WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29th, 2011
Mainroom / 8:00 pm / 18+
$20.00 adv | $20.00 doorFirst Avenue 701 First Avenue North Minneapolis, MN 55403-1327 United States Phone: 612-332-1775
Tickets: CLICK HERE
Sightline Seating: CLICK HERE
Few people were surprised when Stephen Marley’s long awaited debut solo album Mind Control (Tuff Gong/Ghetto Youths/Universal Republic) premiered at No. 1 on the Billboard Reggae Album chart in March 2007; after all, the singing, songwriting and production excellence Stephen had brought to other Marley family projects over the years, including younger brother Damian’s two Grammy Award winning albums, practically guaranteed Mind Control would be a remarkable effort. And indeed it was: Mind Control is that rare self-produced set featuring a cohesive range of diversified styles, each delivered with equal proficiency. Also unsurprising was the widespread critical acclaim that accompanied Mind Control's release: Interview Magazine called it “a quiet masterpiece, easily the best effort from a Marley progeny” while Entertainment Weekly hailed it as “the best Marley album in a generation.” Mind Control was bestowed with the Best Reggae Album Grammy in 2008 while its unplugged version Mind Control-Acoustic was similarly honored in 2010, increasing Stephen’s Grammy Award total, earned from his various roles on assorted Marley family projects, to seven, a record-setting number for a Jamaican artist.
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The second son of Bob and Rita Marley, Stephen was born on April 20, 1972; he began his career as a precocious six-year old singing, dancing and playing percussion with his siblings in the group The Melody Makers whose first single “Children Playing In The Streets” was produced by their father in 1979 and released on Tuff Gong, the label founded by Bob in the late 60s. Just like his older brother Ziggy, Stephen acquired his initial studio skills by watching his father. While still a teenager he assisted in the production of The Melody Makers’ albums including their three Best Reggae Album Grammy winners: 1989's Conscious Party, 1990's One Bright Day, and 1998's Fallen Is Babylon. In 1993, Ziggy and Stephen founded Ghetto Youths International as a means of controlling their own music and helping upcoming artists.
The first project that brought Stephen’s production capabilities widespread attention was Chant Down Babylon, where he audaciously manipulated his father’s original vocal outtakes from the 1970s Island Records’ sessions, splicing them into duets with hip-hop and R&B artists, while updating the Wailers’ richly textured one-drop rhythms with an assortment of samples, loops and overdubs. Chant Down Babylon achieved its objective of bringing Bob’s music to a new generation of fans, earned a Grammy nomination, was certified Gold and has sold more than one million copies worldwide. Stephen’s hip-hop infused dancehall beats were far more fluid and complex on Damian’s 2001 album Half Way Tree with spectacular growth displayed by both the producer and the artist. Stephen demonstrated equal dexterity in creating rugged roots reggae rhythms, which supported the well-crafted, substantial lyrics and the seamlessness of Damian’s vocal flow. Half Way Tree yielded several hits in Jamaica and internationally, and won the 2002 Grammy for Best Reggae album.
Stephen produced and contributed vocals to Damian’s single “Welcome To Jamrock”, the biggest reggae song of 2005. Released in September 2005, Welcome To Jamrock entered the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart at No. 7, a record setting opening week for a reggae artist; it was certified Gold and won the 2006 Reggae Album Grammy while the single was honored for the Best Alternative Hip Hop performance, another first for a Jamaican artist. The success of Welcome To Jamrock increased the anticipation surrounding the release of Stephen’s solo effort and when Mind Control finally arrived, it merited more attention than any Marley family member’s album in recent memory. In early 2010, Stephen contributed vocals to two tracks and produced a third track on Damian Marley and Nas’s lauded album Distant Relatives.
While Stephen has built a formidable reputation handily navigating between genres, his second album The Revelation Pt. 1: The Root Of Life, due out in May 2011, marks a return to roots reggae, because “that is just the way the songs came out of me,” he explained. “Having to tour and having been out there for the past three years, I have been writing a lot of new material and to me and to the people around me, this album is very strong, with some very strong political songs. I wasn’t as excited about Mind Control as I am about this album,” Stephen enthused. “We didn’t plan it, it just came together naturally and sometimes things just work out better that way.”
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