• Name : Ky-mani Marley

  • Birthplace : Falmouth - Jamaica W.I.

  • Date of Birth : February 26, 1976

  • Hometown : Miami - Florida, U.S.

  • Instrument : Acoustic guitar, Drums

  • First #1 Single : "Dear Dad"

  • Albums : Like Father Like Son, The Journey

  • Record Label : Gee Street / V2 / Shang

  • Management : Shang Artist Management

  • Favorite Sport : Soccer

  • Most Memorable Moment :
    Performing the National Anthem of
    Jamaica at the world-cup soccer finals between Jamaica/Brasil
    46,000 people at the Orange Bowl

  • Music Awards (without an album) :
    Tamika Reggae Awards (NY)
    Best Male Vocal
    Miami Reggae/Soca Awards
    Best Single
    International Reggae&World Music Awards (Chicago)
    Best New Artist

Although every reggae connoisseur knows that he is the son of... Ky-mani tries to avoid as much as possible to present himself as one of Bob Marley's offspring. By simply dropping his surname. he expresses that he does not want to capitalize on his father's name. And, what is more, it is also an attemp to avoid those critics who tend to approach every release of Marley's children with accusations of nepotism. However, this spirited young DJ-turned-singer cannot deny that he sounds like the "King of Reggae" as Ky-mani's vocal style uncannily resembles his father's "Running Away" style. Besides that Ky-mani utilizes a writing style similar to his father's and he surely possesses a gift for writing lyrics that touch the heart and stir the soul. Regarding his live performances, Ky-mani also has a knack for mesmerizing audiences with his stage presence and those who have had the privilege to see him perform in front of a live audience react unanimously : He sounds like Bob and moves like Bob.

Ky-mani and his mother Anita Belnavis - Jamaica's former table tennis champion - relocated to South Florida when he was 8. His musical and vocal talent already surfaced at an early age. At the tender age of 6 he lived with Marley's drummer Carlton Barrett for a month, due to the fact that his mother was travelling for her sport. During his stay at Barrett's home the ace drummer showed young Ky-mani the ropes on the drums. The trumpet was the next instrument he learned to play, which he did so well that he ended up playing it in the High School band. At the age of 17 he picked up the guitar, thanks to his mother who suggested he should learn the guitar, although he actually didn't have an interest. Ky-mani, who was always a lover of Soccer and American Football never thought he belonged in the world of music. However, family and friends started encouraging him to pursue his deejaying skills and when Ky-Mani made his debut performance at the 1994 Miami Bob Marley Festival he presented himself to the audience with a rough deejay style strongly reminiscent of Buju Banton.

Although the audiences during his first tour, which took him alongside Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley and his grandmother Cedella Marley Booker throughout the U.S. and Mexico, and other performances seemingly liked his deejaying skills, Ky-mani still never took it seriously until one day while hanging out at a studio in Maimi. He was called upon to sing the hook to a song which was being recorded and this is how he realized he truly possessed the talent. Ky-mani changed his vocal style as he was convinced that singing suited him more than the deejaying. From that point in his musical career he received acclaim for sounding like the closest thing to Bob Marley. It's obvious that Ky-mani is musically inspired by his father, but also Luciano, Buju Banton, Everton Blender, Boys II Men, R. Kelly, The Fugees and LL Cool J can be reckoned to the artists who provided him musical inspiration. Ky-mani was subsequently introduced to Clifton 'Specialist' Dillon of Shang Records and in December 1996 Ky-mani signed to this Miami-based record label. In the first half of 1997 he made his debut for this label on 45 with the stimulating and infectious "Sensimillia". This catchy song got great response in the U.S. and was followed by a duet with female deejay Patra entitled "Judge Not".

In the U.S. "Judge Not" achieved mainstream radio play nationwide which made his management arrange for him to do more collaborations with some of the biggest names in the music industry. Next Ky-mani appeared on Shaggy's updated version of Bob Marley's "Thank You Lord", the best track on Shaggy's album "Midnite Lover". Then Ky-mani recorded "Electric Avenue" with Prakarazel "Pras" Michel of the Fugees. He (along with Beenie Man) was also featured on the remix of Wyclef Jean's version of "Guantanamera". Furthermore Ky-mani achieved one gold record for the single "Gotta Be Movin' On Up" - soundtrack for the movie 'Senseless' - which was done with stable mate PM Dawn. Ky-mani definitely established his recording career with the 1997 released debut album "Like Father Like Son" which features 11 cover versions of his father's hits - amongst them "War", No Woman, No Cry", Small Axe" and "Nice Time" - complete with its respective dub versions. However, Ky-mani's debut album has a surprising story as Rhino, the UK-based record label that issued the album, is alleged to have stolen the material, demo tracks that had been prepared in three days. In 1998 his stirring song "Dear Dad" - a seriously heavy open letter to the "King of Reggae" from a loving and respectful son - got such a tremendous response that it became his first #1 hit single. In 1999 Ky-mani's name appeared on the label of the Stone Love produced single "Party In Session", a combination tune featuring some of Jamaica's in demand stars Beenie Man, Buju Banton and Mr. Vegas. And now, Ky-mani delivers his second, much anticipated album release, entitled "The Journey". Saying that Ky-mani's debut album "Like Father Like Son" recognized the past, fully justifies the statement that "The Journey" assures the future !

Teacher & Mr. T.
Sources: Ky-mani's "The Journey" Promotion Info Sheets and Reggae & Global Music Report, Vol. 15#6, 1997.

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