Like his father, reggae pioneer Bob Marley, and several of his siblings before him, Julian Marley pursued the life of a musician, becoming a fixture in the reggae world as a singer, songwriter, producer, and collaborator. Proficient on a number of instruments from a young age, Julian worked with brothers Stephen, Damian, and Ky-Mani Marley as part of the Ghetto Youth Crew before releasing his own solo debut, Lion in the Morning, in 1996. Touring globally both with his backing band, the Uprising, and as part of various other Marley family-related projects, Julian's solo career reached a new level with 2009's critically acclaimed Awake, which earned a Grammy nomination. A devout Rastafarian, his songs promote themes of goodwill, spirituality, and social justice.
The ninth of Bob Marley's children, Julian Marley was born in London on June 4, 1975 to Barbados native Lucy Pounder. Raised in both England and Jamaica, he took to the family business at a young age and displayed a natural musical ability on guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards. He spent some time during his teenage years living in Miami, where he developed his creative abilities at the Lion's Den, a studio owned by the Marley family. Along with brothers Ziggy and Stephen, he became involved with the family charity production company and label, Ghetto Youth International, which in the early '90s branched out into the Ghetto Youth Crew, a touring group that featured Julian, Stephen, Damian, and Ky-Mani Marley. Julian made his solo debut with 1996's Lion in the Morning. Recorded in Jamaica at Tuff Gong Studios where his father had created some of his best-known music, the album was credited to Julian Marley & the Uprising and featured a host of guest artists including Wailers member Tyrone Downie and siblings Stephen, Sharon, and Cedella Marley. In addition to touring around the world with the Uprising, he also joined his brother Damien's band during for a Lollapalooza tour and played guitar on Lauryn Hill's Grammy-winning 1998 LP The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
Julian continued to do occasional solo tours with the Uprising while also joining other members of the Marley clan on the road and in the studio. He resumed his own solo recording career with A Time and Place, which was released in 2003 via Tuff Gong and Lightyear Entertainment. The following summer, he and all of his musical brothers united for the touring Roots, Rock, Reggae Festival where they honored their father's catalog while playing cuts from their own albums as well. This united family band also made stops in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Jamaica over the next few years and in 2008, Julian and the Uprising were invited to perform at the Olympic Summer Games in Beijing where they represented Jamaica.
Released by Universal and the family's own Ghetto Youth United label, 2009's Awake proved to be a breakout album for Julian, earning a Best Album of the Year award at the International Reggae and World Music Awards and a Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album. In the years that followed, Julian continued to tour occasionally, nurturing a diverse international fan base through stops in Morocco, Bangladesh, and Switzerland. A full decade passed before he followed up Awake with his fourth solo album, As I Am, in 2019. Another family affair, the sessions were co-produced by his brothers Stephen and Damian Marley. ~ Timothy Monger