As the first born of Bob and Rita Marley, Cedella Marley is a descendant of reggae royalty. As an accomplished singer, an inspiring author, an adventurous fashion designer and visionary entrepreneur, she is a self-made woman, with each aspect of her multifaceted creativity honoring her exalted familial legacy. The world first met Cedella as a singing and dancing teenager with The Melody Makers, the Marley sibling group featuring her younger brothers Ziggy on lead vocals and guitar and Stephen on percussion and vocals. For two decades The Melody Makers toured the world establishing a new generation of Marley musical mystique, as they sold millions of albums and reaped an assortment of prestigious honors including three Grammy Awards.
Cedella balanced the Melody Makers’ rigorous touring schedule with the responsibilities of motherhood (she and her husband have three sons), the management of the Marley family’s numerous business endeavors and the demands of designing her (celebrated) women’s casual wear collection Catch A Fire, named after her father’s first album for Island Records. She is the CEO of Tuff Gong International, the record label founded by her father in 1965 and director of The Bob Marley Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization. Additionally, she oversees Hope Road Merchandising, LLC, a Marley family entity that manages the rights to Bob’s name and likeness, and the Marley merchandising conglomerate House of Marley.
In 1993 Cedella was appointed as C.E.O. of Tuff Gong International where she has played a pivotal role in the expansion of its operations. The Tuff Gong group of companies now includes a renowned state of the art recording studio in Kingston, Jamaica, which is utilized by the island’s top reggae artists and producers, Marley’s sons, and an array of international artists. Tuff Gong also houses a (vinyl) record and CD manufacturing plant, an analog and digital mastering room, a worldwide distribution network, a wholesale and retail record outlet, even a book division.
Touched by creativity, Cedella’s Catch A Fire clothing collection, which debuted to rave reviews in 2001, presented tailored, bohemian-chic jackets, jeans, accessories and an assortment of tees for women. Catch A Fire was featured in numerous top fashion publications including Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily and was carried in major department stores including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. In June 2012 Cedella launched her design collaboration with PUMA for the 2012 Jamaican Track and Field Olympic Kit. The collection was a global success due to the overwhelming media acclaim for the design aesthetic and visibility from the Jamaican team world record achievements. Cedella is currently designing additional collections for the Marley family’s apparel company Zion Rootswear.
Cedella is also an accomplished children's book author, having written The Boy from Nine Miles (The Early Life of Bob Marley), Three Little Birds, One Love and Every Little Thing. Published by Chronicle Books in 2012 is Cedella’s “Every Little Thing” is adapted from the lyrics to her father’s beloved song "Three Little Birds". Debuting in an Off Broadway Children’s play adaptation in 2014 this children's book is a follow up to Chronicles widely successful release last year of "One Love". Adapted from one of Bob Marley’s most beloved songs, One Love brings the joyful spirit and unforgettable lyrics of his music to life for a new generation. This heartwarming picture book offers an upbeat testament to the amazing things that can happen when we all get together with one love in our hearts.
As if all of that weren’t enough to keep her busy, Cedella continues to record with her brothers and for her own projects. Her most notable solo single “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King, was included on the 2010 release “The Disney Reggae Club”, a compilation of famous songs sung by reggae artists (including her brother Ziggy) with the intention of introducing children to Jamaica’s signature rhythm. In 2013 Cedella recorded a very special version of "Get Up, Stand Up" that was included on the "Every Mother Counts Volume 2" compilation for Starbucks. The album is a compilation of music to help benefit Christy Turlington's Every Mother Counts charity, which is an “awareness and mobilization campaign that seeks to reduce the maternal mortality rate.” Although there are great demands on her time as she juggles the aforementioned roles, Cedella’s boundless creativity will not allow her to be limited to previous accomplishments. “I don’t think I can ever reach a plateau where I’m like this is it, I don’t have that type of personality,” she says. “I’m always trying to do something else.”
A life-long advocate of philanthropy, Cedella is the acting director of the Bob Marley Foundation, she supervises a range of programs that provide financial assistance and other resources to various institutions, including
Kingston’s Bustamante Children’s Hospital and Victoria Jubilee Hospital (where Cedella was born); the Stepney Primary and Junior High (Bob’s former school in St. Ann, Jamaica) and the Eira Schrader Golden Age Home located in the west Kingston community of Trenchtown where Bob was raised and later immortalized in the reggae classics “Trenchtown Rock” and “No Woman No Cry”. Some of the Foundation’s current projects include rewarding scholarships/fellowships qualified individuals to attend academic and/or trade institutions in the Caribbean and Africa, as well as continuing education classes, seminars and workshops presented by professionals in the arts, entertainment, music, and sports industries, with the aim of increasing employment opportunities.
Cedella also helms 1Love.org, the family’s networking/charity foundation that partners with global organizations like the United Nations Environment Program and charity: water, directing fans to charitable organizations and causes important to the Marley family. “Dad's message and vision of “One Love” is as relevant today as it was 30 years ago,” says Cedella, “now we can use social media to spread the message and put his words into reality.”
In 2014, Cedella was appointed as Global Ambassador to the Reggae Girlz, Jamaica Women’s Football Program, in order to garner the support and awareness that the team needs to advance to the finals of the Women’s World Cup in Canada 2015. Through her tireless support, the team received adequate funding and product sponsorship enabling their advancement to the CONCACAF World Championship in 2014 and their continued efforts in 2015.
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