Jamaica Gleaner / Her music is not reggae, but in the recurring ad-libs is the undeniable inflection of Jamaican patois, as Zuri, mumble-sings what her ‘mama said’ and ‘lick yo’ head’.
Zuri, daughter of Grammy Award winning reggae artiste Ziggy Marley, has begun to publicly pave her own way to musical success, with the release of her first single called, Beg For It.
“I think with people, the music is already in them. If I would dabble in reggae, I’d be seeing something different. There’s no limit in terms of genre. I don’t see it as a decision, or it wasn’t a conscious decision to not do reggae. Whatever comes out, comes out. But music, it’s been a long time coming,” Zuri told The Gleaner .
The fully independent artiste, released the single on SoundCloud, and over a two-week period, garnered over 20,000 plays.
“Hip-hop and trap is the big thing right now. Even newer singers like SZA have the trap sound, but I’m not really that, but there are people still listening. That’s what I’m proud of.”
As the Beg For It singer enjoys a fairly impressive debut, Zuri, is currently pondering the next move, may it be releasing music recorded from as long as five years ago.
“I have a song recorded from when I was 15 years old, and I’ll probably release it, if I get it up to that production level. Right now, I just want to keep writing new music with new people and give whatever I can to get some more music out!”
While living in Jamaica, she was a member of the local dance company ProMoves.
“I was only dancing, but now with the song coming out, my goal is to perform and use my music to perform the fantasy or vision I have for people.”
Zuri defines herself as a musician, actress, and an artiste, who intends to utilise her past creative experience to inform her productions.
According to the artiste, her desire to pursue music did not come directly from her father, or was it a decision taken to appease the familial legacy.
“For me, [my father’s] never persuade me to do it, but I’ve always done a lot of different things. He pushed me to try different things, so now I can do music, or call on acting skills or dancing, or go into business. My mother really influenced my musical taste. She showed me all the alternative things, so that’s what I listened to, as well as musical theatre. It’s always important to me to not reference one side of me. Two people made me; two dope people at that,” she said.
The young artiste currently lives in New York, but spent the majority of her childhood in Jamaica.
“I went to the American school in Jamaica and I always wanted to leave. I was going to school to come to America, to discover everything that was here,” she said. Zuri applied to the prestigious Clive Davis Institute at New York University, from which she recently graduated.
CALL TO HOME
Despite not making reggae music, her Jamaican heritage still managed to punctuate Zuri’s debut single. When asked if the ad-libs were a distinct call to home, the emerging singer excitedly responded, “I don’t know! It was never a part of the song! I was listening to it, and I knew something was missing and I didn’t know what to do – I just played the chords and started singing or mumbling ‘and my mama said …’ and it ended up being that. It really helped the song – maybe a secret weapon? Not all my songs have it, but I feel like sometimes it comes out,” she said.
Though Beg For It , is Zuri’s first single, it is not the emerging songwriter’s first professional credit. The artiste has lent her vocals to Dev Hynes’ album, Freetown Sound , on the track called Love Ya . However, Beg For It marks the first production her father thinks is good.
“I think he sees that I’m doing it by myself and he respects that.”