Like his brothers Ziggy, Stephen, Julian, and Damian, Ky-Mani Marley is an in-demand singer/songwriter/musician who performed nearly 100 shows in 2017. Unlike his brothers, Ky-Mani has penned an autobiography, Dear Dad, which details his tough upbringing in the tenement yards of his Falmouth, Jamaica, birthplace and in Miami's notorious Liberty City ghetto where his family relocated when he was six years old. Ky-Mani is also an accomplished actor whose credits include a starring role as Biggs in the heavily bootlegged gangster flick Shottas (featuring DJ Khaled and Wyclef Jean) and the portrayal of a Rastafarian reggae musician who falls in love with a preacher's daughter in the 2003 romantic drama One Love, co-starring a patois speaking Idris Elba.
Ky-mani, 42, now divides his time between Miami and Falmouth, a small, somewhat beleaguered port town located along Jamaica's north coast, about 20 minutes from Montego Bay. Ky-Mani's commitment to improving conditions for the youth of Falmouth is exemplified by his funding of a community soccer (or football as the sport is called in Jamaica and in much of the world) team, Falmouth United Football Club. Ky-Mani is also refurbishing Falmouth's Elleston Wakeland Youth Center (and its adjacent football field, home of Falmouth United), a facility where he spent much of his early childhood. "Football was always my first love, my passion since childhood," Ky-Mani recalled in an interview with Billboard on the phone from Falmouth. "But we aren't just focused on football; my main objective is to bring back the youth center so the children have somewhere to go, play and be safe. We will provide table tennis lessons there (Ky-Mani's mother Anita Belnavis is a former Caribbean table tennis champion) and open a computer lab. Many children are advancing to the next grade level in school without being able to read at a basic level so I want to bring in evening classes at the center in basic reading and math to give the youths a push start to a better future."
Aerial shots of Elleston Wakeland Youth Center's field and a Falmouth United football match are featured in the opening frames of the video for Ky-Mani's latest single, "Best Thing." Ky-Mani's vocals possess a slightly raspy, seductive allure reminiscent of his father on "Best Thing," a love song written for his female fans. "I have a very large female fan base but sometimes I don't attend to them as much as I should so I decided that my next few singles would be love songs for that core audience, that's how 'Best Thing' came about," Ky-Mani explained.