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Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympic glory for Matisyahu's 'One Day'

Commercials give Matisyahu's "One Day" wider exposure

After seemingly fading out from the mainstream music scene in recent years, Jewish reggae star Matisyahu is back in the spotlight thanks to the 2010 Winter Olympics.


Reggae artist Matisyahu kicks off a four-island concert tour in Honolulu on Thursday.
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His single "One Day," off the 2009 release "Light," has been used extensively in commercials for the Games, and Matisyahu himself flew to Canada to perform at concerts in Whistler and Vancouver this week. Those shows came on the heels of a trip last week to Israel, where he headlined a concert in Tel Aviv on Feb. 11.

Matisyahu kicks off a four-island concert tour at Pipeline Cafe on Thursday; he'll follow up with a Feb. 27 show on Kauai, Feb. 28 show on Maui and March 1 performance on the Big Island.

The Star-Bulletin caught up with the singer Tuesday, minutes after he landed in Colorado. He said he had "about six more stops" before arriving in Honolulu next week.


With local openers the Throwdowns:
Where: Pipeline Cafe, 805 Pohu- kaina St.

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Cost: $29 and $65

Info: 589-1999 or

Web site:

"The whole idea of moving beyond for a higher cause is a good idea. To have a song that speaks to that idea is a good thing (because) the Olympics is about more than just sports."

QUESTION: Before "Light" came out last year, it really seemed like you disappeared from the music scene for a bit.
ANSWER: I guess you could say that. I basically kept doing the same stuff. I think that's the way it goes for the most part -- it's like a wave. I took about a year off to record my record ... (and) I continued to play shows, mostly in America.

Q: What do you think of American television network NBC using your song "One Day" to help promote the 2010 Winter Olympics?

A: I think it's a cool thing to be a part of, (and) that countries can come together even though they have squabbles and might not always get along. The whole idea of moving beyond for a higher cause is a good idea. To have a song that speaks to that idea is a good thing (because) the Olympics is about more than just sports.

Q: Your appearance in Canada came just a few days after you performed in Israel. What was that like?

A: It was a pretty cool experience. Israel is a place that's close to home for me. I feel very connected to it, so it's great to get in there (and perform).

At the same time it's its own place -- a lot of American Jews have a sort of nostalgia for Israel, but it also has its own culture.

For me it's been more about trying to connect with Israeli people and to kind of get a feel for the inside of Israeli culture.

Q: I read that you also performed with Infected Mushroom, who released an electronic remix of "One Day."

A: They're America-based, and they're really pretty popular around the electronic scene.

I saw them perform at a festival in Baltimore a few years ago and ended up sitting in with them, and we ended up staying in touch.

That remix is No. 1 on radio in Israel right now, so I think it was a good move.

Q: Are you satisfied with the overall reaction by fans and critics to "Light"? How does this album compare to "Youth"?

A: They're a little bit different. I would say it's just a continued evolution of my sound -- as a songwriter, lyrically, musically and production-wise.

Everything is a step further than the last album. The songs are a little more crafted. I spent more time on the writing process and the recording process, (and) I feel you get that when you listen to the record, for better or worse.


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