Thursday, October 08, 2009

Julian 'JuJu' Marley Ready to 'Awake' the U.S.

Singer Julian 'Juju' Marley has a lot on his plate of late, what with the April release of his third album, Awake, and the start of his cross-country tour of the United States.

Despite his hectic schedule, when The Gleaner spoke with Marley recently at the Bob Marley Museum on Hope Road, he was mellow when talking about his new music. Marley and his Uprising Band begin their US tour today in Jacksonville, Florida. Accompanying him on tour will be his brother Stephen Marley and Ghetto Youth International artiste Javaughn. "I'm looking forward to going on the road. I hope I'll be getting a good response. I have very good music to give di people and music is di message, so I hope it is embraced," said Marley.

The music will be from the rootsy Awake, which has been labelled as the artiste's best album to date. Awake comes after the release of his 1996 debut album, Lion in the Morning, and his 2003 sophomore album, Time and Place.

Marley said Awake was two years in the making and was inspired by the Almighty and his experiences during that time. The album was recorded in Miami, Jamaica and London and features brother Damian 'Junior Gong' Marley as well as production work from himself, his brothers, the Uprising Band, Owen 'Dreddy' Reid and Noel Davey.

"This album is about everything I have to talk about. The title track Awake speaks for every song on the album. It's different from the other albums in that it's been quite a few years and I've grown. My voice has gotten more mature and I'm not as shy as before, writing wise," he said.

The first song released from the album was the herb-inspired Boom Draw, closely followed by Violence in the Streets, which Marley feels is applicable to every country. Violence in the Streets features Damian Marley and an edgy video for the song was released recently.
"I choose that song to do as the first video from di album 'cause I needed something hardcore to shove at di whole system 'cause dere is too much violence in di streets. It's gonna earthquake di place and it's a hard King Tubby's riddim," he said.

An admirer of current acts such as Tarrus Riley and Queen Ifrica, Marley describes himself as a "roots man" who loves to listen to old-school music. While Marley hasn't played a lot in Jamaica, he's hoping to do so soon to introduce Jamaica to his new music. He cites Africa, Europe and America as having his biggest fan base.

As for the future, Marley hopes to continue on the same path of putting out good music and exposing new talent through the Marley brothers label, Ghetto Youths International.

(The Gleaner, 10/8/09)