Rastafarian Singer, Songwriter, Producer Alex Marley
He is an outstanding musician who is not afraid to speak his mind. Featuring Alex Marley the great!
Alexander Marley also knows as Alex Marley was born in 1987 in Kingston, Jamaica. He was educated at St. George’s College, Quality Academics, Edna Manley School of Music and University of the West Indies. After graduating, he taught music to children for three (3) years at St. Hugh’s Prep and Greenwich Farm All Age.
Alex keeps himself very active as a surfer, snowboarder and skateboarder, and plays football, tennis and golf. He was a member of the national surfing team for Jamaica in the 2005 world surf games in Huntington California.
Though he loves sports and is a skillful surfer, music is more dominant in his blood…that is where his focus lies…he possesses all the elements of a great singer added to his ability to play more than five (5) instruments; mostly the guitar, piano, saxophone and percussion.
Part of what drives his music is motivation from artistes who have paved the way for reggae, hip hop and dancehall artistes, such as his cousin Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Garnet Silk, Jimmy Hendrix and the Skatalites…rappers 2 PAC and Biggie Smalls…Deejays Jr. Gong, Bounty Killer, Sizzla and Capleton.
He has been fortunate to travel the world and play on a lot of big stages in places like Trinidad, over 30 states in the USA, Costa Rica, Colombia, 5 islands in Hawaii, Europe, Africa (sold out three stadiums in Gambia) ABU DHABI UAE. He also performs extensively on the local scene for his Jamaica fans.
Alex Marley has collaborated with singers such as Warrior King, Mikey General, artiste from Hawaii Keith Batlin, Costa Rica – Talawa, Blaze Mob, Yung JR, etc. He would like to do collaborations with Jazz and rock musicians, talented singers who push the limits of creation and think outside the box. He is tired of hearing the same old generic sound and music with no substance message or meaning other than mere entertainment…”music always meant more than that to me.”
The artiste spends most of his time developing his brand of music and produces most of them to get the quality he wants.
He says. “I usually produce all my own music along with my band members and yes we own the music. I’m the main executive producer on my projects, but my new ‘Rebellious’ EP (my best work so far) is the first project where I worked with many different producers from all around the world Africa (Kenya), Chile in South America, etc and I co- produced 2 of the tracks. On this project as far as the beats are concerned…also the first album I did all my own harmonies with no female vocalist on any of the tracks.”
Alex continues, “I’m very grateful…whether it’s a reggae dancehall or hip hop beat I keep my music positive and always try to include a high level of instrumentation along with vocal arrangement and harmonies…being that I went to music school I think that widened my approach to music, mixing my street deejay style with polished musical arrangements different chord progressions 9th 7ths diminished etc …scales and arpeggios. So I’m happy I got some formal music training even though I didn’t graduate. I learned a lot from YouTube even after I left music school.”
Being a musician who is exposed to music at the international level, Alex Marley has a lot to say to beginners and others who intend to make music a career:
1. Have faith in the Most High Rastafari… before you try to write a good song try to read some good books so that you may have something substantial to talk about. Even though you can talk about what is currently going on, if u read books such as:
- The Bible, it’s like a history book that relates to the past and the future you can time travel through these pages. It helps you to understand people and world politics.
- Autobiography of highly Selassie is a must read! The most amazing book I ever read. His personality and character is the modern example of how one must live…there is action and drama in the book as well! he struck down the oppressors aircraft with bolts of lightning and defended all of us and our freedom as well as the Ethiopians who took on the entire roman army of tanks and machine guns with swords and lions and a few old guns I learned allot about moral ethics diplomacy and military tactics from this book way more intense than ‘The Art of War’.
I grew up reading allot from a young age as my mom had a big book shelf with the encyclopedia Britannia … she also gave me hardy boys and a book named ‘Captain and the Kings’ by Taylor Caldwell…I was like 8 years old, but I remember that book was about a young boy who was groomed to become president by his rich dad, but figured out all the politicians were corrupt and evil so he didn’t want to be president.
School work was easy, passed all my exams years early. Hardly went to class just read the text book and the syllabus, teachers were like babysitters ;). I was in my first year of university at age 16, besides the fact that I was asked to leave SAINT Georges for selling marijuana and ammunition to other students. I was just bored, the school had no girls because it was catholic and the work wasn’t challenging, plus wanted to act out everything I heard in dancehall music and there was hardly any after school activities. The educational system in Jamaica needs a huge reform.
More great books ‘Fetha Negast’ and ‘Menyelek the 2nd’, also philosophies and opinions of Marcus Garvey and also MarcusGarveypoetry.com.
2. Stay true to yourself and your art form. Search your soul for that song mankind needs to hear not just cause “u wa buss” or “make it in life” and you see big house and fancy cars in music videos. The record company owns most of it and keeps their artiste on a tight leash, many ends up being slaves to the industry and can’t say what they want when they want. Many major celebrities are famous and rich but not happy and lost themselves along the way. Sing from your soul and the Most High will make a way for you.
3. Stay independent as long as possible so when other people come on board they have to respect you and your fan base, the numbers don’t lie…don’t let people boss u around…talent is everything! You are the magnet pulling people in, they might have the business connections, but so can you over time…don’t be afraid to do plenty vocal training and learn an instrument! Too many musically illiterate “super stars” are over produced and over promoted…don’t be afraid to book your own shows… start small aim Big…perform for free in the beginning. If you don’t have any fans…socialize with the people at your concert. Be humble. Learn how to make your own graphics, design your own website, make your press kit, walk into the office of an established music venue and present your product…take yourself seriously and others will take you seriously if you have the product and networking skills to pull it off. Be a people’s person…that was my approach. Most people just try to find a really good business manager to handle all of that for them and sometimes those people ruin you and your art, and rob your money so be careful.
4. Try to form a band if you can. Team work is great if everyone is willing to pull their own weight. Sometimes just by traveling u can meet people and build networks. If you have an outgoing personality you can show investors how they can make money with you. If you have a close friend or relative that believes in you and respects you, let them help with the business and give them a percentage. I manage myself, but also had intelligent girlfriends, lol and good booking agents, and great business associates that helped me along the way. Most of which found me through social media once my brand became more established and people started seeing and hearing about me and my radical stage performances.
5. Don’t be afraid to travel and set up your own events if nobody wants to book you at first. First and foremost focus on the music…I spent so much time touring and not enough recording…give thanks for hits like “money tree” “let it grow” “ganjah anthem” “roots rock lady”, to name a few singles that got hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube organically and songs like “warrior” which has gotten the most radio play.
I often try to ascertain the views of artistes (whether seasoned or new artistes) about challenges/problem they face in the industry. To this Alex responds:
“One problem in the industry locally though is conflicting ideals and morals and a lot of competition in Jamaica, and it’s hard to get your songs on radio….we don’t work together as one industry everybody wanna be the star…and everybody wanna grab the mike. It’s never been just about the money for me though I’ve been very successful as an independent artiste, along with the “Rebel Band”, which includes full horn section etc. We recently did a concert in United Arab Emirates.”
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