Matisyahu appeared almost unrecognisable after posting a clean-shaven photograph of himself on Twitter this week. The Hasidic Jewish reggae artist was known for his long shaggy beard, but it appears he is keen to make a fresh start for 2012.
After posting the image to his 1.3 million followers, the singer cryptically wrote, "At the break of day I look for you at sunrise When the tide comes in I lose my disguise". He later explained his decision to go clean-cut in a lengthier blog post on his website, saying, "No more Chassidic reggae superstar. Sorry folks, all you get is me.no alias.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". The singer went on to speak of a religious journey and his need to reclaim his own identity. Brought up as a Reconstructionist Jew, Matisyahu later adopted Hasidism. As part of his faith, he does not perform concerts on Friday evenings (in observance of the Jewish Sabbath), but made an exception at a 2007 gig in Alaska because the sun did not set until 2.00am. He has two albums in the works for 2012, firstly the concept record 'Akedah: Teaching to Love', based on the biblical story of Abraham preparing his son Isaac for sacrifice to God. Secondly, he is readying the release of a more hip-hop oriented album which he described to Billboard.com as more 'Top 40' than alternative.
Matisyahu's 2006 hit record 'Youth' was certified gold by the Riaa after selling over half-a-million copies in the United States.