With an artistry transcending generations, Bam Marley has passionately navigated the delicate balance of honoring the Marley name while carving a distinct path marked by personal expression and music crafted and powered by his emotions.
As the world learns more about his grandad’s legacy in the new movie Bob Marley: One Love, we chatted with the oldest son of Ziggy Marley about his unique artistic path in a harmonious blend of generational heritage and innovation. Hailing from Jamaica and currently living in LA, Bam talked with us about his latest single, “Eclipse,” his aspirations to score films, and offers a glimpse into the visionary journey he has for the future.
Jess Smith: Your grandfather’s music and the name “Marley” are larger-than-life entities that almost seem mythical in how they’ve transcended nations and generations. Sometimes, being a part of that kind of lineage can be both a blessing and a curse. How do you navigate between honoring your family’s musical heritage and not being pigeonholed into a particular sound?
Bam Marley: Uhm, as interesting as this question is I get it all the time but to me there is no need to navigate between honoring family and being pigeonholed in regard to sound. I feel like being yourself is honoring your own legacy and lineage. Being yourself is essential.
JS: Has your perspective on life and music been shaped by being part of the family lineage?
BM: I would say it is given, you grow up in it. It developed me into a person that listens keenly, is very observing, and dedicated to pursuing dreams. It shaped my work ethic and taught me a lesson about how powerful music with a positive message is. In regard to being part of this family, it kept me grounded and intrigued in finding out what this world is about more. It allows me to be a dreamer and visionary.
JS: Who in your family do you pull from the most when it comes to asking for advice or getting inspired by them musically?
BM: Hahaha, there is not one person. It is the source and as a collective, we all pull from each other as a strength, and we are all available to each other either it is musical advice or personal. Overall, I am inspired by my family, the whole entirety.
JS: As we talk about your family lineage, I’m wondering if you have gotten a chance to see Marley: One Love yet?
BM: Yes. Yes, I have and it is phenomenal, I recommend everyone to watch it. No spoilers, haha.
JS: You said your song “Eclipse” manifested in a dream after you watched the movie Mune. Are you going to revisit this idea of opposing sounds creating harmony in more of your songs?
BM: Uhm, great question. I feel like one of the things that pulls me into music is what hasn’t been tried out yet. Not to say it has not been done, but I have not done it. I would say yes, definitely more songs are from that feeling because I represent different worlds in music in one.
JS: “Eclipse” is a lot more atmospheric and airy than some of your tracks like “Beyond,” which had a more gritty vibe to it. Is this the direction you’re looking to go into with your music now, or do you want to experiment with a bunch of different sounds?
BM: I would not call it experimenting with a bunch of different sounds, more so an intentional process of creating something that makes me feel alive. So, my sound is an expression of my emotions along with the feeling of the world.
JS: Speaking of movies, are you just going to focus on music now or do you see yourself delving more into the acting world after your debut in Vagabonds?
BM: I definitely see myself doing more acting, uhm, and not just acting, but I really would like to score films as well. Movies play a big role in my creative process.
JS: Who are some features you’d have on your ideal album that might surprise some people?
BM: Lenny Kravitz, Burna Boy, Victoria Monét, Tame Impala or Ziggy Marley.
JS: I was being nosey and saw Syd from The Internet liked some of your IG posts. Could we ever have a collaboration with them in the future?
BM: We are like fam. We have created in the past and we continue to create. We are all making great music, so time will tell.
JS: What’s next for you? Could we see a full-length album or see your names on some festival lineups soon?
BM: Currently, preparing to put out a project called Time Never Fails, and getting ready to go into the studio for a full-length project for later this year. As for festivals and shows, I am ready whenever they are.