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Matisyahu goes acoustic, finds his ‘spark’

Reggae artist Matisyahu strips down his music and touring in support of his latest EP, “Spark Seeker: The Acoustic EP.”
Reggae artist Matisyahu strips down his music and touring in support of his latest EP, “Spark Seeker: The Acoustic EP.”
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Matisyahu enjoys the simplicities in life. Whether it’s in his lifestyle or in his music, that’s one element that is key.

“I enjoy living as simple and as full as I can,” he says during a recent phone interview from New York City. “When it comes to music, I like to play acoustic concerts and I like to make acoustic music.”

With that in mind, Matisyahu has embarked on An Acoustic Evening With Matisyahu tour. The tour features many of the musician’s songs stripped down. It also promotes his “Spark Seeker: The Acoustic EP,” which will be out on Tuesday.

Known for blending traditional Jewish themes with reggae, rock and hip-hop beatboxing sounds, Matisyahu’s 2005 single “King Without a Crown” was a Top 40 hit in the United States. Since 2004, he has released four studio albums.

Matisyahu, who was born Matthew Paul Miller, says after releasing his album, “Spark Seeker” in July, he wanted to experiment with doing an acoustic album.

An Acoustic Evening with Matisyahu
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31
WHERE: Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211 W. San Francisco, Santa Fe
HOW MUCH: $29-$47 at www.ticketssantafe.org or 505-988-1234

“During the promotion tour for the album, I would do a couple acoustic songs in the set,” he explains. “As it progressed we began to record these songs and ultimately, that’s what led to my releasing an acoustic album.”

Matisyahu says the tour is a chance for him to get to know his fans.

“So many times, I get up on stage and just perform,” he says. “This actually gives me a chance to have a conversation with the audience and listen to what they have to say. Nothing is written or rehearsed. I go in there and start the conversation with them and it flows.”

Although a new EP is coming out, Matisyahu says he has already begun writing in his journal for new music.

“There are a lot of lyrics that are coming out of this process,” he explains. “I write in the journal to get ideas out of my head. As I begin to get closer to making music, I’ll rewrite a lot of the ideas I want to keep and it will go from there. It’s an intensive process and I enjoy getting my thoughts out into a different avenue.”

For most of his career, Matisyahu was known for his long beard and hat, so when he took to Twitter late last year to post a picture of himself with his clean-shaven new look, he did it with a certain amount of relief.

“It just felt good to sort of restart everything,” he says.

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