Marley. The mere mention of the name conjures images of roots, rasta, music, peace, love, oneness, livity, dread…I could go on. Bloodline of a lion. A pride of lions and lionesses who now carry the legacy of a man, some would say, deity, who delivered a divine message of “one love” to the earth a mere thirty years ago. This pride, so gifted with musical ability that they survive solely on its fruits for decade upon decade. For them, music is freedom. Music is salvation. Music is survival. Music is life. So now a young lion emerges from that pride who is ready to build on that foundation that was laid more than 4 decades ago by his cousin Nesta Robert Marley.
Alex Marley, lead singer and guitarist with the Black Lion Band, is making news on the island of Jamaica and is preparing to roar into the international music market with the success of his new single “Lovely Woman.” A multi-instrumentalist and roots musician, Marley made his debut in 2007 with his single “Times Dread“, recorded at Tuff Gong International Studio. He soon followed with the release of his album “Love“, which is currently available on itunes, emusic, Rhapsody, and Amazon. The young lion is known throughout Jamaica for his raw and incendiary live performances, often shocking crowds with his spitfyah delivery and wild antics, sometimes even incorporating his training in Zendoe Kai Kan Karate into his shows. One need only see his live performance to overstand that this is a man serious about his music…his religion…his culture – all the while representing his legendary surname to the fullest. This is music inspired by and about survival. Survival as a Rasta musician on “the rock” – the tuffest proving ground for any emerging roots artist – and survival of the message. Peace. Humility. Love. Inity. Liberation. Oneness.
Alex Marley’s journey as a roots musician began early, writing songs beginning at the age of 11. I interviewed Marley recently about his early involvement in music and his influences: “I started singing at age 8, writing songs at age 11. [My] inspiration comes from Haile Selassie I, life experiences, all the elements of nature, the books of the Bible and Bob Marley.” He attended St. Georges College and while there he wrote his first song “Color Prejudice,” after which he went to Quality Academics where he excelled in Literature and History and won the school music competition. Alex Marley draws inspiration for his music from the greats – artists such as Garnet Silk, Burning Spear, Jacob Miller, Peter Tosh, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, and Dennis Brown.
An artist who draws influence from his Rastafari faith, the “Marley Rebel“ – as commonly referred to by friends and fans – studies writings such as The Autobiography of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I , The Books of the Bible, Kebra Negast, Fetha Negast, as well as The Philosophies and Opinions of Marcus Mosiah Garvey. Marley attended The Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts where he studied guitar and voice. A multi-instrumentalist, Marley plays a number of other instruments such as the saxophone, congas, bass guitar, piano, steel pan and composes his own music. He has starred in TV commercials such as Coca-Cola advertisements, which he co-scripted, and has also been featured in local films and movies.
Alex Marley is not just a musician, but a Rastafari ambassador, performing volunteer work in his community and teaching music at various schools including St. Hughes Prep and Greenwich Farm All Age (near Trench Town) as well as summer camps at various institutions. An avid surfer, Marley was a member of the 2005 Jamaica National Surfing Team where he represented the country in the World Junior Pros at Huntington Beach, California.
A performer like no other, Alex Marley’s vocal delivery, lyrical style, and raucous live shows has established him as a unique talent among many in Jamaican roots music. During a live performance, Alex Marley is unpredictable and unforgiving. Moving from a fire-spitting dancehall rula to lover’s rock crooner within a matter of minutes, Marley woos crowds with his undeniable charisma and unique style. It is difficult to describe an Alex Marley performance to someone who hasn’t experienced it in the flesh. He collected generous accolades for his performance at “Livity” in commemoration of H.I.M (Haile Selassie 1) 116th birthday, performing alongside artists such as Etana, Taurus Riley, Lutan Fiya, I-Octane, and many others. His notable performance earned him an interview with The Gleaner Company, a popular newspaper in Jamaica.
Although a fan of his musically gifted cousins The Marley Brothers, he is not attempting to duplicate what’s been done already. Instead, he is forging a new path in roots music, building upon the solid foundation that has been laid by those who came before him. During our recent interview, Marley described his music as “roots reggae as the foundation with elements of dancehall, rock, hip hop and jazz. [I create] new sounds as I write all the instrumentation as well as the melody and lyrics to the song…being professionally trained in music.”
As Rasta artists often do, Marley utilizes the tools of Babylon to spread his message of universal peace, love, and liberation for all people. He has been very successful in using the internet and social networking sites to distribute his music and spread his message, all the while building his career one fan at a time. His music is currently played on many radio stations in Jamaica, the US, and UK. His new single “Lovely Woman” is currently getting radio air play and Yosef Imagination’s video for the song has garnered more than 20,000 views on You Tube.
“Lovely Woman” by Alex Marley
CLICK HERE to listen to a recent interview with Alex Marley (Added April 22, 2012).
In a pride of lions and lionesses where music is survival, this young lion stands proud as a unique and powerful voice for Rastafari in a world where Rastafari is needed more than ever.
Alex Marley is currently unsigned. He is working on new music with The Black Lion Band. Please visit him at:
Alex Marley on The Talent Catalogue
Post-Script: Upon publishing this piece I received questions from several readers about Alex Marley’s relationship to Bob Marley. According to Alex, his grandfather and Bob’s father are brothers.