Marlon Asher On Being A Reggae Pioneer and Musical Brand Builder
Video by Walter Drayton of Walter Drayton Photography
Mr Marlon Asher is a soca and reggae artiste from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. He is nicknamed ‘Ganja Farmer’ and ‘CowBoy’ by his inner circle partly due to his breakout hit in 2004 entitled…you guessed it ‘Ganja Farmer’. Marlon chose the name “Asher” which was derived from the 12 tribes of Israel and is the tribe that represents December; the spirit of Christ.*
His inspirations include some of the most influential reggae artistes of all time including Dennis Brown, Barrington Levy and Bob Marley to name a few. His discography reflects his musical versatility and writing ability with songs like ‘Love Of Jah’, ‘Settle Down’, ‘Ganja Cowboy’ and most recently his soca hit, ‘Keep Up’ on the Vas Productions Riddim. Marlon has proven himself to be not only a talented musical artiste, but also, a savvy business man who has surrounded himself with the right team to push his brand forward. Check out some highlights from our conversation below.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BE A PIONEER OF REGGAE IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO?
- Marlon Asher was introduced to both music and specifically reggae music at a very young age. Being a pioneer for reggae music was born from his desire to make a difference in his community. He wanted to show the youth around him that there were options of things they can do despite how bleak it may have seemed to many of them at the time.
WHAT OPPOSITION DID YOU FACE TRYING TO GET REGGAE RECOGNITION IN THE SOCA KINGDOM?
- Marlon faced a lot of negativity especially from people who thought he should sing soca music being a native of Trinidad and Tobago. He decided to first release the music in New York which solidified his vision to reach a broader market. From there, many throughout the Caribbean responded positively to the song including those in his home country. The initial push back came from people who thought he was trying to negatively influence youth. However, Marlon stayed true to his vision of raising awareness of the struggles ganja farmers faced at the time because there was a movement to eradicate ganja. The song ‘Ganja Farmer’ became an international hit that has maintained longevity to this day.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR THE SONG GANJA FARMER?
- The song Ganja Farmer was inspired by the journey Marlon saw some of his friends go through. Many of them lost all of their crops due to regulations in the country at the time. Marlon wanted to raise awareness of how the industry was actually helping farmers to thrive, put their children through school and achieve other significant milestones in their lives.
HOW DID YOU LAND ON GOING FROM REGGAE TO THE 2018 SOCA SONG?
- Soca music allowed Marlon to expand his brand to a broader market and prove his ‘Trinability’. As an artiste, versatility is one of his strengths and though reggae music is what gave him international recognition, he has never forgotten the place of his birth and the music that represents it.
TELL US ABOUT THE MUSIC BUSINESS & DIVERISFYING YOUR BRAND:
- Travelling exposed Marlon to the business side of the music. He learnt more about royalties, performance fees and branding. After getting payment for a performance in the form of merchandise, his eyes were opened to the opportunities that merchandising would allow his brand. He recognized that the bulk of what musicians are working for comes not from performing but from the branding of music.
For More on Marlon Check Him Out On Social Media Outlets Below: