CULTURE
Julian Marley Opens Up About a Family Loss and His Ongoing Cannabis Activism
The son of Bob Marley and Lucy Pounder is back on tour after a devastating family tragedy. Here, he discusses Rastafarianism, bringing love to the masses, and the powers of cannabis.
Published on August 13, 2019

Photos courtesy of Joey Clay

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice” – Bob Marley

Born in London 44 years ago, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Julian Ricardo Marley is known as a devout Rastafari, true humanitarian, dedicated father, and son to Bob Marley and Lucy Pounder. His strength as an artist relates to an ability to bring love, compassion, and awareness to the masses. 

Inspired by pioneering reggae musicians like Toots and the Maytals, Peter Tosh, and King Tubby, Julian has embraced the genre and made it his own by incorporating a myriad of styles. In other words, Julian creates music that accommodates the modern day listener while staying true to his familial and reggae lineage. 

Raised as a Rastafarian, Julian Marley has a holistic perspective on cannabis, viewing the plant as one of Jah’s greatest gifts. In line with his deep-rooted spirituality, Julian has a globally recognized brand of CBD and cannabis products called JUJU Royal – Ultra Premium, including selectively-cultivated strains derived from ethical sources. 

MERRY JANE had the chance to speak with Julian about his upcoming As I Am tour, kicking off August 16 on the West Coast. The album, produced by Julian along with brothers Stephen and Damian Marley, is his first since the Grammy-nominated LP Awake was released in 2009. On top of waxing poetic about the new record, Marley briefly discussed a recent tragedy in the family, as well as how cannabis can help those suffering. 

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MERRY JANE: It’s been ten years since your last album release. What did it take to begin producing music again, and what inspiration is behind As I Am

Julian Marley: The inspiration for the music always comes from Jah, love, and inspiration from the musical styles like jazz, blues, and funk. I started recording the album in Jamaica two and a half years ago, and finished it between Miami and the UK. The name of the album came from, well, I don’t know how to describe it, so it just is... as I am. And the music that we play represents uplifting the people, healthy living, Jah, spirituality, and the herb. For me, reggae represents wellness, organic foods, purity, and healing. Our people have been advocating this message for over 60 years through reggae music. 

Your new single “Broken Sail,” alongside its video, has garnered acclaim as your best self-written song on the album. Can you tell me a little bit more about the track and its meaning for you? 

Well, I feel like the world is in a bad state right now, as to the social issues we face in the world. Sometimes, the world feels like a boat with a broken sail on a stormy day, many miles away from shore. Can you imagine that? 

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Cleopatra Cohen
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Cleopatra Cohen’s mission is to heal the damage done by the War on Drugs via several multimedia platforms. She specializes in entertainment journalism and writing for the cannabis industry in a way that makes a deep impact on society.
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