As heir to one of music’s most famous families, David “Ziggy” Marley has more than answered the call.
The seven-time Grammy winner has honored his place in reggae royalty as a singer, songwriter, producer, humanitarian, author, actor, businessman, and more.
The eldest child of Bob and Rita Marley has spent more than three decades of his career continuing the musical traditions of his parents, while also helping to turn the record label his father started in 1965, Tuff Gong, into a worldwide brand that goes far beyond reggae.
Despite a slew of other endeavors that include everything from a children’s book to a line of GMO-free products, Marley has continued to make music. His self-titled sixth album was released last year.
It came on the heels of 2014’s “Fly Rasta,” the 2015 Grammy Award winner for “Best Reggae Album” - Marley’s third in that category.
PACIFIC recently spoke with the busy performer from his Los Angeles home before his show at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay on Monday night.
PACIFIC: You’ve won awards, released albums, branched-out into many things beyond music. What’s still motivating you these days?
ZIGGY MARLEY: Well, because, we know we’re purpose-driven. We know that the music that we do and the words we’re saying in the songs have a meaning and a purpose for being out there. So that’s why we’re keeping it. It’s a purpose band. It’s not just about me the entertainer or selfish purposes. It’s for the purpose of sharing, you know?
Things seemed to change a bit with (2009’s children’s album) Family Time. Had it always been there, or was that the moment you really doubled down on being purpose driven?
In a way, yes, but it grows as time goes by. Family Time, specifically, was my first time doing a record with children in mind. It was a learning experience and an awakening experience, and a catalyst for where I am today because I learned a lot from making that record - the freedom it gave me, how to look at music, and how to deal with music.
Because I was doing it for children, there was much more openness and freedom, and much less criticism and self-analytics. It really was a catalyst and it taught me lessons I’ve carried over into what I do today and the albums I’ve done since Family Time.
Being a father probably also had something to do with it.
That’s the thing with making music, you know? Music is a reflection of our lives, our way of thinking, our experiences, and our visions. It’s all connected.
When: 7:30 p.m. June 12
Where: Humphreys Concerts by the Bay, 2241 Shelter Island Dr., Point Loma
You’ve branched out in so many different directions - a cookbook, GMO-free product line, philanthropy, acting, graphic novels, and more. Why take on so much?
There are always opportunities to expand what we put out there. There isn’t anything I’m doing that’s outside of how I live or what I do within my own life. It’s all very close to me. So the food space is a space that is a part of me. I eat food. I cook food. But the real reason is about getting more access to people, so we can spread this message even more. We want to try and reach more people in more places. That is the real reason. But none of it is outside of my own reality.
But a day for you still has to be crazy. I can’t even imagine.
(laughs) Sometimes it is. But I’m the kind of person that can shut off. I have that ability to be like, “All right. I’m just done!” Then complain because they can’t find me or get in touch, but I’m like, “yeah, but culture.” That’s how it is, man!
You come from a family that had already cemented a definitive legacy when you started your career. How much thought do you give to the unique and significant ways that you’ve been able to continue, and expand upon, it?
I think that sometimes I’m kind of naïve to that side of things - even with myself or with my father. And when I was growing up, I was definitely naïve to all of that stuff. I didn’t understand all of these ideas or even what people were saying about the person. And in that particular example, naïveté was probably good.
Unapologetic positivity has always been at the center of your art. Is that difficult to sustain when things seemingly get more divisive each day?
I feel like we are only getting half the story all the time - and it’s mostly negative stuff. You hardly hear anything really good or anything really positive anymore. And I feel like we need to represent the side of humanity that knows the best in us is what will eventually come out - and is coming out now.
We just keep getting fed negative images of our persona as a species. We get it all the time in the news media and it just keeps coming at us. I feel like those of us who represent the best in humanity need to express ourselves, get with self, and get all of our ideas and all of our ways out there.
Because of the corporate structure now in music, and within art itself, it’s easier to make a profit from things that don’t have a consequence and don’t make an impact from what is happening in society today. The artists are there. The art is there. But the system is just made in such a way that the art is controlled much more than ever before.
It’s still happening, though. That’s what I’m saying. The positive, the love, the best in humanity is happening right now. And it’s rising. You just wouldn’t know it from watching the news. That makes it seem like the worst is rising.
But I don’t believe that. I believe that most of humanity is good. I believe that most people want to live in peace with each other. It is the minority of humanity that wants to cause war; that wants to hate each other based on race, religion, or politics. It is not the majority. Our ideas and our ways are just not what is marketable at this time in history.