The now clean-shaven reggae superstar Matisyahu has written a letter to fans explaining his decision to cut off his signature beard and revealing the Jewish influences behind his latest record.
"There was a time when I felt it was necessary to show the world what I believed in through my physical appearance," he wrote, six months after he shaved in an apparent rejection of his Chasidic beliefs.
"As my faith has evolved I have come to believe there are many other ways to show my spirituality and Judaism."
In the message, posted on his website, he said that while record i ng his new album "Spark Seeker", he began to feel that he was "shedding something".
He wrote: "With that I chose to shave. Just as when I was 18 and I shaved my dreadlocks to let go of my identity, I felt as if I was returning to a time prior to religion or rules or right and wrong. To a place where truth shows itself in beauty and balance and I felt it was time to walk a new path."
Matisyahu added that he was still "figuring out" the nature of his faith, but said: "To those who feel betrayed by my choices or my look, don't worry, I think they will continue to change and evolve-that is the awesomeness of life.
"I think that through patience, in time you will see we are still on the same team."
He said that his new album, released next month, was "infused with both Jewish and universal inspiration" including the visions of the Baal Shem Tov, Kabbalah references, Yiddish stories and Hebrew liturgy.
Matisyahu, whose real name is Matthew Paul Miller, has released three previous albums.