Bermudian roots-reggae artist Mishka is getting another chance at “uplifting consciousness” through his music with the help of actor Matthew McConaughey, who started j.k. Livin Records for that very purpose. “My one-liner to him is ‘Look, man, I think your music needs to be heard by more ears than it has. I’ve heard it. I love it. Anybody I’ve ever turned on to your music ends up loving it,’ ” McConaughey tells Rolling Stone. The actor, who has starred in such films as Dazed and Confused and Time to Kill, also co-produced Mishka’s album, Above The Bones, alongside legendary producer Daryl Thompson (Peter Tosh, Black Uhuru, Sly & Robbie).
McConaughey “had a ball” in the studio, helping to tweak the 11 songs such as “Higher Heights” about the power of the people to rid the world of corruption to the sweet combination “Peace and Love.” “He’s like a number one fan who also happens to have a sense of directing because having been in the movie industry, he sees it from that editing point of view,” says Mishka.
Mishka, whose sister is singer Heather Nova, has been recording and touring for the past decade, since another heavyweight, music mogul Alan McGee, released his self-titled debut on Creation Records in 1999. His second album, 2005’s “One Tree,” he calls a “mish-mash of demos,” that came out on California’s Cornerstone RAS. Since then, Mishka continued to tour and record independently, oblivious to the fact that McConaughey was trying to track him down since hearing his music on New Year’s Eve 2000. That day came five years later at a House of Blues gig and the two became fast friends.
“The friendship was based on understanding his music,” says McConaughey. “Because when I called him, I’d been listening to his music for four years. I knew every song up and down, backwards and front. So when I called him, I felt like I knew him. He didn’t know a thing about me.” Mishka had already been working with Thompson for a year and had the bulk of the album laid down when McConaughey came onboard. By then, Mishka valued his input and insight when he came to his music.
McConaughey might not have had the correct lingo (“What I’d call a ‘release,’ they’d call a ‘dub,’ ” he says), but he had a deep understanding of the anatomy of a song and his own amusing way of communicating to Thompson and Mishka how to punch up a chorus or alter a bridge.
“I would do charades or make stupid animal sounds,” McConaughey laughs. “When I was out of my chair or they’d be playing, I could walk up and sort of, you know, [pauses] — it involved [laughs] a lot of acting like a monkey and body and dance.”
And, yes, there is video of that somewhere, he says.