|Rohan Marley with the Bag of Riddim portable audio system from House of Marley
A spitting image of his dad, Rohan Marley — reggae superstar Bob Marley’s fifth son — was in Bangalore to launch House of Marley, a line of music merchandise, on Tuesday. The footballer-turned-entrepreneur chatted with t2 on the phone...
It’s sad you didn’t come to Calcutta…
(Laughs) I promised myself a trip… a personal trip. I am doing this launch here and then I am going to Israel.
How much of an influence has your dad and his music been when it comes to House of Marley?
The House of Marley was created as a family business. We wanted to separate our identity from what everyone was used to seeing as my father’s image…. We decided that we will find the best designers and we will take my father’s messages, his ideas, his principle and create products… all eco-friendly, organic and recyclable using recycled plastic bottles, cotton, fibre, wood, repurposed leather. They all have Marley written on them.
Your dreadlocks are obviously modelled after your dad’s...
It was a conscious decision because when I was in the University of Miami, playing football, I was getting a little distracted. And one day, I found myself alone with no friends. There came a point when I decided that no more barber shop, no more wanting to look good for girls…. I used to get a haircut every Thursday!
Is it true that you were named after the famous West Indian cricketer Rohan Kanhai?
My father was fond of cricket, but I am not sure if he named me. I think it was my godfather who named me. I have two stories… that I was named after the great cricketer Rohan Kanhai and the other… this one sounds like a myth though… when someone told my father that I was born, he said, ‘Yes! Rohan has arrived!’ I’ll take it, though… (Laughs)
Are you fond of cricket?
Growing up in Jamaica, I played two sports — cricket and football. We played on the streets. When I went to America, all my cricketing talent left me (laughs). Every time I go to Jamaica, I pick up an orange and try to do a little fast bowling and spinning. I love watching the West Indies.
What was Bob Marley like as a dad?
I am a part of my father, you know. He was a very giving man, a kind man. I miss him so much, but spiritually I know what has taken place is for a higher reason. I accept life. It’s about continuing his work because that’s what he gave us. Music is what drives us... doing what he told us to do. I never go to a song (of his) when I miss my father, but there are times when I am hurting inside and I will be singing in the shower and it will bring tears to my eyes. The songs become a revelation for me. They are answering my prayers. That’s all that I have… my father’s words. All songs have meant different things to me at different points of my life.
How do you think Bob Marley would have reacted to turning him into a brand?
My father was the first entrepreneur. Remember he was signed to Island Records. He said he should create his own record company, studio, record shops, T-shirts.