Grammy-winning sensation Jacob Collier has added his contribution to the Marley Sessions series of covers from the reggae hero’s catalog. The series was launched in late April as part of the ongoing celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Marley’s birth, with his grandson Skip’s version of “Three Little Birds.”
Now Collier has shared his own interpretation of that 1980 hit, originally from the Exodus album, on Marley’s official YouTube channel. The typically inventive version features his own harmonies and a trademark split-screen video that he directed, edited and arranged himself.
At the 2021 Grammy Awards, the 26-year-old north Londoner won the Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals title for “He Won’t Hold You.” The new success made him the first artist ever to win a Grammy for each of his first four albums.
Collier’s new appearance on YouTube is appropriate for an artist whose rise to UK and international acclaim was largely influenced by early appearances, from 2012, on the medium. As he remembered in an interview with Esquire in 2020: “I’d turn to YouTube like, what does it feel like to watch a show like this, or who played in this person’s band, and what did they sound like on their own, or what’s it like to hear Herbie Hancock talk? I would listen and learn. People started to do these split screens, showing multiple visual elements at once. I thought: maybe I could give that a shot.”
The following year, his take on Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” was seen online by Quincy Jones, who was so taken with it that he signed Collier to his management company. “I talk to Quincy a lot,” he told The Guardian in 2016, “and one of his pearls of wisdom is that ‘Jazz is the classical music of pop.’
“As someone who started out arranging for Sinatra and Ella and Sarah Vaughan and ended up producing Thriller,” Collier continued, “he’s shown that you can apply a knowledge of jazz harmony to pop. For me, jazz is an understanding of music, rather than an end in itself.”