Robert Nesta Marley (6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981)
So much has already been written about Bob Marley. Thirty six years after his death his influence still lives on all over the world. Personally, he has had the greatest influence on my musical journey for many reasons. I clearly remember when Bob Marley got shot seeing this as a news item on the BBC news. It was at that moment that I realized what a global star Bob Marley had become.
As with many great people their time in this world can only be put in context when they are gone. The influence Bob Marley had on reggae cannot be understated and even now there is no one artist who can claim to pick up the mantle he left and take reggae to new heights.
One of my early memories of Bob Marley, which really sealed his greatness in my eyes, was seeing Bob Marley on the main news bulletin. Back then, a black man with dreadlocks on the news was less frequent than a lunar eclipse. Anyway, the main impact he left on me was the power of music. He proved that music really can change things, it is some thing that can bring the most diverse personalities together. It can be a banner to focus the mind as we saw in the UK with the 'BandAid' concerts. This is something that is always at the back of my mind when I am songwriting. The song isn't just words it is creative energy that can grow and lead to change on a personal level or any other level.
In 2016 Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature. It was awarded to Dylan for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition". There's no doubt that for 50 years Dylan has been writing songs that include socially conscious topics. However, if the award was to be based on conscious lyrics, then, I am sure that Bob Marley would be right up there.
Although, he is no longer with us physically Bob Marley's words of wisdom are constantly quoted on the internet and are still a source of inspiration. One thing this all proves is the power that music has to touch people and from this feeling can come forth action.
It is different now reggae has many sub-genres, Dancehall, Lovers Rock, Roots & Culture, Dub etc. But the time has come for us reggae songwriters, musicians and producers to put even more focus on sending positive messages, no matter how hard it is to get exposure for the music. With the help of listeners, fans and like-minded people we can succeed.