Fri | Dec 13, 2019

Skip Marley talks family, new projects, Afrobeats

Published:Friday | November 22, 2019 | 12:09 AMAnthony Turner/Gleaner Writer
Skip Marley.
Skip Marley.

NEW YORK:

Skip Marley, the grandson of reggae legend Bob Marley, was on schedule when he and his team arrived at Hot 97 FM in Manhattan recently for his 10:30 a.m. interview with morning co-host Shani Kulture. The Gleaner and TVJ’s Entertainment Report were given exclusive in-studio access for the interview.

Dressed casually in a grey hoodie, black jacket and black slacks, the 23-year-old Marley was relaxed as he spoke passionately about his family and his new project, a hot new single titled Slow Down, with two-time Grammy Award-winning artiste H.E.R. The amazing chemistry between the two was on full display when they performed the song live for the first time at H.E.R and Lauryn Hill’s historic Hollywood Bowl concert last month.

Speaking about the genesis of the collaboration with H.E.R, Skip said, “I did have the song but it was not complete. I sent it to her team and she sent me back the track. It shot! You know the perfect blend when you hear it. That’s how me feel,” he shared.

FIRST SHOW

Skip started playing the piano at age six and at age 14, his uncle, Stephen, took him on the road.

“He put me out on one show. He said, ‘Yuh a go sing tonight.’ Yeah, just like that”, and his career was born.

As a teenager, Skip recorded a handful of songs, but his first track that got traction on streaming platforms was titled Lions. Today, Skip is signed to Tuff Gong International/Island Records and is an accomplished artiste in his own right. Three years ago, he earned a collaboration with pop star Katy Perry on a single titled Chained To The Rhythm that has racked up millions of plays on Spotify. The two performed the single at the Grammy Awards in 2017 to rave reviews.

Skip’s first EP will be released next year and he is booked to perform with his Grammy Award-winning uncles – Ziggy, Stephen and Damian – at the Welcome To Jamrock Cruise that sets sail on December 9. He was also booked to perform the single Refugee at the United Nations for World Children’s Day.

JOURNEY TO AFRICA

The young Marley reminisced during the interview about travelling to Africa. It was on April 17, 1980, while his mother, Cedella Marley, was a still a teenager, that his granddad was invited to perform at the celebration of Zimbabwe’s Independence. Bob had inspired Zimbabweans in the ‘70s and his music was adopted by the guerrilla forces of the Patriotic Front during their struggle for liberation.

“I went to Ethiopia in 2005. Dem time deh me did small. I have to do it again,” he shared about the Motherland.

Bob Marley not just conquered Jamaica with his talent, he is seen as a music legend, and an icon to many people around the world. Skip spoke about when he first realised the global impact of Bob’s legacy.

“It took me a while to realise the impact that he really had,” he confessed.

“At about 13 years old, me start realise his impact. As yuh young, yuh know, but yuh nuh know,” he indicated.

Skip acknowledged that he has very diverse musical tastes. He regularly listens to jazz, rock, blues, urban and electronic music.

“Music is limitless. There is no boundary,” he explained.

He, however, reiterated that reggae is very important to him.

“A reggae music it stem from. That is the foundation.”

About his current musical journey, he said: “What me a try do, me a try bring the music to a next level ... trying to take it to new places, new vibes.”

He also waxed about his admiration of two big Afrobeats acts – Mr Eazi and Davido – hinting that he may have already done a collaboration with Mr Eazi.

“Right now, I want to bring in more of the African element, Afrobeats ... real African, tribal sounds,” he shared.

“The more positive and conscious music, the merrier, so that’s what me a try do. Me a try bring the music to a next level.”