Tue | May 11, 2021

‘Reggae Vaccine’ producer needed a Marley to heal the people

Julian leads compilation album

Published:Sunday | April 18, 2021 | 12:17 AM
Julian Marley headlines the ‘Reggae Vaccine’ compilation with ‘So High’.
Julian Marley headlines the ‘Reggae Vaccine’ compilation with ‘So High’.

Marley scion, Julian, has been tapped to headline a big-name compilation which has a title that accurately reflects the times. In a period of Earth’s history where the use of the word ‘vaccine’ must surely come a close second to ‘pandemic’ or ‘COVID-19’, the producers are making a bold statement with an album dubbed Reggae Vaccine.

And they are making an even bolder one by having a half-smiling Julian, with guitar in hand, à la Bob Marley, prominently rocking on the cover of the album, surrounded by his friends. “You need a Marley to heal the people, and that’s one of the reasons why I chose Julian to lead Reggae Vaccine,” declared Sean ‘Contractor’ Edwards, whose Contractor Music, along with Urban Angel, Digital Production and Top Braff Entertainment, joined forces for this production.

Clever could very well be Edwards’ middle name, and the man who has figures at his fingertips knows how to make a pitch. “The Marley name is the biggest brand in reggae music and one of the biggest brands in the world. Marley music represents healing. You can see the videos on YouTube of how crying babies all over the world are calmed down with Bob Marley’s music,” he added.

He inextricably links Julian to Bob Marley, and his narrative makes it appear as if it is the father and son are one and the same. “In this pandemic, Bob Marley’s sales and streams have soared by 300 per cent because this is healing music in a pandemic. So it was only logical that I chose a Marley to lead this album, because it is the reggae vaccine, and it is for healing. People can listen to it and be healed, and even kids can take it. In this crisis, there is a lot of emotional stress going on, and so you need a Marley to heal the people,” Edwards reiterated.

Without a doubt, Bob Marley’s music has been a panacea in these troubling times. Reports from qz.com noted that for the first three months of 2020, Marley accumulated over one billion streams around the world. Music bible Billboard states, “The 2020 pandemic certainly wasn’t part of the plan for Bob Marley’s 75th birthday year. But amid a crisis, the reggae icon’s streams are up more than 23 per cent, and his family is expanding their thriving business – at a time when their visionary patriarch’s music and message feel more essential than ever.”

Edwards, who first met Julian Marley in London a few years ago through a mutual friend, recalls attending one of his concerts, a solo performance at a club in London where he jammed backstage with the artiste and enjoyed the vibe. “He performs with his guitar just like his father. He is doing core exercise before his performance, and I was just in awe. After the show, I was invited to his house, and this is like 3 a.m. I just sat there and listened to this guy talk about music and touring, and I developed a friendship with him from then. I have watched him building rhythms, and he’s also talented on the keyboards. This is a multi-talented artiste, not just vocally but also instrumentally,” Edwards shared.

When the opportunity presented itself to do a project, he jumped at it. The actual producer of the Marley track is Richard Roache, who is also a friend of Edwards. “I asked him for this song to headline the album, and I wanted Julian Marley to lead out. I feel like he’s the Marley who has not gotten the credit that he deserves. He has never had a local Jamaican hit; he’s had some songs that Jamaica knows. I took it as my task to give him his first breakaway hit in Jamaica,” the producer declared.

Julian Marley is certainly feeling the track he has contributed to on the project, and is in tune with the Reggae Vaccine. “The name of the song is So High. It is like a love song. The guitar is like the cloud, and we are floating on the clouds with the melody and the lyrics. Definitely give thanks to be a part of that album, being the headline, as they say. So more blessings, definitely give thanks,” he said.

Among the big names on Reggae Vaccine are Shatta Wale, Ed Sheeran, Anthony B, Bounty Killer, Jethro ‘Alonestar’ Sheeran, Wayne Wonder, Gyptian and Mojo Morgan. It is now available on pre-order.

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com