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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Matisyahu Seeking New Fans On 311 Tour

Matisyahu Seeking New Fans On 311 Tour

May 15, 2007, 10:55 AM ET
John Benson, Cleveland

Matisyahu admits that when his manager first suggested a summer tour opening for 311, the Brooklyn-based reggae rapper wasn't sure it was such a good idea.

"My manager said, 'No, you don't understand, they have 10,000 to 15,000 that they draw in every market across America,'" he tells Billboard.com. "Supposedly they have a huge draw, even bigger than mine. We don't have a record out or a single out on the radio, so we can do a headlining tour and play in front of our same fans, or we can go out with a band that has fans that probably would dig my music that might not know of me and try to get in front of some new people.

With a new band lineup, the 27-year-old devoutly Jewish artist is looking forward to reinterpreting much of his catalog with new musicianship on the upcoming touring leg, which begins in early June with a handful of dates in Europe, Hawaii and Alaska before joining 311 until the end of August.

The set list could feature a few covers, including his version of the Police's "Message in a Bottle" and his take of John Lennon's "Watching the Wheels," which he recorded for the upcoming album "Instant Karma: The Campaign to Save Darfur."

As for the follow-up to 2006's "Youth," there are ideas for new songs floating around. One such track is currently titled "Dream Awake," which could see stage time this summer.

"The real record will come out probably next spring or so," Matisyahu says. "I've been really focused the last six months, spending my time on trying to just develop the content and the idea of the record, before we go into the studio, which is a lot different than I've done it before. Before, I've just kind of listened to some music and let my free association kind of take over and just write whatever is on my mind. This I'm kind of planning out much more."

Currently that planning revolves around Matisyahu studying the psychedelic works of Rabbi Nachman. "Right now, I really haven't started with the music yet, which is why it's different for me," Matisyahu says. "Usually it's music first and then the lyrics come. But I'm trying to really spend this time in developing the content and developing the story and the outline for the record because I want it to be a real theme-driven record."

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