Wed | Nov 25, 2020

Five Questions with Yohan Marley

Published:Friday | November 13, 2020 | 12:15 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Yohan Marley
Yohan Marley

Yohan Marley is writing another chapter in Jamaican music with his foray into reggae-inspired music with a global fusion. With a legend like Bob Marley for a grandfather, and a father like multi-Grammy Award winner Stephen Marley, who continues to make pioneering moves across several genres of music, there will always be the expectation for his music to create an impact in the industry, and Yohan uses that as fuel to keep the passionate fire blazing within him to create.

“He (Bob Marley) is my grandfather, and my father being Stephen Marley means it was bred into me, it hasn’t [had] any impact, as far as [a] negative impact to me, there’s no pressure,” Yohan told The Gleaner.

It’s been four years since the young Marley debuted on Burn It Down, his eldest brother Jo Mersa’s single, which showcased his dynamic talent on a one-drop electro-reggae fusion production. Last year, he further demonstrated how he has cleared a path in the industry, by not being boxed into any genre of music, with the strong, soulful tracks Special To Me and Cry To Me, featuring Satori. These tracks easily make him a favourite for female fans.

Over the past six months, while many have been focused on their health, staying safe and staying inspired, Yohan, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Wednesday, has found motivation in the lights of an urban Miami community which led him to record the single titled Brickell, on which Jo Mersa is also featured. Adding to that, the music video, which is produced by Michael Zoyes and premiered last month on YouTube, captures the luxurious eclectic lifestyle and vibrant culture, which encompass the Brickell streets of Miami.

In this week’s Five Questions With, Yohan Marley shares what it means to be a Marley, his hobbies, coping in the pandemic, and what he loves most about Jamaica.

What is the message behind ‘Brickell’?

Actually, when we recorded the song it was in a high-rise building overlooking downtown Miami Beach, and was inspired by really just enjoying the city lights, water, people, energy and culture. I was soaking it all in on a balcony high above, and the inspiration came for Brickell. The song and video [are] showcasing Miami with a loved one cruising through the city.

How has family helped you to cope throughout the pandemic?

Family is everything to me; and the Marleys, we, are a very family-oriented tribe. The best way to describe how we are coping during the pandemic is together. We cook, smoke and reason; it is doing these kinds of things that helps.

How integral are your siblings in the production of your music?

My older brothers have a great impact on my career so working together, that comes naturally, like having Jo Mersa on Brickell, or him inviting me to record Burn It Down. We find that what we can achieve individually, we can do together as we work well with one another.

Did you always know you were going to make music and if not music, what?

I always knew I was going to do music, but I must share that I have always had other backup plans. My interests are wide, from boxing, football and cooking. These have remained part of my list of hobbies to keep my body and mind active.

When you’re in Jamaica, what’s your favourite place to visit, or name the place you go to get away from the noise?

My favourite place in Jamaica is – just on a whole – Jamaica. It being my country, where my heritage comes from; it is my roots, and simply waking up in Jamaica, to listen to the nature around me alone, makes it a favourite place.

You have spent some time in the studio before becoming an artiste; is this something you recommend artistes do to help them when recording?

Yeah, I did produce, and I actually produced my soon-to-be-released track titled Goodbyes. I always say 10,000 hours is important to learn. Every new artist should spend as much time inside and outside [the] studio to learn the business.