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Meet Matisyahu

by: Leslie Bunder and Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2006-05-23



Having sold the best part of a million copies of his latest album Youth, which has become the first major Jewish music crossover, Matisyahu is certainly getting out the word that frum is in fashion, beards are cool and wearing tzizit is something to be proud of, and not hidden away.

Last November saw him play his first London show, at the Scala in King's Cross, and yesterday Crown Heights' finest came back for more at the Hammersmith Palais, as part of his European tour, which also included Italy, Norway, Finland and Spain. We delve deep into some Matisyahu facts.

1. He is media-friendly, sharing the pages of lads' mag FHM US with the usual array of babes.

2. How does he keep kosher on the road? He visits the local Chabad House.

3. If he wasn't a musician, Matisyahu might have ended up as a professional basketball player given his height (6 foot 5) and also his background. His grandfather played for a team in the 1930s called the Detroit Clowns.

4. His full name is Matthew Paul Miller. After his Bris, everyone forgot what Hebrew name he was given, but when he became frum, he took on the name Matisyahu. A few years back, his secular parents discovered his original name on his Bris certificate, which was Feivish Herschel.

5. Sorry female fans, he's taken, with his wife Tahli, and their son Laivy.

6. His current album Youth is produced by the legendary Bill Laswell

7. He was signed to Jdub Records, who released his first two albums, as well as being managed by them. They are claiming he still has three years left on a four year management deal – perhaps they could turn to the Beth Din to settle the dispute?