Matisyahu is a true original: a Hasidic Jewish musician from New York City singing reggae songs about his religious devotion. Youth, Matisyahu's Grammy-nominated 2006 studio disc, hit the top spot on Billboard's reggae albums chart.
With his bold new album, Light, 29-year-old Matisyahu proves that there's much more to his artistry than might initially meet the eye. "As my musical tastes have grown I have been re-discovering my sound and my voice," he says. While reggae is far from absent here--see the old-school toasting in "Motivate"--Light finds Matisyahu edging away from his comfort zone into more daring territory.
Produced by David Kahne (Paul McCartney, Sublime, the Strokes), Light is anything but safe. The 14-track collection covers a dizzying amount of stylistic ground, from hard-edged dancehall ("Smash Lies") and ska-inflected New Wave ("We Will Walk") to laidback pop-rock ("So Hi So Lo") and acoustic folk-soul ("I Will Be the Light"). "Being an artist is about being sensitive to how the world resonates inside you and then being able to express it," he says. "This process is an ever-changing one."
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