The second son of Bob and Rita Marley, eight time Grammy winning musician and producer Stephen was born on April 20, 1972; he began his career as a precocious six-year old singing, dancing and playing percussion with his siblings in the group The Melody Makers whose first single “Children Playing in The Streets” was produced by their father in 1979 and released on Tuff Gong, the label founded by Bob in the late 60s. While still a teenager he assisted in the production of The Melody Makers’ albums including their three Best Reggae Album Grammy winners “Conscious Party” (Virgin Records, 1989) “One Bright Day” (Virgin Records, 1990) and “Fallen Is Babylon” (Elektra Entertainment, 1998).
In 1993 Ziggy and Stephen founded Ghetto Youths International as a means of controlling their own music and helping upcoming artists. Stephen’s earliest solo production efforts for Ghetto Youths International includes his late grandmother’s (Cedella Booker) album “My Altar”, followed in 1995 by the Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers single “Works To Do” and younger brother Damian’s “10,000 Chariots”. In 1996 Damian released his debut album “Mr. Marley”, on the Ghetto Youths imprint, on which Stephen played several instruments and wrote most of the songs, as well as producing the album.
The first project that brought Stephen’s production capabilities widespread attention was “Chant Down Babylon”, where he audaciously manipulated his father’s original vocal outtakes from the 1970s Island Records’ sessions, splicing them into duets with hip-hop and R&B artists, while updating the Wailers’ richly textured one-drop rhythms with an assortment of samples, loops and overdubs. “Chant Down Babylon” achieved its objective of bringing Bob’s music to a new generation of fans, earned a Grammy nomination, was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America and has sold more than one million copies worldwide.