Matisyahu was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania as Matthew Miller; his family eventually settled in White Plains, New York. He also has a younger sister named Julie. He was brought up a Reconstructionist Jew, and attended Hebrew school at Bet Am Shalom, a synagogue located in White Plains. He performed for over a year under the alias MC Truth in Bend, Oregon's Soulfori band. He spent some time as a young man as a self-professed "Phish-head," taking hallucinogens and following the rock band Phish on tour. In 1996, Matisyahu took part in a semester-long program that offers students first-hand exploration of Jewish heritage at the Alexander Muss High School in Hod Hasharon, Israel. His experiences there significantly affected his feelings towards Judaism eventually leading to his decision to adopt Orthodox Judaism, becoming a Baal Teshuva around 2001. Initially he found his way to the Carlebach Shul on the West Side of Manhattan. Matisyahu then found his way to Chabad of Washington Square. He finished high school at a wilderness program in Bend, Oregon. Matisyahu then began playing with the Jewish band Pey Dalid. From 2001 through July 2007, Matisyahu was affiliated with the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic community in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York. However, as of July 17, 2007, he told the Miami New Times in an interview that he no longer "necessarily" identifies with the Lubavitch movement. In the interview, he stated that "...the more I'm learning about other types of Jews, I don't want to exclude myself. I felt boxed in. "Additionally, in the fall of 2007, while on a family vacation spent primarily in Jerusalem's Nachlaot neighborhood, he expressed interest in another Hasidic sect, that of Karlin. As of November 2007 he has confirmed a preference to pray at the Karliner synagogue in Boro Park where the custom is to ecstatically scream prayers; however he continues to reside in Crown Heights because of his wife's affinity for the community. Soon after his adoption of hasidism, Matisyahu began studying Torah at Hadar Hatorah, a yeshiva for returnees to Judaism where he wrote and recorded his first album. He counts Bob Marley, Phish, God Street Wine and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach among his musical inspirations and gives credit to Rabbi Simon Jacobson's book Toward a Meaningful Life for the lyrical inspiration to Youth's title track. As part of his faith, he does not perform in concert on Friday nights in observance of the Jewish Sabbath. An exception to this occurred at a 2007 concert in Fairbanks, Alaska, which was allowed because the sun didn't set until 2:00 a.m. Matisyahu's wife's name is Tahlia; They have two sons. As of late 2010, Matisyahu and his wife are vegans.
An uplifting pop gem arriving just in time for the holiday, "Miracle," produced by Dr. Luke protégé Kool Kojak (Flo Rida, Katy Perry, Ke$ha), is drenched in a joyful spirit and features chiming synths, bouncing beats and an irresistible chorus.
Matisyahu says, "There are so many Christmas songs out there. I wanted to give the Jewish kids something to be proud of. We've got Adam Sandler's song, which is hilarious, but I wanted to try to get across some of the depth and spirituality inherent in the holiday in a fun, celebratory song. My boy Kojak was in town so at the last minute we went into the studio in the spirit of miracles and underdogs and this is what we came up with. Happy Hannukah!"