- Damian Marley
Damian Marley Background information Birth name Damian Marley Also known as Junior Gong , Gong ZILLA Born July 21, 1978
Genres Reggae, dancehall, hip-hop, reggae fusion Years active 1996–present Labels Tuff Gong, Ghetto Youth International, Universal Associated acts Ky-Mani Marley, Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley, Julian Marley, Nas, SuperHeavy, K'naan, Bruno Mars
Damian was two years old when his father Bob Marley died; he is the only child born to Marley and Cindy Breakspeare, Miss World 1976. Damian's nickname Junior Gong is derived from his father's nickname of Tuff Gong. Marley has been performing since the age of 13. He shares, along with most of his family, a full-time career in music.
Marley has described his music as "dancehall and reggae. I've noticed...people trying to separate the two of them," he continues. "It's Jamaican culture in general. I don't try to classify or separate."
At age 13, he formed a musical group by the name of the Shephards, which included the daughter of Freddie McGregor and son of Third World's Cat Core. The group opened the 1992 Reggae Sunsplash festival. The band fell apart in the early 1990s and Damian started his solo career.
With the backing of his father’s label, Tuff Gong, he released his 1996 debut album Mr. Marley which surprised many who were unaccustomed to hearing a Marley deejaying rather than singing. Damian’s brother, Stephen Marley, was a producer and co-author for this album.
His second album, Halfway Tree was released in 2001. The cover of Halfway Tree depicts him standing under the clock at halfway tree. This is an embodiment of his parent’s different social origins with this mother from uptown and his father from the ghetto. In Kingston, Jamaica the Halfway Tree was used as a shady halfway point for farmers and vendors who would pass the tree on their route to transport their goods to the downtown market. It brought him much recognition, remaining on the Billboard top reggae albums chart for 158 weeks, and winning the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.
His third album, Welcome to Jamrock was released in September 2005, named after the hugely successful song of the same name. The lyrics to the single "Welcome to Jamrock", which was performed over a riddim produced by Sly and Robbie for Ini Kamoze some 20 years earlier, centered around poverty, politics and crime in Jamaica. While the single was controversial at home over its perceived negative viewpoint of the island, many praised the content of the song. Dr. Clinton Hutton, professor at the University of the West Indies, said of the single, "'Jamrock' uses the icon of the inner city, of alienation, of despair, of prejudice, but of hope, of Jamaican identity, to remind us of the fire of frustration, the fire of creativity, the fire of warning to open up our eyes and look within to the life we are living. And still some of us don't want to hear and to look and say enough is enough." The single reached #13 on the UK Singles Chart and #55 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was also #100 on the Top 100 Songs of the Decade listing by Rolling Stone.
At the 2006 Grammy Awards, he won Best Reggae Album and Best Urban/Alternative Performance for Welcome to Jamrock. He is the only Jamaican reggae artist in history to win two Grammy Awards on the same night. He is also the only reggae artist to win in the Best Urban/Alternative Performance category at the Grammy Awards. The album sold 86,000 copies in its first week of release, and was eventually certified gold after selling 500,000 copies in the United States. Other notable singles from the album include "The Master Has Come Back", "Road to Zion" featuring Nas, and "Khaki Suit" featuring Bounty Killer and Eek-A-Mouse.
On May 17, 2010, Marley released Distant Relatives, a collaborative album with Nas. The album title refers not only to the bond between the artists, but the connection to their African ancestry, which inspired the album both musically and lyrically. They have previously collaborated on “Road to Zion”, on Marley’s Welcome to Jamrock album. The album joins two different flavors of music with Marley’s dub-rock aesthetic and Nas’ flow. Damian and Stephen produced much of the album. The proceeds of this album will go to building schools in the Congo.
Recently, Damian has started work on two new projects. In an interview on Tim Westwood he revealed he had started work on a new album. His street single, released in Jamaica is titled Just Aint The Same. He has also joined Mick Jagger's musical project SuperHeavy with Joss Stone and Jamie Stephens. Their debut single "Miracle Worker" was released on June 6, with the album scheduled for a September release. 
Personal life and beliefs
Born as Damian Marley, he was nicknamed "Jr. Gong" in honour of his legendary father, Bob "Tuff Gong" Marley. His mother is a Jamaican jazz musician, former model and crowned Miss World 1976 Cindy Breakspeare. Damian Marley whose name is often publicly spelled with an e, but one of Bob’s last requests in Germany was to have Damian’s name changed. The movie Damien: Omen II had an impact on Bob, which is about the coming of the Antichrist. “Damien being a devil….It was inappropriate for him as a Rastafarian to have a child with that name,” Bob said and Damian’s name was later changed. He has 13 siblings total; 10 on his father's side and 3 on his mother's side. Damian was two years old when his father died due to the spread of melanoma to his lungs and brain, at 36 years of age. Marley has been in the music business since he was a child. He is a Rastafari and his music reflects both his beliefs and the Rastafari guiding principles of one love, one planet, and freedom for all nations. While he travels and tours the better part of the year, his home base is split between Kingston, Jamaica and Miami, Florida in the United States of America. He has a younger half brother Christian and a half sister Leah from his mother Cindy.
Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
US US R&B US Rap US Reggae 1996 Mr. Marley
- Released: September 9, 1996
— — — 2 2001 Halfway Tree
- Released: September 11, 2001
- Label: Universal Distribution
— — — 2 2005 Welcome to Jamrock
- Released: September 13, 2005
- Label: Universal Distribution
7 4 3 1 US: Gold 2010 Distant Relatives (with Nas)
- Released: May 18, 2010
- Label: Universal Republic Records
- Format: CD
5 1 1 1 2011 SuperHeavy (with SuperHeavy)
- Released: September 16, 2011
- Label: A&M Records
- Format: CD
- - - - "—" denotes releases that did not chart.
Year Title Chart positions Album US US R&B US Rap UK
2005 "Welcome to Jamrock" 55 18 12 13 Welcome to Jamrock "The Master Has Come Back" - - - 74 "Road to Zion" (featuring Nas) - 57 - - 2006 "Beautiful" (featuring Bobby Brown) - - - 39 "All Night" (featuring Stephen Marley) - - - - 2007 "Now That You Got It" (Gwen Stefani feat. Damian Marley) - - - 59 The Sweet Escape 2008 "One Loaf of Bread" - - - - Gang War Riddim 2010 "As We Enter" (Nas & Damian Marley) 116 18 16 39 Distant Relatives 2011 "Nah Mean" (Nas & Damian Marley) - - - - "—" denotes releases that did not chart.
Other charted songs
Year Song Peak Album Digital Songs CAN
2010 "Liquor Store Blues" (Bruno Mars feat. Damian Marley) 68 97 Doo-Wops & Hooligans
- ^ "Grammy Award Winners Search". Grammy.com. http://www.grammy.com/nominees/search?artist=marley&title=&year=All&genre=All. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
- ^ Henry, Krista. Music a means, a message. Jamaica Gleaner. December 22, 2006. Retrieved 2011-3-3.
- ^ Bush, Jon. Damian "Junior Gong" Marley biography. Rovi via MTV.com. Retrieved 2011-3-3.
- ^ a b Moskowitz, David Vlado. Caribbean popular music: an encyclopedia of reggae. 2006. pg 188-189. Retrieved 2011-5-11
- ^ a b Mills, Claude. Damian Marley: Conveying solid, conscious lyrics. Jamaica Gleaner. January 2, 2003. Retrieved 2011-3-2.
- ^ Niaah, Sanjah Stanley. DanceHall: From Slave Ship to Ghetto. 2010. pg 81. Retrieved 2011-5-11.
- ^ Jackson,Steven. Sean Paul Billboard Reggae Artiste of the year/decade. Jamaica Observer. December 18, 2009. Retrieved 2011-3-2.
- ^ Henry, Krista. Old beats, new hits. Jamaica Star. December 15, 2006.
- ^ a b Boyne, Ian. 'WELCOME TO JAMROCK' - A phenomenon. Jamaica Gleaner. October 2, 2005. Retrieved 2011-3-2.
- ^ Cooke, Mel. 'Welcome to Jamrock': A celebration of culture and talent. Jamaica Star. September 12, 2005. Retrieved 2011-3-2.
- ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 350. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- ^ Billboard Singles Chart (Welcome to Jamrock-Damian Marley). AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-3-3.
- ^ 'Jamrock' stands alone. Jamaica Gleaner. December 15, 2009. Retrieved 2011-3-2.
- ^ Evans, Teino. Grammy welcomes Jamrock - Jr. Gong speaks about his double victory. Jamaica Star. February 10, 2006. Retrieved 2011-3-2.
- ^ Brunstad, Svein. Nas and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley are Distant Relatives (Interview). URB. April 19, 2010. Retrieved 2011-3-3.
- ^ Lemmon, Kyle. "Damian Marley, Nas: Distant Relatives", Prefix, 12 May 2009. Retrieved 2011-5-11
- ^ "Mick Jagger's SuperHeavy Supergroup to Drop Album in September". Retrieved 2011-7-23
- ^ White, Timothy. Catch a Fire: the Life of Bob Marley. pg 402. Retrieved 2011-5-11
- ^ Salon. July 28, 2008. Retrieved 2011-5-11.
- ^ "Canadian Hot 100: Oct 1, 2010". Billboard (magazine). Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems. October 1, 2010. Archived from the original on October 3, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5tD397hbF. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
Collaborations Singles Featured singes"Now That You Got It" · Fire Other notable songs"My Generation" Family Related articles
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