Matisyahu to play at Music Box

Matisyahu takes pride in being authentic with his music.
Photo courtesy of Nechama Leitner

Reggae artist shares the methods behind his madness ahead of his upcoming San Diego show 

Kelly Kennedy | Managing Editor | The USD Vista

Anderson Haigler | Arts and Culture Editor | The USD Vista

Reggae artist Matisyahu has been a busy man since the release of his 2009 breakout hit, “One Day.”  The Jewish-American singer has since shed his signature beard and formal attire in favor of a more mainstream look, desipite his music maintaining the alternative sound he is known for.  He is currently touring the US, and is set to make a stop on Nov. 10. at Music Box in downtown San Diego. The show is ages 21 and over only, and doors open at  9 p.m.

 Matisyahu recently  shared what fans should expect from his upcoming show.

“When I’m doing my show, I like to mix up the flow and I won’t write a setlist,” Matisyahu said.  “However, I have a sense of a lot of the songs that we’ve been playing and what we’ve been working on. And as the show is unraveling, I sort of instinctively will feel a song and think through the songs and what is a good direction to go.”

His direction is often dictated by what the audience wants to hear.

“Sometimes, I might be jamming and feel very loose and I can do something that people will really remember or something that people will get excited about to pull the audience in,” Matisyahu said. “Sometimes, I want to go more in ‘that’ direction or ‘this’ direction, it all depends; there are a lot of different factors that go into it. I try to choose the songs that go into [a show] from a more instinctive place like what the right vibe is for the next moment of the show, and where the show needs to go.”

The tour has also led Matisyahu in new directions musically. 

“When we start out our show, it’s like a blank canvas,“ Matisyahu said. “One thing that we’re doing on this tour is a lot of times during soundcheck we have time to rehearse. Once the tour has gotten into a nice fluid motion, and all the levels and the sound is going well, we can use that time to work on new material. A lot of times, I’ve been going back to older songs and bringing them back up.” 

He also explained how his music has evolved over the course of his career. 

“Over the years, I’ve done a lot of different versions of a song, for example we just did this with the song ‘Indestructible’ on the Youth record,” Matisyahu said. “I’ve redone that song like four or five times over the years depending on my band and the style and what direction I was leaning. But then every few years, I like to go back and find a song and try to replay it how I originally did it and then build from it again.”

Above all, though, he places an emphasis on staying true to himself and his music.

“On a nightly basis, even though there’s different pressures around you or different pressures of what fans might want or what you think fans might want, but what I have to do when I get out on stage is try to forget about all of that and be authentic with myself, my feelings of the music, and the tools I have,” he said.  

This dedication to authenticity is evident in his music as his style has endured througout his musical career. 

Fans of Matisyahu and his music are sure to be in for a treat as the artist and his eccentric style come to San Diego in November. 

Tickets for the show start at $40 for a general admission ticket.