Yesterday, the “One Day” singer Matisyahu posted a photo on Twitter which showed him with a clean-shaven face. The photo was accompanied by a message: “At the break of day I look for you at sunrise When the tide comes in I lose my disguise.” The lines come from the song “Thunder,” which can be found on Matisyahu’s 2009 album, Light.
In a subsequent blog entry on his official website, the man born Matthew Miller — he changed his name when he joined a Hasidic community and converted at age 19 — elaborated on his decision to, at least temporarily, face the world without facial foliage.
“This morning I posted a photo of myself on Twitter,” he wrote. “No more Chassidic reggae superstar. Sorry folks, all you get is me…no alias. When I started becoming religious 10 years ago it was a very natural and organic process. It was my choice. My journey to discover my roots and explore Jewish spirituality—not through books but through real life. At a certain point I felt the need to submit to a higher level of religiosity…to move away from my intuition and to accept an ultimate truth. I felt that in order to become a good person I needed rules—lots of them—or else I would somehow fall apart. I am reclaiming myself. Trusting my goodness and my divine mission. Get ready for an amazing year filled with music of rebirth. And for those concerned with my naked face, don’t worry…you haven’t seen the last of my facial hair.”
In another Twitter message, Matisyahu seemingly sought to reassure fans that his beardless state did not mean he had abandoned the Jewish faith: “For all those who are confused:today I went to the Mikva and Shul just like yesterday.”
Earlier this year, the singer told Billboard that he was working on two albums, a religious-minded set called Akedah: Teaching to Love and a hip-hop-flavored collaboration with producer Kool Kojak.
You can listen to “Thunder” below.