Ky-Mani Marley brings rain and reggae to the desert


This is your third time playing Reggae in the Desert. What keeps bringing you back?

I love the desert, and I shall bring the rain with me. I love to experience the different cultures and the different people and the different atmospheres. The desert is a place where they always show me love, and you like to go where people appreciate you and where I can show that I appreciate them appreciating me, you dig?

Do you spend a lot of time with your brothers and sisters?

We see each other often, I mean, when time permits. I live in Miami, so it’s hard, but at one point I was seeing my brothers every weekend. But you know, Stephen has his album, Damian has his album, I have my album, Julian has his album, and people come from different ends of the Earth, so we have to reach out. But as much time as we can spend together, we are together. There’s no greater time for me than when I’m with my brothers and sisters.

The Details

From the Calendar
Reggae in the Desert featuring Ky-Mani Marley, Gregory Isaacs, Third World, Yellowman, One Pin Short, Jah Fusion
June 13, 2 p.m.
Clark County Government Center Amphitheater, 455-8200
Reggae in the Desert

Growing up in such a musical family, did you dream of being a musician?

Sports were my focus; music was something that for me was only in the shower. My music and my career started at a friend’s house, just playing around on a sound system ... a producer that [worked with] my father was there at the time and said he liked my tone and that I should come to his studio. So I started going there on the weekends and making some songs, and shortly after that, a manager showed some interest in me, and I got my first record deal. I figured I’d take the ride and see [where it] would lead me.

I did a song called “Dear Dad,” and I remember listening to it play the first time on the radio and having people call in and say that this song really touched them. One gentleman [said] he actually pulled off on the side of the highway, that while it was playing he broke down in tears, and it was at this point I realized that I have something to offer as far as music is concerned. It was really at that point that I decided that this would be my career, and that I’d definitely take this seriously and give it my all and my heart.

Are you planning on doing any collaborations with your family?

We have many musical projects that we’re working on together, none yet that the public has heard. We’re working on a family album, but everything is in time. We’re a very close-knit unit and we know that this is a must so when that time comes, yes, we’ll provide the necessary tools that we need to make it a reality.

Was it a lot of fun growing up in a household of 11 children?

I didn’t grow up with my brothers. I’m the only child from my mother and I was raised in the countryside of Jamaica. I left there when I was very young, seven years of age. I moved to the city of Miami so my upbringing was very humble; I didn’t have the riches or the wealth or the houses or the cars. I was raised in a two-bedroom house with nine people so my upbringing was very humble, very poor. I speak it now proudly, but when I was younger I was a little bitter, knowing my legacy and where I was coming from and knowing that my condition in which I was being raised was unfit. But yet it’s a part of my life; I can look back on it and really appreciate it because it molded me as a human being, it built my character, it gave me meaning towards life, it gave me understanding for people in the gutter, for people in the forest and for people in the palace, so I don’t regret that any one bit.

I didn’t really grow up with my brothers and sisters—I’d see them over the summer and times like that, but it’s when we became of age and had the mind and the ability to move on our own that we really started to link up more frequently, knowing that this is the path that we know that our father would have wanted us to take.

Tell me about this herbal supplement Balance the Herb you are promoting on your MySpace?

It does exactly what it says: balance the herb. This is a pill that if you look at it, everything in it is organic --there is nothing that is manufactured, everything is from a root and is organic. What this herbal supplement does is it prevents you from getting the munchies. It gives you a more natural sensation from the herb, it replenishes the fluids in your joints because of course when you are smoking you’re taking in the smoke and it dries out the fluids so it keeps your joints nicely moist. It’s a good thing.

Why do you like marijuana so much?

You see some people smoke marijuana and say, “We’re going to get high, we’re going to have a nice time”; that is not for me. This is for meditation, for spiritual upliftment, for a clear mind, to see the world and to see people for who they are and what they are. My thing is not to go smoke and get high and get nice. I smoke to put me in a meditative state, so I can relate to people in the most natural way and form possible. Rastafari.

What do you love most about Jamaica?

What I love the most is the people. Let me tell you something about Jamaican people: when you have a good friend, that friend will go to the end of the earth for you. One thing about Jamaica, no matter who you are you will not go hungry because once a month they will cook a pot for food and share it with the people in the community. I like Jamaica because we are very community-oriented.

Now there's a lot of violence in Jamaica at the same time from the same people but that stems from the struggle and the determination to survive; unfortunately sometimes that overspills into the wrong kind of doings but yet still it is life and we are built as human beings to survive so a lot of people do whatever it takes to survive.

Are you going to move back there?

I’m on my way back right now. I’m moving back to Jamaica shortly, I’ll keep a house in Miami but I’m definitely moving within the next two to three months. I will have my winter home in Miami but I will be based in Jamaica.

The atmosphere and the people, it’s just a different joy being in Jamaica than being in America for me. When I’m here I feel trapped, I feel like I’m in an open prison. I always have to be looking over my shoulder. I’m not a criminal but I’m always wondering when the police are going to kick my door in, and I can’t live like that. Jamaica will just be the base and I’ll be in America, doing my work, doing my studio, doing what I need to do but once I’m finished working, then I need to go home. That way I can fully and totally relax.

Does your music have a message?

My message stems from my father's legacy. It is for all of humanity, not any particular group: One love for all of us as human beings. My music speaks of the struggle, of the love, of situations that are taking place in my life.

One love.


Jennifer Grafiada

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