As a celebrated musician and bearer of the most recognizable name in reggae, Damian Marley is often on tour.
"Jamaica is still home in terms of my heart, though," said Mr. Marley, 37, who is to perform on the Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise in November. "I was born and raised in Kingston, where my mom still lives, and even though I also live in Miami, when I talk about home, I'm always talking about Jamaica."
Below are excerpts from a conversation with Damian, a son of Bob Marley, about traveling abroad and coming home.
Q. When you return to Kingston, how do you get that sense of being back?
A. I often go to the Bob Marley Museum. It's like a home base. But other than that it's the people and the culture. I love going to Hellshire Beach. They serve fried fish and what we call festival, which is like cornmeal mixed with flour. They make it into a fried cake that is unique to Jamaica. Every weekend as kids we used to go to the beach to swim and afterward get fried fish and festival and bammy [a traditional flatbread made with cassava].
Your father said he was first exposed to music in Kingston. What types of music were you exposed to there?
I grew up listening to a lot of dance hall music. In those years, it was people like Shabba Ranks and Ninjaman and Peter Metro. Kingston is still very much the hub for music. It's the capital and most of the runnings and happenings in the country in terms of TV promotion happen there.
In 2005 your album "Welcome to Jamrock" contrasted Jamaica's image as a sandy paradise for tourists with the struggles faced by citizens who were living amid poverty and violence in its slums. Has the last decade brought any positive changes?
With the Internet becoming so popular, there are more opportunities for people to be exposed to and reach out to the world. When it comes down to government programs that help build a critical foundation for young people, I don't think there has been that much change. However, there is probably more awareness and more conversations about the need for change.
You once said you were lucky to be on the frontier of the resurrection of roots music. Where is the audience for reggae today?
I think for a long time Jamaica wasn't producing much roots music, but over the past three or four years it's becoming very popular again, not only here but also in places like India and Europe. I just came back from a tour in South America and we got a great reception in Colombia. The world over embraces it and they know Bob Marley. You could always sing "One Love" to people in places like China and they'll enjoy that.
Which countries inspire you the most?
Every place has something special about it. I had a good time in California when I went to the redwood forest, where they have trees that cars can drive through and these great rock formations that remind you of the life span of that place, versus the lifetime of a human being. Redwoods have been around longer than any person walking the Earth, so in that way it was very humbling and shows you the awesomeness of nature.
It's also very interesting when you go to a place where English is not their primary language and you see how they respond to the music. Where you have a conversation with people who can't respond in English and yet they're able to sing the songs back to you. When people are breaking language barriers to come see you, that means a lot.