for me about making music is just that it’s really what I love to do and what sort of comes natural to me, he explained. The thing that I feel I enjoy is the thing that I felt I was meant to do. That’s the most important thing in a certain sense “just doing what feels right.”

Staying true to his roots, Matisyahu continues to inspire his fans with spiritual and uplifting songs. Though he recognizes the politics some might associate with his music, he disagrees. Politics is dealing with very specific people and specific situations and I think my music is really more open, he said. Music is a creative thing it’s not a political thing. It’s not a conversation – it’s a song. I feel like that’s much more important.

Just as inspiration changes during the song-writing process, it also evolves during performance. The songs themselves are inspired by ideas and every night when I sing them I’m not necessarily always able to immerse myself in that moment where I’m reliving the inspiration from when I wrote the song, he offered. Inspiration changes based on the place, the mood, how I’m feeling, how the music is going. You know, all those different things are effecting the outcome of what’s happening during the music.

And it seems Matisyahu is nothing short of inspired. The music and lyrics are flowing for his fourth studio album, which he will be completing in California after he finishes touring.

I’m moving to California and the producer that I’m working with is from California, so I’ll be finishing it up there, he said.

His new record is being produced by Kool Kojak, who has worked with a host of hit-makers like Three 6 Mafia, Warren G, Katy Perry, and more. The album is currently untitled, but Matisyahu expects that it will be released early next year. However, before he can finish the record, he’s got to finish the tour.

North of the border, he performed to a sold out crowd at Club Soda in Montreal, Quebec on September 6, and in Toronto at the Phoenix Concert Theatre on September 7. After that, Matisyahu and his team have one last show in Minnesota before having three weeks off.

Ther’re sort of wrapping up, we’ve got a couple more weeks and we’re sort of on the tail end, he said, with a sense of relief. And then I’m just moving on with the next thing, finishing up the record pretty much. That’s the next feat.


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