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Skip Marley: 'When we make music, there's no pressure'

FAMILY MATTERS: Skip Marley says his uncle Stephen first introduced him to making music at the age of just 14

GENETICS ARE a powerful thing that is an undoubted fact. Over the last 15 years I’ve been blessed with the access I have had to the premier family of reggae music, The Marleys.

Ziggy, Stephen, Damian, Ky-Mani and Julian have been interrogated, journalistically, of course, by myself. Even some of the newer generation, such as Stephen Marley’s son, Jo Mersa, haven’t escaped my tirade of questions.

Today, it’s the turn of Skip Marley. He is the son of Bob and Rita Marley’s eldest child, Cedella.

True to form when we connected over the phone I was met with that familiar, cool, laid back Jamaican tone. It’s distinctive, you can’t miss it – it’s the Marley “chill” factor.

This was the first time of me linking with Skip, even though I have been aware of his music for a few years now.

One of his biggest successes so far came via a collaboration which he co-wrote with Katy Perry in 2017 called Chained To The Rhythm. This peaked at number four in the US charts and propelled his name to a new and large global audience.

NEXT GENERATION: It’s evident that the core messages from the Marleys are still the same

In the same year Skip signed to Island Records, the label that had been attached to his family name for many years. Releasing two singles Lion and Calm Down in 2017.

However, the motive behind our conversation was about his brand new single That’s Not True which features ‘the youngest uncle’, Damian “Jr Gong” Marley.

That’s Not True is a solid electronic driven roots riddim, with a hard-hitting bassline and sharp horns section to accompany. Never one to leave audiences wanting, uncle Jr Gong delivers a straight fire 16 bars for his nephew. This is the sound that I am used to from this new generation of Marley music makers.

Skip explained the energy behind the song. “It really deals with what’s going on right now. I see people drunk in power, I see people chasing all these things that are not beneficial.

“I see people getting tricked day by day. So I’m trying to show them I’m there with them and tell them that’s not the truth.”

Touching on so many social matters and issues, the single’s direct lyrics beg you to even look at yourself as it poses numerous dilemmas and leaves you deep in thought. Skip further explains that he wants people to really get the message of unity and oneness.

“I want the people to [understand] that we really have to make the changes that are needed,” he says in an authoritative manner. It’s evident that the core messages from the Marleys are still the same through the generations of this musical family. Skip acknowledges this as I query if delivering this message and being a Marley comes with pressure.

“No – no pressure, you know? When we make music it’s no pressure,” he responds quickly. “The name is more of a light, it’s a light on the world. It can shine truth on the world and I’m able to do this because of my grandfather, mother and uncles until it come to me and the third generation.”

Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley, the youngest of Skip’s maternal uncles, features on Skip’s new track, That’s Not True

He’s been doing this from the age of 14 when his uncle Stephen that gave him his first shot at music, he tells me. “Uncle Stephen brought me on stage one night and ever since that night music has had a grip of me, it did something to me!”

That’s Not True is the start point for Marley’s upcoming EP expected to be with us by the end of summer. Before the full EP lands, he told me to expect another single first.

He’s been in the studio with super producers like Supa Dups and Boi 1-Da, so we can expect something special. I was excited to hear those names! Supa Dups who originally Black Chiney sound and Canadian producer Boi 1-Da have been making waves producing and contributing to projects from the likes of Drake and Rihanna. Songs like Work, Controlla and Party Next Door’s Not Nice have their seasoning all over them.

In his cool Marley manner, Skip was as casual as you like.

"Yeah, I’ve got some nice music coming up – Supa Dups has come with some modern roots style and dancehall. It’s nice.”

Carrying the Marley name automatically pockets your music under reggae, but is Skip more than that?

He tells me: “The music is more than a genre of just music. It all about the energy that it carries. I mean, I can’t escape reggae because it is the root.

“Now it’s about taking the roots up new avenues and new streets because there are so many different types of music, it’s just an expression and how we feel.”

The Marley light looks to be burning very brightly and it’s in safe hands as it moves into the next generation.

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