Stephen Marley, the eight-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, producer and son of legendary reggae artist Bob Marley, has proven time and time again that his blood runs pure with naturally gifted musical ability.
After many years of helping produce/write songs for other Marley family projects, Stephen released his first solo album “Mind Control” in 2007 to widespread critical acclaim. It was quickly honored with a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.
Last year, Stephen released the album, entitled “Revelation Part 1: The Root Of Life,” which also won a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.
Now, fresh off a sold-out, nine-week European tour, Stephen is touring the U.S., performing in Minneapolis Friday and many other cities, including Baltimore, New York City and Los Angeles.
WCCO-TV’s Curiocity had a chance to catch up with him before his show at Mill City Nights in Minneapolis:
Looks like you have a very busy schedule from now until your tour ends Oct. 7. What do you do in your spare time, if you have any?
Live life, enjoy life and soccer (football).
I see that you’ve said you have an eclectic style. Besides your obvious influence of reggae, what other genres of music have shaped your sound?
I am a big fan of music in general, I listen to all genres, hip-hop, R&B, whatever sounds good to me, it doesn’t matter to me where it comes from, there are no boundaries, no fences. If I like it then it will inspire me to create. If you check my father’s music it’s not your typical reggae, it has always incorporated other influences – blues, soul, rock. So I’ve grown around the influence of incorporating all types of music into what we make, with the foundation being reggae.
What’s your process in songwriting? Does it vary or do you start out with guitar and just start plugging away?
It starts from inspiration. Sometimes it’s just a melody that comes through your head, but whatever it is, it starts from the inspiration first. Now how it plays out, I don’t have a method. If it’s the guitar, it’s the guitar. If it’s the drums, it’s the drums.
There is definitely a feeling of pride in Africa as being the root of life, the beginning of humanity in your new album, specifically the track, “Made In Africa.” Besides that strong message, what other things are you trying to say in your two-part album, “Revelation?” Secondly, what was you inspiration to take on such a large project?
My African heritage is a part of reggae music roots, and the concept is that the album, “Revelation Part 1: The Root of Life” is a tribute to roots reggae music. The Fruit is what blossoms into different colors and shades, but The Root has to stand predominant.
Reggae music is a music of integrity, reggae’s consciousness was built on a message. My music speaks of love, equality and spirituality, and I would hope that one finds this integrity in my music.
What was it like for you to win a Grammy for the Best Reggae Album for “Revelation Part 1?”
I don’t take anything for granted, awards and all that go with it are very nice, and it’s nice to get a positive response, but for me it’s about the music. I don’t make music to win awards, I make music for the people. I am following in my father’s footsteps, who was doing God’s work.
It’s well-known that your family members are very musical — are there any other up-and-coming Marleys to the music scene?
My son who goes by Jo Mersa is on tour with me now, he has a new single ‘Bad So’ that he performs on this tour.
What should fans expect from your performance in Minneapolis? Secondly, what would you like to say to your fans?
Give thanks to all the fans. This is Stephen Marley and I am coming to Minneapolis to deliver music with meaning, so come out and see the show!
Stephen plans to release “Revelation Part 2: The Fruit Of Life” soon, which he describes as having more of “an eclectic feel.”
Stephen is playing Mill City Nights Friday night at 9 p.m. — doors open at 8 p.m. For ticket information, visit Mill City Nights’ website.