Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Interview with Cedella Marley, Author of "Every Little Thing"

Cedella Marley is a writer, designer, philanthropist, musician, mother and the eldest daughter of reggae legend Bob Marley. In carrying on her father's legacy, the entrepreneur has achieved a huge amount of success in her own right. Not only was Cedella famously a member of Grammy Award-winning band The Melody Makers, led by her brother Ziggy, but she's earned international renown as a fashion designer and brand ambassador. This venture included a design collaboration with PUMA for the 2012 Jamaican Track and Field Olympic kit (worn by world record holder and gold medalist Usain Bolt).

While Cedella's accomplishments go on and on, we're particularly excited about her work as a children's book author. She's the voice behind One Love and Every Little Thing, wildly successful reads that are bringing Bob Marley's spirit and lyrics to a whole new generation. The latter title also inspired Adventure Theater MTC's Bob Marley's Three Little Birds, which arrives at The New Victory Theater for a three-week run this Friday!

We recently got to chat with Cedella, who told us more about her relationship with her dad, explained the messages theater-goers will take away from the show, and told us a little more about what's next for her!

Can you tell us a favorite memory about your dad? How did he involve you in his art?
I truly loved the time our family spent together on the beach of Bull Bay, running, eating fresh catch and basically enjoying family time. I would often listen in on rehearsal, but when you have a musician for a father, you are always surrounded by music and always involved.

Why do you think it’s important for kids to be exposed to the arts and music?
It’s not important, it’s crucial! Music and art are not only creative and emotional, they are mathematic and historic. Music is universal and unifies people of all walks of life. Art is a culture's visual history that can never be replaced.

Can you remember your first experience seeing a musical? What impression did live theater have on you?
In Jamaica, we actually refer to musicals as Pantomimes. The first Pantomime I saw was called Brashana O and was based on the legendary Rolling Calf, of Jamaican folklore. The belief is that the Rolling Calf is really a "duppy," meaning the creature takes on this form of the calf, but has the ability to change if and when necessary into the form of other animals. I LOVED the live theater, filled with energy! It was then that I was bitten by the acting bug.

We know you were born in Jamaica, but now live in the U.S. How do you share your heritage with your kids? 
Our heritage is very important to my family. Beyond reading and teaching the history of Jamaica and Ethiopia, we always eat traditional Jamaican food, observe Jamaican holidays and more. Two out of three of my boys were born in Jamaica, and our home is a Jamaican household. Additionally my children learn about our heritage through our music and through my stories about growing up in Jamaica.

What do you hope kids and families take away from your book, this show, and the music of Bob Marley, if this is their first interaction with these songs?
I hope they take away the positive message my father voiced in his lyrics, that no matter what life presents you, through strength, positivity and support from your loved ones, every thing will be alright. I want kids to know that it is OK to make mistakes and the most important thing a parent can do to reinforce this is be patient, try to understand their children, and support them.

Additionally, I want families to teach younger generations to respect and observe nature, as it was an inspiration for the song "Three Little Birds." My father’s music has a happy energy that kids can intuitively feel. The beat is infectious and can wake you up or put you to sleep. I hope first-time listeners will take away a love for his melodies.

Why is it so important for you to carry on your father’s legacy? 
It’s important for us to carry on his legacy because he and his work mean so much to so many people in the world. His work is timeless, so we want to further embrace it by adapting his work into new mediums like this show.

Can you tell us a little bit more about your own work - as a designer, musician, author and more? What's next for you?
I have been blessed to work on many creative projects in my life. From performing with my family in The Melody Makers to designing our own apparel lines, and having the honor to design the Jamaican Kit for the 2012 Summer Olympics, I have learned so much! I think it’s important to look for inspiration in every facet of life -- your environment, your family, your travels and more. As for what's next, first and foremost, my focus is being a mother and wife, but there are lots of amazing creative projects in the works. Stay tuned!

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