Matishyahu is the most recent artist to stream his album a week early on Pandora Radio for their “Pandora Premieres” program. Yesterday was the first time there was a live listening event exclusively for a limited amount of fans and employees to coincide with the premiere, and I was happy to be apart of it’s inception.
Post onsite @askmatisyahu Twitter chat taking place in a separate room in Pandora with Twitter Head of Artist Relations, Nicole St. Jean, we reconvened in their meeting area charmingly called the “Hollywood Bowl.” In typical Third Floor Radio “Back to the Future” interview fashion, we took a journey to his past starting by discussing Matisyahu’s humble beginnings performing and creating music at age 6 to the process of getting to record and release his first album in 2004, ten years ago to his current release week. Revealing his genuine sense of humor throughout the interview, he describes the past ten years as what seems like “twenty years.” Matisyahu not only explains the meaning of the album title, “Akeda,” which means “binding” in Hebrew but also describes in detail the album artwork projected behind us which was picked from hundreds of fan interpreted entries that were submitted. He joked about the man pictured having large hands like several of his former mentors and teachers.
Pandora Radio fans and employees were treated to an early preview of 6 tracks recorded for “Akeda,” brand new songs that were not previously released as YouTube lyric videos or available to purchase as his singles. He details the creation of each track and shares information behind the live musicians on the various songs that leave the audience intrigued and wanting to hear more or inspired to hear the entire album on Pandora Premieres. The drum heavy song “Champion” will be heard frequently as the World Cup soccer games begin. At the end of the listening, we opened up the floor to fun questions about listening to his own Pandora radio station, his shaved beard, eclectic range of musical influences and his past life as a “Phish” head (traveling to various cities to see the band perform) that he jokingly “doesn’t recall to well.”
It’s rare occasion that artists of Matisyahu’s caliber allow fans to listen and talk about their new music in an intimate environment, at times he walked away as people listened. We teased together about the vulnerability the environment provides, but at the same time if you are one of the lucky ones to be apart of, a beautiful thing to hear and see. Looking forward to hearing more what Pandora has up their sleeve. As Matisyahu said, “they are the only radio station playing my music!” – capturing the sentiment of thousands of supportive artists who feel the same way. “Akeda” will be available for purchase 6/3 but until then you can stream it early HERE.
Special thanks to Victoria, Ben, Sabrina, Sam & the awesome Pandora Radio team for helping put this event together alongside Matisyahu, Jeff, Mom & son who shared in the experience as well, generously posing for pictures post session.
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