Most of the time, when Cedella Marley’s son Skip begins to sing, she closes her eyes. Not out of any parental apprehension or superstition, but so she can listen for pitch and sharpness — a remnant of the time she spent singing with her siblings Ziggy, Stephen and Sharon as part of The Melody Makers in the 1980s and ’90s.
These days, she has been hearing Skip sing a lot more often. While half of the world is confined at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 23-year-old songwriter-musician is livestreaming pop-up concerts and interacting with his fans online. Cedella and Skip are themselves isolating in their home in Miami — all of the Marley offspring but Ziggy and Karen, who are in Los Angeles, live near each other in Miami — where a home studio allows Skip to continue working on his debut EP, due out this summer on Island Records.
One song that Skip keeps coming back to in his livestreams is “So Much Trouble in the World,” an album cut from his grandfather Bob Marley’s 1979 album, Survival. “It’s not one of daddy’s most popular songs, but I think going through this pandemic, it has become one of those songs that people are kind of singing to themselves, you know?” muses Cedella, 52, over the phone in early April. “And then if you listen to the lyrics — ‘All we have to do is give a little’ — that’s what we really have to do as we go through this.”