Damian Robert Nesta “Jr. Gong” Marley (born 21 July 1978) is a Jamaican reggae artist. Damian is the youngest son of reggae legend Bob Marley. Damian was 2 years old when his father died; he is the only child born to Marley and Cindy Breakspeare, Miss World 1976. Damian’s nickname Junior Gong is derived from his father’s nickname of Tuff Gong. Damian has been performing since the age of 13.
Early releases (1992-04)
At age 13, he formed a musical group by the name of the Shephards, which included the daughter of Freddie McGregor and son of Third World’s Cat Core. The group opened the 1992 Reggae Sunsplash festival. The band fell apart in the early 1990s and Damian started his solo career.
With the backing of his father’s label, Tuff Gong, he released his 1996 debut album Mr. Marley which surprised many who were unaccustomed to hearing a Marley deejaying rather than singing. Marley released his second studio album Halfway Tree. The name “Halfway Tree” comes from his mother, Cindy Breakspeare, being from the rich part of town, and his father, Bob Marley, coming from the poor part of town, thus him being “a tree halfway in between the ‘rich’ world and ‘poor’ world.” Additionally, Halfway Tree is a well-known landmark that marks the cultural center of Half-Way-Tree, the clock tower that stands where the historical eponymous cotton tree once stood is featured prominently behind Marley on the cover of the album. The album was released on 11 September 2001 and received the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. It was co-produced by Damian Marley and his brother Stephen Marley, who had also produced Damian’s debut album Mr Marley.