Stephen “Ragga” Marley, the eight-time Grammy Award winner, is back on the road again. His Babylon By Bus tour kicked off on July 5 and will visit 50 cities before concluding on Sept. 12. Just as his father, Bob Marley, did, Stephen Marley will bring the message of love and unity through the power of music. Fans can expect Marley to cover music from his solo studio albums as well as cover some of his father’s classics.
Rolling out sat down with Marley to discuss his music career, tour and family legacy.
Your children are on tour with you, what’s that been like?
It is always a blessing to have my children join me on tour, just as I did with my father. Shacia and Jo Mersa are both coming into their own sound. Shacia just wrapped a DJ gig at Essence Fest. Jo has been on the road with me multiple times. He now has his own allegiance of fans. Babylon By Bus tour is a powerhouse of our sounds and how they blend together.
Tell us about Ghetto Youths International Label and the Ghetto Youths Foundation.
Ghetto Youths International is our family-owned record label run by my brothers Damian, Julian and me. It allows us to work closely with each other. We release our own material as well as other like-minded talent. Our non-profit Ghetto Youths Foundation provides resources to communities in need. Right now, we are working on building a homework center in Trench Town, Jamaica, where my father was raised. Education is key for progression. Proceeds from this tour will go directly towards this cause.
You started singing professionally at the age of 7. What has that journey been like?
It is a wonderful journey. I give thanks to Jah every day for another morning to rise and do what I love.
What is the greatest or proudest moment of your career?
It is hard to pick one, on stage is always a great feeling. Every time I see the power of music and the unity it can bring, it evokes joy, whether it is me or someone else.
Name three people who have inspired you in your life or your music career.
My father, my siblings and my children.
Your father is legendary. What is his legacy and how do you keep it alive while creating your own legacy?
My father’s music sparked hope, love and change in people during a time when we needed it most. It is important for me to keep this message alive with his music and my own.
Many of your siblings are in the industry. Will there be a Marley family album?
Ha, I hope so. It has to be the right timing for all of us. Ghetto Youths International Presents Set Up Shop Vol. 1, Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 are a nice starting pointing to check out some of our more recent material together as well as showcasing additional talent on our GYI label.