He’s perhaps most well-known as the son of legendary reggae artist Bob Marley, but seven-time Grammy Award-winner Ziggy Marley is a major musical force in his own right, as well as being one of the nicest guys in the business.
Marley has just released his sixth solo studio album, Ziggy Marley, and explains how the record is not only the latest chapter in his career, but continues to carry the message of positivity fans of his father’s music will recognise.
Congratulations on the new album. How does it feel having just released it?
I feel good. I feel like it’s the record I wanted to release with the words I wanted to say. I think it shows some progress, you know? It shows what I’ve learnt through my whole musical journey. I like it.
Many of the themes are of togetherness and unity. What influences your writing in this way?
It’s because that’s the solution, you know? Why do we never put the solution into what we do? We don’t just want to talk about problems, we want to talk about solutions: love, unity and peace. That’s the only way the world is going to survive. Even though we talk about other things on the record, we always come back to solutions.
Is writing like this a reaction to the many divisive people on the world stage right now, or would you write like that anyway?
It’s a reaction to my reality, which is this world. It’s what I see and what I feel around me. This world is small now; everything that happens affects me. Whether it be something in Syria or in my back yard, I’m affected by these things. I’m inspired to speak and say what I feel about these things. I say what I’m inspired to say and that’s just how it is.
Is it difficult to be consistently positive?
It used to be difficult sometimes. But for this record, I am sure of love being the winner. I am sure of it, I am positive of it. If the guys who want to fight wars and divide people can succeed in their dreams, why can’t we who want peace and love succeed in our dreams? So their actions really show that our actions can succeed. If they can make wars and division happen, we can make peace and love happen. Of course we can make it happen. I know that.
Is there any extra pressure with this album, given your last won a Grammy?
No, I don’t think about the Grammy. Sometimes a critic might say something that shows they understand what I’m trying to say, and then I might think about it [laughs].
How important is it for you to release the record on your own label?
The way the industry is now, it’s the only way I can do it, because the Internet and streaming means I am not selling CDs; most people stream their music now. So I don’t need a big record company to do that for me. I’m satisfied with where I am and I know what my place is and what I have to say. The freedom to be able to say it is very important, and I’m very happy that we’re independent.
Is there any significance in releasing a self-titled album at this point in your career?
I don’t know the reason. Things happen for a reason and sometimes you don’t know why. Eventually you’ll find out, and I’m still waiting to find out why it’s called Ziggy Marley. We tried everything else and that’s what came up. Who know why that happened? Usually we give it a title from the album; my last album was called Fly Rasta because we had a song called “Fly Rasta”. Love is My Religion and Wild and Free [were the same]. Normally I feel those songs fit and I feel good, but for this record, for some reason, none of the names gave the feeling that they fit, you know? So we just went with Ziggy Marley.
Being the son of the most well-known and loved reggae artist of all time: what are the pros and cons?
People love my father and they love me, but I think they also love me because of who I am too and what I’m doing. I hope I’m adding to the philosophy, idea and legacy. We get a lot of love. And the cons? It doesn’t even matter to me. What it is, it is, I get through life and don’t study that. I just deal in love; that’s all I’ve got [laughs].
When can we expect to see you in Australia?
Right now, I’m starting a U.S. and South American tour, but next year we would like to come down to Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. I’m looking forward to coming down and playing some music for the Australian people.
Would you prefer a festival or your own shows?
I would prefer a festival because you can get to more people. I would prefer to play to more people as that’s how I can get the message across. But we can do it any size, big or small.
Byron Bay Bluesfest could be pretty perfect for you.
Yeah, that’s always nice.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I’m touring, I’m putting out a cookbook soon, I did some acting on an American TV series called Hawaii 5-0; I might do that again, I don’t know. But mostly touring.
What is the cookbook you’re doing?
It’s a cookbook done by me and my wife and some friends of ours. We’re putting together a cookbook with some Caribbean-infused recipes, you know? It’s organic cooking.
What’s your specialty?
It’s oatmeal, man [laughs]. But I mix up a lot of stuff in there, it’s not just oatmeal.
Ziggy Marley by Ziggy Marley is out now.