Every once and a while an artist comes along that quite simply has it all. Matisyahu’s mastery of music is polished yet spontaneous, booming yet intimate, rooted yet soaring.
He seamlessly weaves timeless wisdom with fresh perspective, calls upon a great diversity of musical genres in order to deliver his ever-energizing rhythmic grooves, and through all this, transports his audience to a place where it deeply resonates that all the beauty we wish to see is completely within grasp.
I had a chance to talk to the Grammy nominated superstar about his current Broken Crowns Tour, which also features the band Common Kings, before they come to town for Tonight’s show.
Matisyahu is an artist who is extraordinarily talented, unabashedly himself, and who, for more than a decade, has encouraged the world in a very unsubtle (and downright danceable) way to dream bigger and to act on their inner truth. His music cuts through the listener — it makes them happy and promises to not only to be stuck in your head, but also in your heart.
While talking with Matisyahu, I kept finding myself trying to get to the core of it all. I wanted to uncover the secret sauce that fueled the vibrancy of his music. I wanted to know the moments that brought him the feelings of freedom he so masterfully translates into song.
In true Matisyahu fashion, even his most freeing moments remain humble.
“There are a lot of opportunities every day to tap into a moments of freedom and I think it’s mostly when you’re breaking habits — even like walking on a different part of your foot — I think the parts of my life where I felt the most free were when I was breaking out of bad habits, bad relationships, or bad patterns,” he said. “Freedom is in the small things.”
Throughout our conversation, we kept coming back to the spontaneity of life fueling some of it’s more interesting opportunities. Matisyahu recounted a moment from recent show:
“Between songs someone screamed, ‘Go back to your roots.’ I don’t even know what that means, really, but it inspired me,” Matisyahu said. “The opposition of his comment kind of inspired me to go further in the opposite direction. And that is what I needed because I needed to stop thinking about what people like, or what they want, or what I think they want, and just do what I do…. We were in the middle of a heavy dub and I just started repeating what he was saying with heavy delay on it, and different octaves, and then out of that, we went into a 20-minute jam, which ending up being a highlight of the night. And I used his comment, and started repeating ‘Go back to creation…’”
‘Ah, so a source of inspiration when you least expect it,’ I responded.
“Yea,” he agreed, “opposition can be a most inspiring force.”
Matisyahu’s path has been one of continual transformation. Transformation, which he wholly embraces.
“Part of where I’ve come to at this point and probably what people are most inspired by is embracing authenticity; being on this journey that people can relate to, and going through different phases, and places, and spaces,” he said. “And through all that, trying to remain true to yourself and your heart. I spent a long time focusing on ‘what’s real’ and the main thing for me is the music. The music is where I get my inspiration. I spent a long time searching and going after spiritual moments and then in the end, what it came to is the music itself.”
In a world where we are constantly bombarded with praises of the shallow, Matisyahu presents us with the picture-perfect definition of musical multidimensionality. Most impressively, he manages to deliver these messages of hope and higher living in a way that is refreshingly humble and authentically achieved.
Common Kings, whose music also tops the Billboard charts, also embrace their humble roots while simultaneously wowing audiences the world over.
The current Broken Crowns Tour promises to be a liberating feast for the ears and a rejuvenating pick-me-up for the spirit, which will undoubtedly feature irresistibly adventurous compositions that emphatically exude good vibes.
There are still tickets available for tonight’s not-to-be-missed show at the Norva. For more info, click here.