|ROCKWIRED INTERVIEWS RICHIE BOOKER|
WOW!With the MARLEY name so permanently intertwined with the hypnotic sounds of reggae, you would think that BOB MARLEY's brother RICHIE BOOKER would've picked up the proverbial torch in the way that nephews ZIGGY, STEPHEN, KY-MANI, and DAMIAN have. This is not to say that BOOKER has dismissed his reggae roots entirely on his debut album SHINE THE LIGHT (SKD URBAN - KOCH DISTRIBUTION). Instead, he mixes that signature MARLEY sound with pulsing electronics and alternative rock flourishes.The results are astounding! With 'SHINE THE LIGHT', RICHIE BOOKER proves that he is not a performer standing in the shadow of his legendary brother, but a highly proficient tunesmith that can reel you in with a mesmerizing electronic sound bite ('WOW' the album's opening track), a rock steady groove ('STATION REVELATION'), or with no-nonsense rock n roll as evidenced on the tracks 'SELLING SEX' and 'MEDICINE MAN'. Slated for release on January 27, 2009, 'SHINE THE LIGHT' is sure to be one of the most engaging and important albums of the coming year.
RICHIE BOOKER TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT HIS DEBUT CD 'SHINE THE LIGHT'
THE LEGACY OF HIS BROTHER BOB MARLEY
AND BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
ROCKWIRED spoke with RICHIE BOOKER over the phone. Here is how it went.
'SHINE THE LIGHT' is coming out at the end of January. Now that it's almost out there for everyone to hear, what are your thoughts on the completed project?
Oh, I love it. It's got a nice mixture of different stuff. I really like it.
Same here. I was actually kind of surprised by the diversity of it in how you go from alternative rock to dance. It was a great listen and a real surprise.
Your family name is kind of synonymous with music and music performance. What took you so long to getting around to cutting your first album?
I was just into different things. For some reason, it just never came together until now. Even though I was in the studio and cutting tracks, it just never got to where it is now.
Growing up, was it solely the music of your family that influenced you or were there outside influences as well?
My family was a very strong musical influence, but there were other things happening musically that got to me as well.
Oh well, stuff like BOSTON, LED ZEPPELIN, and some R&B from RICK JAMES and PRINCE and stuff like that.
When did the light sort of go off in your head that you were going to make your own music.
The light went off pretty early it's just that I was more into hanging out with my nephews and stuff and just watching the music business and going to their concerts and stuff like that. Then around a couple of years ago, I started doing a couple of shows and I enjoyed it.
Having seen your brother's career unfold before your eyes, what did you learn from watching him?
I learned to be true to the music. You've got to really love the music to do it, you know? I think that was one of the main things I learned. He loved reggae and everything about him was about music. There were a lot of rehearsals going on and a lot of songwriting around the house and things like that. He was always doing it.
How close were you to him?
Pretty close. He split up his time between Jamaica and Miami.
Explain if it can be explained everything that goes in to writing a song for you.
Sometimes it's the experience of an actual situation that might cause you to sit back and reminisce and a song can get built from there. It is sort of hard to explain. A song is something that's got to be built up and it usually starts with a jam and grows from there. It's not something you can explain easily.
From SHINE THE LIGHT, what songs stand out for you at the moment and why?
I would say the song 'FREE'. It's all about not being confused about what's going on around you. You've got to really look into a situation that's happening and make up your mind on things.
Being a part of such a legendary family, I can only imagine that there were many people that you could look to, but who was the one person you looked to as a guiding force?
My mother (CEDELLA MARLEY BOOKER). She just passed away back in April and she has been a big influence on me.
You've done some acting in the past - namely 'PALMETTO' with WOODY HARRELSON. Are there any more roles on the horizon?
If it happens it happens. It's kind of fun to do some acting but it's not something that I'm really pursuing at the moment, you know what I mean?
So it's all about the music then?
What do you attribute the diversity of your album to?
It's just from living in Miami. There is a lot of Latin music going on around here and then coming from a reggae family and I have friends that are always turning me on to different stuff. You can't really put it all on one thing you know?
You produce the annual BOB MARLEY CARIBBEAN festival. Talk about that for a moment?
The festival is to unite people and pay tribute to my brother and at the same time we try to collect a lot of canned food and give it out to different homeless shelters across Miami, Jamaica, and Haiti. It's one of those ventures where you try to do something positive.
What are you thoughts on the music world today?
I think it's getting easier for people to get their music out there now with the internet and stuff like that. I feel like now, there are more opportunities for people to get their message out on things like MYSPACE and all of these different sites that they have out there now whereas years go, you had to try to mess with the record labels.
I'm paraphrasing what I read where you had stated that your music is your instrument for change. Where would you like to see changes made in the world?
I think we had a big change this year by electing a black president. I'm all for social change. I'm for all people coming together irregardless of their religion and color and stuff like that. I think we need to pull down some of these social barriers that we have.
Other than music, what do you feel is the most lasting aspect of BOB MARLEY's legacy?
His message was his music. It all came down to his words. Even though reggae has this hypnotic sound to it, it was his words that have touched a lot of people all over the world.
Talk about your live shows what has the reaction been like thus far?
People don't quite expect the music that they are going to get, but the reactions to it have been good.
What do you feel is the next step for you musically?
I'll probably get out ther more and do more shows and get more exposure.
What would you like a listener to come away with after they hear 'SHINE THE LIGHT'.
I'd like for them to feel that they've got something beautiful going on inside of them and it takes each and everyone of us to help make this place better. Everybody's gotta shine whats inside of them and hopefully that is what they are going to come away with.