By Stevie Connor.
Stephen Marley releases the video for his highly anticipated new single “Old Soul.” The well-crafted retrospective video reveals never-before-seen old family photos, vintage vinyl album covers, and a collage of Jamaican music history, on Stephen Marley’s Official YouTube Channel. The award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer chronicles his growth and innocence as a youth Marley kid, the second son of Bob Marley, and his personal rites of passage through the family legacy. The warm acoustic track takes the listener on a coming-of-age journey through allusions to personal legends and eras of musical influences that “made it all possible.”
“April 1972, my mom and poppa brought me through,” Stephen sings on the moving new track. “Back then, I was the favourite, so they say.” The song arrives simultaneously as Bob Marley’s second oldest son celebrates his 51st year. “I’m an old soul, living in the body of a 9-year-old,” Stephen sings, sharing glimpses of his past. “Guess I’ve been here before.” The song was co-written with Jamaican pop star Omi, whose manager, renowned producer Specialist, brought it to Stephen, saying it fit him. “I had to change up the years to place my life in it,” Stephen says, “but really, Omi gave me the first inspiration.”
Before the pandemic, Stephen “Ragga” Marley and his band toured incessantly, sharpening their live show while tackling material from Stephen’s dense catalog of Grammy-winning albums and the coveted Bob Marley songbook. During the COVID lockdown, Stephen set up a new make-shift studio on a remote family farm in the Florida countryside, holding nightly jam sessions in a converted garage studio. With a stripped-down ensemble of binghi drums, bass, acoustic guitar, and flute, he played whatever he felt like—original compositions, old favourites, and both soul and reggae rarities.
“Irie vibration,” Stephen says of the sounds he and his friends made together on the farm. “Old Soul” was recorded during these unplugged jam sessions, the spirit of which will permeate the vibe of his upcoming tour dates and his forthcoming solo album. “You have to be true to yourself,” he says. “I refuse to be put into any category. I am inspired by everything. So, if I feel like I want to play some jazz music, I will play some jazz music. Who dig it, dig it.”
“Old Soul” showcases Marley’s versatility, and the message within his music remains consistent. “We come to free the people’s minds,” says the multi-Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and producer Stephen Marley. “Only way you can free your soul is to free your mind. My father said, ‘No chains on my feet, but I’m not free,’ and then he come to say, ‘Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.’ Anywhere the music calls us, we are going to be there to spread the message of love and unity.”
Summer 2023 marks the triumphant return of Stephen’s “Babylon By Bus Summer Tour,” which includes a cavalcade of hand-picked support artists appearing at various venues across the country, including Fortunate Youth, Skip Marley, Jesse Royal, Hirie, Arise Roots and Roots of Creation. The tour will begin in San Diego, CA, in June, with multiple stops in California before heading to Colorado, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Chicago, Cape Cod, Brooklyn, NY, and more - and ending in Florida in August.
Stephen “Ragga” Marley is a world-renowned singer, songwriter, and producer whose work has earned no fewer than eight Grammy Awards. Born into a musical family, Stephen is the child of reggae legends Bob Marley and Rita Marley. He began singing professionally at the age of 6, touring the world with his elder siblings Ziggy, Sharon, and Cedella in The Melody Makers. In 2008 he released his first solo album, Mind Control, which won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.
His subsequent solo albums include Mind Control Acoustic, Revelation Part I: The Root of Life, and Revelation Part II: The Fruit of Life. Stephen is currently putting the finishing touches on his forthcoming full-length album, slated to be released later this year via Tuff Gong Worldwide/UMe/Ghetto Youths International.
The upcoming album is a departure from his previous Reggae repertoire, showcasing more of his bluesy, acoustic soul side, as evidenced by the newly released single, “Old Soul.” Stephen is also an acclaimed producer, working closely with his brother Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley on the massive crossover hit Welcome To Jamrock. In addition, Stephen continues to champion charitable endeavors centered in Jamaica as a co-founder of the Ghetto Youths Foundation, along with his brothers Damian and Julian Marley. In 2017, Stephen established Kaya Fest, the annual music festival, which features special guests and rare family performances, all with the larger purpose of raising awareness around the benefits of cannabis, guided by the mantra “Education Before Recreation.” In addition, this summer Stephen embarks on his annual “Babylon By Bus” tour across the US.
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