Bob Marley wanted to change the world and in many ways, he did. He was able to unite people all over the globe just by spreading messages of peace and justice through music. He was not afraid to speak up and take a stand for what was right, which appears to be something that runs in the family.
Now, take a look at Skip Marley. I bet you’re thinking: wait..is that Bob Marley reincarnated? I mean, seriously. He is a spitting image of his grandfather and that’s only the surface of their resemblance. It’s in the way he speaks, the way he carries himself; and of course, his undeniable talent and passion for music.
As the son of Cedella Marley (Bob and Rita’s eldest daughter), it is not a surprise that Skip was exposed to music at a very young age. At 6 and 7, he was studying music theory and learning how to play the guitar and piano. By the age of 13 and 14, he was hitting the road with his uncles Ziggy and Stephen. During one of their shows in Jacksonville, Florida, Stephen forced the young Marley to perform onstage. This was a shy Skip’s first time ever singing in a public setting and it was at this very moment he realized pursuing a career in music was his destiny.
Skip has been creating and releasing songs for years, but it was not until the summer of 2015 that he got some proper recognition with his single,”Cry For Me.” After the president and CEO of Island Records David Massey got his hands on the track, he offered him a record deal and the rest was history. Massey connected Skip to notable songwriter Max Martin and before they knew it, reggae pop record “Lion” was born.
If you haven’t heard “Lion” yet, I need you to climb out of the hole you obviously live in and give it a listen. This song is special and what makes it so special is how strongly it resonates with what’s going on in the world right now, especially in the United States. Back in November, people everywhere were left shocked, terrified, and hurt when television personality Donald Trump won the presidential election based on a campaign that spewed nothing but hate, discrimination, and just straight-up stupidity. Skip was inspired by this, which led him to write the anthem. “The world has gotten very tense,” he said. “I felt like I needed to reassure people in the safety of love and community.”
And that’s exactly what he did. He first released the lyric video for “Lion” in the beginning of February. The official video was released just weeks after, but there was something about the lyric video that struck me. It includes images of different protests and demonstrations flashing on and off the screen with the reggae star’s powerful verses ringing in the background: “Yeah, if ya took all my rights away/ Yeah, if ya tellin’ me how to pray/ Yeah, if ya won’t let us demonstrate/ Yeah, you’re wrong/ Yeah, if ya thinking I don’t belong/ Yeah, if ya hiding behind a gun/ Yeah, if ya hoping we’re gonna run/ Wrong.”
Every and every lyric in the song is important, but it’s the chorus that takes it over the edge to being a hit: “We are the lion, we are the chosen/ We gonna shine out the dark/ We are the movement, this generation/ You better know who we are, who we are.”
Max Martin also works closely with Katy Perry as her producer and songwriting partner. While they were working on her new album in L.A., Martin let Perry listen to “Lion” while it was still in its development stages and she was instantly impressed. She felt a verse from Skip would be perfect for her LP’s lead single, “Chained To The Rhythm.” This is Katy’s first socially conscious song and he was more than thrilled to be apart of it.
“We feel the times,” Marley explains to Billboard. “We need to come together – That’s what my message was [in the song], one of unification and love. That type of music lives on forever. Uplifting music with substance definitely has a place today.”
Being on the Katy Perry record has given Skip great exposure as he’s been traveling alongside the pop singer to perform the Top 10 song on numerous award shows this year like The Grammys, The iHeart Radio Music Awards, and even The Brit Awards. Making political statements on national television are prone to receiving backlash, but like his grandfather, Skip had no worries. “We can’t have fear,” he said.
As for following in Bob Marley’s footsteps, his grandson doesn’t seem to mind at all, which is very different from some young artists related to legends, as they are often scared of being stuck in their shadow. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Skip expressed his feelings about it. “Being his grandson has never been a burden,” he began. “It’s a light because I’m carrying on his message of love and the unification of mankind, brothers and sisters stronger together, to a whole new generation.”