Alex comes to terms with Marley name
Many would think having a family name that has a legacy attached to it and even reckoned as royalty in some countries would make one feel high, but it's quite the opposite for Alex Marley.
"I didn't like that it (the Marley name) was the first thing that people paid attention to before even listening to the music or what I had to offer. The conversations always started out as 'which Marley is this' or 'is how much 'pickney' Bob have?'" he told The Gleaner.
"Aside from that, there are a lot of Marleys out there and not all of us may have a strong independent career without having a godfather or big company to assist, but people always reach out and show an interest to work with me," he continued.
Marley never had the opportunity to meet the late reggae icon, having been born six years after Bob Marley passed away, but connected with his entertainer cousins such as Stephen and Damian while growing up.
"I only know he's my cousin and it was not a big deal, I just knew when the rest of family visited we got together to kick two ball. Plus, reggae is considered a mature music and dancehall was more appealing to me at a younger age," Marley said.
"It was not until I hit adulthood, about the age of 18 years old, that I went out and bought my first Bob Marley album at a record store in Liguanea, close to home. My number one music influences before even listening to his tracks were Jimi Hendrix and Skatalites," he added.
With reggae showing unimaginable potential to portray his interest in social issues affecting Jamaica, as well as his emphasising education and recreation for youth living in areas that lack facilities, Alex Marley followed his heart and pursued the genre.
"I decided on reggae music though my father always wanted me to study law, because he said I always put together a good argument and read a lot. He thought it was more feasible and didn't want me to choose music, because it is a tricky industry," he added.
Marley avoided comparing himself to the rest of the family. In fact, his start did not come utilising his name. The multi-instrumentalist began pursuing a music career by establishing himself through the Inchents and Black Lion Bands as a lead singer that also mastered the art of playing bass and acoustic guitars, piano, saxophone, and other instruments.
OUTGROWN THAT SHELL
Having outgrown that shell, Marley has decided to perform under his own name, which is by birth his right. He uses the platform to promote the message of positivity, peace and love - and express the importance of legalising marijuana.
He even describes his sound as Rebellious, which is the title of his recently released five-track EP. It is not the artiste telling stories, but also a collection of self-discovery. Planning to pack a powerful punch, Alex Marley decided to remove his four previous EPs/albums from musical platforms to re-introduce himself to the public.
"As you get better with your sound and vocal delivery it becomes more obvious and I see it with this album, but I am planning to redistribute what I have in archives reproduced at a better level. Getting feedback from persons around me, the lessons in various artistes' music just puts everything into perspective. Moreover having the Marley name is no pressure; it is motivation," he said.
Alex Marley has applied his name and career to not only producing music but teaching it as well. The Rebellious reggae artiste has travelled to the North and South Americas, Hawaii and most recently Abu Dhabi to perform and has also been to Africa to participate in teaching programmes. He acted as music teacher at the Greenwich Farm All-Age School and, with the assistance of Aluta Continua, acquired equipment to provide formal education to the children.
He continues to provide private lessons to interested individuals. Currently he is planning a fundraising concert to be held on December 18, for the Burmady Primary School, on the outskirts in Linstead, St Catherine. The aim is to raise money to purchase a school bus as, Marley says, due to the conditions of the roads it has been hard for children to travel to and from school.