Damian Marley Biography
Damian was two years old when his father died; he is the only child born to Marley and Cindy Breakspeare, Miss World 1976. Damian's nickname Junior Gong is derived from his father's nickname of Tuff Gong. Damian has been performing since the age of 13. He shares, along with most of the Marley family, a full-time career in music. Unlike his brothers and sisters, however, his musical specialty is "toasting", a Jamaican vocal technique that is a predecessor to rapping.
His 1996 debut "Mr. Marley," awed critics and fans. His sophomore release, "Halfway Tree" was released in 2001 and received the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. His third album, "Welcome to Jamrock" was released in September 2005. This album propelled Jr. Gong to the forefront of today's reggae scene. "Welcome to Jamrock" centers on poverty and politics in Jamaica. Damian stated that "Welcome to Jamrock" is about hope and he wants to continue to spread that throughout his music." At the 2006 Grammy Awards, he won Best Reggae Album and Best Urban/Alternative Performance for "Welcome to Jamrock." He is the only Jamaican reggae artist in history to win two Grammy Awards on the same night. He is also the only reggae artist to win in the Best Urban/Alternative Performance category at the Grammy Awards. "Welcome to Jamrock" was considered the best reggae song of the decade by the New York Times. He is currently in the studios with Nas working on a collaborative album entitled "Distant Relatives," which is slated to release August 2009. The album title is inspired by Nas and Damian’s relationship, but also their shared African ancestry, which is a common thread throughout the album.
In 2004 Damian participated in the 27-city Bob Marley Roots, Rock, Reggae Festival Tour with his four brothers, Ziggy, Julian, Stephen and Ky-Mani whom all have their own professional recording careers.
Damian frequently tours with his brothers Julian and Stephen, who are both members of the Ghetto Youths Crew. In December 2006 Damian appeared alongside of brothers Stephen and Julian in Stephen's music video "The Traffic Jam". In 2004, Damian recorded a song with hip hop group Cypress Hill called 'Ganja Bus' on their album Till Death Do Us Part. Damian Also appears on the song "Get a Light" by Snoop Dogg. This song is on the album "Tha Blue Carpet Treatment." He also made a song with Redman and Method Man from The Wu-Tang Clan. He is also featured on a recent Gwen Stefani remix "Now That You Got It" (produced by Swizz Beatz).
January 25, 2005 was the release date of Morgan Heritage's album 'Full Circle', Damian Marley appeared on the song 'Girlz 'Round The World'
During mid-2006, Damian went on tour with musical artist Ben Harper all around the US. He played in many known stages, such as Central Park New York. He was also one of the many artists who played at the inaugural Osheaga Festival, in Montreal.
In May 2006, Marley performed at KROQ Weenie Roast. In June 2006, Marley performed at Bonnaroo Music Festival. In July 2006, Damian should have played at the Danish music festival Roskilde Festival, however he had to cancel due to troubles with customs.
On January 7, 2006 Marley conducted the main performance at Peace Fest in Trinidad.
On September 19, 2006 Marley became the first reggae artist to perform for the popular PBS show Austin City Limits.
Damian also participated in Season 3 of Extreme Makeover Home Edition by performing a special concert for the Rainford family, in which the father Dunstin was a Jamaican native.
Over the last year he has played numerous University homecomings including Emory and Indiana, often accompanied by his brother Stephen. Stephen was also present when Damian played music festivals such as Miami's Bang, Earth Day in San Francisco and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April 2007 in Indio, CA.
Damian was the opening act for Van Halen during their 2007 Reunion tour concerts in Philadelphia.
Damian performed at the June Black Arts festival in Hunstville, Alabama on June 2007, alongside his second cousin Lance "Wayne" Marley.
Damian recently did a song with pop sensation Gwen Stefani. The two made a remix version to the song "Now That You Got It" off of the album The Sweet Escape. Stefani now performs this song on her Sweet Escape Tour.
Furthermore a collaboration with Guru has been released on Jazzmatazz 4, "Stand Up Some Things'll Never Change" in 2007
Damian recorded his song "Welcome to Jamrock" in Simlish for "The Sims 2: Bon Voyage", an expansion pack in the The Sims series. The song also featured on Fifa 06 soundtrack.
He also collaborated with Mariah Carey on her new album E=MC² (April 15, 2008) on a song called "Cruise Control." The two recorded the song together in Boca Raton , Florida in December 2007.
Damian recently appeared at the Sonoma County Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa on June 7, 2008.
Damian also made an appearance at the 1st annual Romantic Rhythms Music Festival on the island of Antigua in the Caribbean. He appeared alongside a varied list of entertainers such as Shaggy, Lionel Ritchie, Kenny Rogers, Keyshia Cole, Maxi Priest and Brian McKnight, to name a few. The festival ran from June 13 to 15, 2008.
Damian has also helped out on B-Real's debut solo album with the song FIRE.
Damian and Stephen's latest release is a song called "the Mission" a track from Reggae Gold 2008 Album. The track was produced by Trevor "Baby G" James.
Every February in Miami, Damian and his brothers perform at his family's annual Caribbean Festival in honor of his late father Bob Marley. There is a concert planned for 2/28/2009 in Bayfront park.
A song of his, Something For You (One Loaf Of Bread) also produced by Trevor "Baby G" James , appears on hit videogame FIFA 09.
In 2009, Damian Marley and Nas are slated for an international tour after the release of their collaborative album Distant Relatives.
Damian Marley is also slated to perform at the Rock the Bells hip hop festival this summer. The concert will hit 10 North American Cities from June 27 and Aug 9. The festival will include, Common, Nas, The Roots and Big Boi along with others. The tour will make stops in Chicago, Toronto, Washington, D.C., Boston, New York, Detroit, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and Vancouver.
Born as Damian Marley, he was nicknamed "Jr. Gong" in honour of his legendary father, Bob "Tuff Gong" Marley. He has 13-half siblings total; 11 on his father's side and 2 on his mother's side. Damian was only two years old when his father died, killed by the spread of melanoma to his lungs and brain, at 36 years of age. Damian has been in the music business since he was a child. He began performing as the vocalist for a group called The Shepherds. The Shepherds performed at several shows in Jamaica including the Reggae Sunsplash music festival in 1992. After The Shepherds' demise, Damian turned his vocal talents to deejaying. In 1993 Damian's debut single "Deejay Degree" was released on Tuff Gong Records (the label founded by Bob Marley) and the following year he released "Sexy Girls On My Mind" for the Main Street label.
Damian's next release 1995's "School Controversy" was featured on the Epic\Sony Wonder compilation, "POSITIVELY REGGAE" with all sales proceeds going to Jamaica's Leaf of Life Foundation, an organization which assists children who are HIV positive. Although he was still a teenager, Damian was selected as the "POSITIVELY REGGAE" spokesperson, a role that introduced him to the international press and record buying public. The same year Damian performed at select dates on the Shabba Ranks World Unity tour and with his brother Julian performed at Jamaica's Reggae Sunfest and Sunsplash festivals. His first album, "Mr. Marley," was released in 1996. He is Rastafari and his music reflects both his beliefs and the Rastafari guiding principles of one love, one planet, and freedom for all nations. While he travels and tours the better part of the year, his home base is split between Kingston, Jamaica and Miami, Florida. Damian spends a lot of time with his brother Stephen at his "Lion's Den" studio in Miami Dade county Florida. He has a younger half brother Christian and a half sister Leah from his mother Cindy. Leah currently resides in Canada.