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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Matisyahu Honored to Sing a Song for the Olympics [ESPN REPORT]

Matisyahu loves hockey and was honored to sing a song for the Olympics.

Matisyahu had no idea the hit he had on his hands when he penned his uplifting tune, "One Day."

It wasn't until the call came from NBC late last year that his anthem would serve to be the song that would lift hopeful Olympians, that he really connected the dots. Needless to say, it was a pretty big break for the 29-year-old Hasidic Jewish musician who sings reggae songs, as "One Day" was used in the network's "Countdown to Vancouver" promotional campaign which also featured several Olympic hopefuls, including Apolo Ohno, Lindsey Vonn and Shaun White.

Matisyahu recently performed twice at the festivities in Vancouver, British Columbia, and took a break to answer a few questions about how this song has changed his life, and why he ultimately decided not to pursue playing ice hockey professionally, and instead become a musician.

How was it performing at the Olympics?

"There was a moment I had where we were singing one day, playing one day and I looked out into the audience and saw all the different flags and different countries. I got this utopian feeling, even though everyone is coming together around sports. It was good to see so many different countries coming together. It was a beautiful thing, you know?"

So, did you write "One Day" with the Olympics in mind?

"I wrote the song one day, and I didn't have the Olympics in mind when I wrote the song. But I wrote it for that same kind of purpose. The fact that they're using it, to me, it made obvious sense, you know? It fits really well with the theme of the Olympics."

So do you have a theme song?

"In different times in my life, I had different songs that were forces for me. I think 'One Day' would be my theme song right now! Strangely, I don't listen to too much music, but I've been playing that song a lot: everyday, several times a day. That's my theme song for right now."

This was a large stage to play on, what's the reception been like since?

"When you're in it, you don't always notice until you step back. It's been great, it's been good. We've been going around and working the song and playing the song and getting it out there."

Does it shock you that this song connects with Olympians?

"Pretty much athletes in general, maybe it's a stereotype, but you think of them as healthy-minded individuals and holistic kind of people. It's a spiritual, wellness kind of thing. My music is in line with that lifestyle and that positive message. I've been out here kind of working and making music for about five years or so and there's still a lot of people that don't know about me, but I always pretty much find that every radio station we go to, I have some real die-hard fans. People are really inspired by the music."

Did you play any sports growing up?

"I grew up playing ice hockey, actually. I played basketball and lacrosse. I used to work on a mountain for a couple of years, so I snowboarded religiously for years. But hockey is my main sport. It's cool to follow along and watch America beating Canada and all of that. It's the best sport in the world. No question about it."

So what made you ultimately pick music over ice hockey? You said you were pretty good?

"I made that decision when I got kicked off my hockey team when I was 14 for being a pothead! That's when I decided to go with music. I had a little bit of a bad reputation in high school, and my hockey coach wasn't so into that. At the time it really crushed me, it was really hard for me. Around that same time, I started getting into music and listening to music and I decided I wanted to focus on music. I think it was a good thing. Right?"



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