Martin Charles Hennessey (Marty Dread) was named after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he was born in the Bronx, New York in 1969. When Marty was eight years old, his father passed away and his mother moved the family to Maui, Hawaii. The change from concrete jungle to botanical jungle was great, but Marty was quick to adapt to the laid-back ways of his new island home. In 1992, Marty Dread released his first smash hit, "Wicked Wahine". His debut effort sold-out as a cassette single and skyrocketed to the top of the Hawaiian charts.
In 1994, Marty launched his own record label, Five Corners Music, with the release of "Versatile Roots" - an album that includes a duet with Kris Kristofferson. The famed songwriter/actor was so impressed after sharing a concert bill with Marty Dread that Kristofferson offered to lend a hand in the studio, resulting in the song, "Reggae Blues". Marty Dread's popularity got another boost in 1996 with the release of "Reggae for Love" which sold four times as many copies as Marty's earlier recordings. Also in '96, three of Marty Dread's songs were featured in the international motion picture release, "Maui Heat" - still seen on television screens around the world. In 1997, Marty Dread released his first live album, "Marty Dread Live!" (Recorded on the Big Island of Hawaii) and made two successful tours of California, including stops at the legendary House of Blues in Hollywood. One of the songs on Marty Dread's 1999 release, "Reggae Suite", was recorded at the House of Blues when Marty Dread opened for the legendary reggae group, the Wailers. In the year 2000, Marty Dread released his fifth album, "Keiki Reggae" (Reggae for Children) with music tracks that include school children from throughout Maui County and a special appearance by reggae great, Pato Banton and Country music icon, Willie Nelson.
"Keiki Reggae" was nominated for "Best Reggae Album of the Year" at the 24th annual Na Hoku Hanohano awards in Honolulu by members of the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts. The song " Mouse in the house" is featured on the cd " Reggae Playground" on Putamayo records and peaked at # 1 on XM Radioâ€™s childrenâ€™s channel in May of 2006.
In the summer of 2001, Marty Dread performed at the 18th annual "Reggae on the River" event in northern California, the largest reggae festival in the world, and traveled to Tahiti to perform in front of thousands of people in Papeete. In December 2001, Marty Dread released his sixth album, "On The Beach". In May 2002, "On The Beach" was nominated for "Best Reggae Album of the Year" at the 25th annual Na Hoku Hanohano awards in Honolulu.
In 2003, Marty Dread released a collection of hits from the first ten years of his recording career, called â€œTHE HITS (1993-2003)with six previously unreleased songs, and continued to tour far and wide.
In the years since 2003 Marty Dread has recorded untold volumes of songs including a duets album called "In Good Company" (release date Sept. 2006) collaborating with stars such as Willie Nelson, Sly and Robbie, Junior Reid, Fiji, Mad Professor, Anthony B., Common Sense, Nara Boone, Fyah Wyah, Olu, Neville Francis, Tony Moses, and many more.
Marty Dread's first crossover album "Next level was also released in 2006. It fuses Hip Hop and Dance Hall and is geared toward clubs and dance floors. It is on the dj shakinmelodis record label and has gained spins all over the world. Also recorded, a clash album with Alika, an upcoming reggae singer from the island of Kauai, titled Marty Dread Meets Alika At Koloa Dub Lab.
Another recording released on Marty Dreadâ€™s Five corners Label is Marty Dread's second live album, recorded in Alaska, California, and Hawaii. Marty also collaborated with " Harmonic tribe" on their debut cd called â€œThe Awakening, which can be heard and purchased at www.cdbaby.com. Harmonic Tribe toured with Willie Nelson on his 2006 summer tour and gained many fans blending rock, blues, reggae and soul. The lead single was featured in the movie, â€œDukes of Hazzardâ€ starring Willie Nelson .Check them out at www.myspace.com/harmonictribe
Visit www.willienelson.com to download "What ever happened to peace on earth?" sung by Willie Nelson, Marty Dread, Michael McDonald, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, and Pat Simmons of The Doobie Brothers. Proceeds will benefit the Veterans of this insane war in Iraq. Also look for "Peaceful Solution" by Willie Nelson and Marty Dread and Produced by Mad Professor. Other critical Willie and Marty Duets include, "Take No Part" with Sly and Robbie, which will be featured in the full-length reggae documentary " Dreadlock Rock. www.dreadlockrock.com and " Laws of Nature" which is a song Willie wrote about his life and kids.
Marty's song " No ice in Paradise" featuring U.K. dub god Mad Professor was featured on "Dog the bounty hunterâ€™sâ€ TV show and was Martyâ€™s debut as an Ariwa recording artist . Marty Dreadâ€™s 13th Full length cd, â€œStill playing Reggaeâ€ was released in 2009 and features hit songs, â€œWorried manâ€ w/ Willie Nelson and Toots, â€œChase the postmanâ€, â€œ Only Conversationâ€ w/ Tippa Irie, and the Mad Professor mix of Willie Nelsonâ€™s â€œ Peaceful Solutionâ€ which was also released as a 7â€™ inch single on Mad Professorâ€™s Ariwa Label. Marty Dread made his debut performance in Jamaica at the Jamaica jazz and blues festival in Montego Bay in January of 2009 to rave reviews . 2009 promises to be a banner year for Hawaiiâ€™s Reggae Ambasador, Marty Dread.