Marley name doesn't pressure me - Jo Mersa
Carrying on a name and a legacy can be pressuring, but it is a job Joseph 'Jo Mersa' Marley, grandson of reggae legend Bob Marley, takes pleasure in doing.
One would think that having been born into a musical family, pursuing music as a career would have been a no-brainer for Jo Mersa, but the eldest son of Grammy winning reggae artiste, Stephen Marley, told The Sunday Gleaner, that although he felt naturally inclined to do music, it was music that chose him and not the other way around.
"Music choose me innu, because is not everybody in the family do music," he explained. "It was easier to pursue it because of the accessibility and because of the family legacy, but mi did love other things to, like football and cooking, but music chose me and I answered the call."
The 25 year-old, who has been releasing music professionally since he was 18 years old, revealed that he feels no pressure at all living up to the Marley name, because he is simply living his own life.
"I don't even think about it much. I'm not pressured, mi just a live mi life," he said explaining that although his last name bears a lot of weight in the music fraternity, he has had to work to prove his own worth.
"Because of the family and what my grandfather, father and uncle dem put in, doors do open and things are a lot easier in a certain sense, but mi still affi work fi it. It's not like opportunities just drop inna mi lap. My name is not going to make somebody want to work with me, mi affi can show say mi want it and mi ago work fi it. Dem affi see say mi talented as an individual musician."
When questioned about the Marley family and their uncanny ability to win Grammy Awards, Jo Mersa pointed out that like every other Grammy-winning artiste, the members of the Marley clan have also had to work hard for the award.
"It is unfair for people to say that we win because of our name. The family works hard for everything we achieve and our accomplishments are not based on any form of bias," he said. "The last person weh win a Grammy, dem name start with 'M' but is not a Marley," he pointed out, saying they too (Morgan Heritage) worked extremely hard for that accomplishment.
Jo Mersa is a man of many talents, as he not only sings, but also produces. On his last EP, Comfortable, he produced four/five songs on the compilation and he told The Sunday Gleaner, that since then, he has developed a knack for producing.
"It is something that I really love. I got started when I was around 12, my cousins and I went on the Melody Makers' Roots Rock tour," he explained. "Uncle Ziggy bought my cousins and I an Apple laptop with a software called Garage Band on it and we started messing with riddims and beats until we gradually got more serious with it. It just take me over and mi fall in love with it just like music. I couldn't chose between producing and being an artiste, because I love doing both."
The entertainer is steadily building his musical repertoire and explains that his musical sense is indescribable as he fuses a little bit of all genres into his tracks.
"My music is infused with Roots, Rock, Reggae, Dancehall, Hip Hop, Pop R&B, Dance, EDM, you name it. I can't categorise my music, because I do all sorts of music. Music is a beautiful thing innu, it's an expression of yourself and I'm a music lover." Because he is such a lover of music, Marley has a long list of persons he is inspired by and of course, the list includes his grandfather, Bob Marley.
"It's a lot innu; Papa San, Josey Wales, Bounty Killer, Super Cat, Shabba Ranks, Capleton, Ninja Man, Professor Nuts, so much that it would be impossible to list them all," he noted.
Jo Mersa is now gearing up to join his famous father, Stephen on tour. The tour kicked off on May 26, but Jo Mersa will join the tour on June 8 and leaves on July 10.
After leaving his father's tour, Jo Mersa is expected to go on tour with UB40. He is also expected to drop an album soon, but it's still in the planning phases. Right now he's focused on his new single, Burn It Down, which feature his younger brother, Yohan Marley.