Editor’s note: Ziggy Marley, Bob Marley’s oldest son, has grown up in and around all manner of musical styles. He won his seventh Grammy Award, receiving the Best Reggae Album for 2014’s “Fly Rasta.” Born in Kingston, Jamaica, on Oct. 17, 1968, Marley now resides in Los Angeles with his wife and children. Tahoe Onstage caught up with Marley for a quick Q&A.
Tell us a little bit about your musical background and journey:
I started to play music from a young age; I grew up in a musical house, obviously. My father wrote a song called “Children Playing in the Streets” in ’79, that’s when I started. We used to listen to a lot of music, Jackson 5 and Marvin Gaye; I listened to a lot of Sam Cooke. Then just growing from there. I’ve learned a lot from different musicians and producers over the years. It opens my mind, and it makes me want to explore playing music even more.
You have won seven Grammys, I believe; to what do you ascribe this level of musical success?
That is not the success, the Grammy isn’t the success. The Grammy is an award that represents what the success is, being creative. Success is making music that has meaning to it, and that hopefully changes someone’s life, or has the potential to change someone’s life. That is success. The reason for that is the type of person I am. I am inspired to write songs that say something, that have meaning to more than just me, but have meaning to so many things that we face in life and in the world.
We don’t make music to win Grammys; we make music to spread our message and be creative and explore music. But we appreciate the Grammys; they have their job to do, and they do it, and I have my job to do, and I do it.
Tell me a little bit about your live performance. What do you expect people to see and to take away from your shows?
We’ve grown a lot in the live performance thing. The idea is to expand it beyond performance and make it become an experience. You don’t come to watch a performance; you come to have an experience. That’s where we’d like to take it; at least that’s my dream. I’m trying to get that done as much as I can by letting my soul speak, and the music helps with that, you know?
It’s the whole body, what you see, what you hear, what you feel. If the music moves you, you move, so we move. We express ourselves, but it’s not a performance that is set with choreography. I don’t choreograph, so every night you have a different type of thing.
Do you guys play any cover tunes, or do you stick to all originals?
We do Bob Marley covers, those are the only covers we do. The rest is original stuff, some stuff from the past, some stuff from my records.
Recently you’ve diversified your portfolio so to speak, moving into comic books, a non-GMO product line, and media for children; can you tell us a little bit about that and what it has been like?
You know, you have to expand the message, where the ideas live, I feel like. I get to expand creatively, instead of being in one thing I can expand into other things. Music is one thing, but I want to express myself in other ways also, I’m not just limited to music.
We did a kid’s record; we expressed certain ideas to children; for the betterment of the world you have to speak to children.
I’m also a cook, I cook in my house, I cook breakfast and dinner for the kids and the wife, so food is important to the whole thing. People should know if the product they’re buying has GMOs in it, that’s something that’s important.
Then “Marijuanaman,” the comic book; I was a big comic book fan as a child, I still have my comic book collection. That was just a fun thing to do.
What’s on the horizon that you’re excited for?
I’m going to go into the studio and record a new record. I’ve been putting the songs together, just humming them in the bathroom, singing around the house. That’s the newest thing after this.
We also have a boxed set coming out of my father’s stuff, all of it on vinyl, it’s a special thing. I work on my father’s stuff outside of my stuff. It’s a nice boxed set with every Island record that was ever released, on vinyl.
Have you played in the Tahoe area in the past?
I’ve been up there and I like it, I just don’t like driving so far. I really like it up there; I’m looking forward to it though.
We look forward to coming up and playing some music; we’ve been rehearsing a lot, so I’m looking forward to coming up to play some music for the people.
Related story: Concert review of Ziggy’s Tahoe performance LINK
Related story: Check out the 3rd annual Lake Tahoe Reggae Festival HERE