Skip Marley talks family, and music with Vogue

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skip-marley-interview.jpgSkip Marley, 18, grandson of Bob and Rita; son of their first child, Cedella, of Melody Makers renown; and grand-nephew of Queen of Reggae, Marcia Griffiths, recently chatted with Vogue about his family, his muisc and his love for Jamaica.

"Music has always been a part of me, even from when I was born, from my mother, Cedella, to my uncles, all the way back to my grandfather," says Marley, who bears more than a passing resemblance to his grandfather. "I've never been without music. I just took a chance on making my own."

Marley is referring to his debut single, "Cry to Me," which was released in April on Tuff Gong and coproduced by Paul Fakhourie (who has also produced Stephen Marley, Damian Marley, Nas, and Lauryn Hill). "It's a message for this girl-well, all girls who have insecurities and don't think they're good enough," Marley says of the song, a kind of love ballad delivered over soul-inflected guitar. "I just say, 'Let it all go, drop it all, and cry to me if you want.' "

Though the song marks his first official release, Marley is no newcomer to music, having taught himself the piano 10 years ago, later adding guitar, drums, and bass to his repertoire. He was only 15 when he first performed live onstage, while on tour with his uncle Stephen. "I was on tour with him three summers ago, and my uncle was like, 'Tonight you're going to sing,' " Marley remembers. "I was like, 'What?' Because I never sang in front of anybody before. But he trusted me, and said, 'Here you go, sing One Love, sing the chorus.' So I got onstage, hoping I could get all the lyrics right, and from then I was like, 'Wow, this is my thing, this is what I love to do.' "

Marley maintains a close connection to his birthplace, traveling to the island regularly from Miami, where he lives. "I love Jamaica," he says. "It's where I was born and it's my home. So the energy and the good vibes are a natural extension of who I am." One of his first stops, he says, is usually his grandfather's place at 56 Hope Road. "It's a great honor to be a part of that," he says of his family's musical heritage. "We have something to carry forward, a legacy and a message. I just want to make sure that I'm on the right track, and I have my uncles and my mother to guide me."

He also keeps close ties with his fellow Jamaican recording artists, including the singers behind the current roots renaissance. "Me and Jesse Royal are really good friends from six or seven years ago," Marley says. "We haven't talked about recording a track together yet, but that would be easy. Just like, 'You want to drop a song? Boom.' "

When he's not recording music, Marley can often be found playing soccer, a pastime his grandfather also famously enjoyed.