Damian Marley Biography

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Damian Marley was born in 1978 is the son of legendary reggae artist Bob Marley and Cindy Breakspear, the Jamaican winner of the 1976 Miss World title. Damian Marley is also known as "Jr Gong" after his father's nickname of "Tough Gong". Damian has 10 half-siblings on his father's side and two siblings on his mother's side. He was raised by his mother and step-father Tom Vincent, a criminal defence lawyer and politician. Bob Marley died when Damien was just 2 years old. Damian was, however, able to spend time at Rita Marley's (Bob's widow's) home with Bob's side of the family.

The Shepherds

Damian Marley began his musical career at a very early age. He formed a band called the Shepherds with Shiah Coore (son of Cat Coore of Third World) and Yashema McGregor (daughter of Judy Mowatt and Freddy McGregor). The Shepherds opened the 1992 reggae sunsplash festival when Marley was just 13 years old. Soon after this the three artists went on to pursue solo careers.

Early solo work

Damian Marley's first solo single was "Deejay Degree" which was released in 1993 on this father's Tough Gong label. In 1994 he released "Sexy Girls on my Mind" and in 1995 he recorded the track "School Controversy" for the album "Positively Reggae" which raised money for HIV positive children.

Solo albums

In 1996 Damian Marley released his first album, "Mr Marley" on his father's Tough Gong label.

This album was followed up with the critically acclaimed "Halfway Tree" in 2001. Halfway Tree won the 2002 Grammy award for the best reggae album and established Damian Marley as a force to be reckoned with.

This was followed up with the hard-hitting "Welcome to Jamrock" in 2006. This album won two Grammys in 2006, one for Best Reggae Album and Best Urban / Alternative Album.

Damian Marley's fourth album was "Distant Relatives", a collaboration with American rapper Nas which was released in 2010. Distant relatives is an African themed concept album.


Jr Gong also participated in the "Superheavy" supergroup project. Superheavy was made up of Mick Jagger, Damian Marley, Joss Stone, Dave Stewart, A R Rahman and was recorded at Jim Henson's studios in Los Angeles. Over 35 hours of music was recorded at these sessions, this was honed to twelve tracks and released as an eponymous album in September 2011.

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