Weekender interview: Ziggy Marley up close, personal

The legacy of Bob Marley has continued to grow and influence younger generations long after his passing some 31 years ago. Nowhere can this been seen in a more captivating way than in his children.

The Caymanian Weekender had the privilege of speaking with one of Marley’s sons in a recent phone interview that covered everything from sports to music and other projects planned by the family.

As the oldest son, Ziggy Marley was the first of his brothers to follow in his father’s footsteps on the international stage and in maintaining the high standard of musical proficiency and integrity that his father had come to be known for, he set the tone and the stage for his brothers and sisters. The self-described actor, artist and activist is a five-time Grammy-winning musician and humanitarian.

“We are just continuing to focus on management of the legacy and products and making sure that these are managed properly,” Ziggy says when asked about the Marleys’ future projects on the heels of the recent success of a feature length film about their father produced by Kevin McDonald.

In relation to how Ziggy felt about the film, he said, “I am happy with the reception of the film. In fact, a lot of people learnt things about him (Bob Malrey) that they didn’t know before. Even I came away having learnt new things about my father as a result of the film. You know … it was good.”

Ziggy also gave his views and feelings about the current state of the genre of music that his family helped make popular.

“The state of reggae music currently could be improved,” he says. “I think there could be more creativity and a higher level of musicianship, but with that said I think it is still going strong and will continue to grow.”

He says he had just taken a break off the road and was expecting to go back on tour in a another week, when he and his band will tour the Northwestern United States.

As part of his list of responsibilities these days, Ziggy Marley has also taken on a new show on SiriusXM Radio, which was launched in February, in addition to his lead role in running the Tuff Gong International record label.

“The show on Sirius is aired the first Saturday of every month and I quite enjoy it. We take a look at the history of the music and listen to some of the foundational works. I also interview a guest as part of each show and on the first show in February we had Jimmy Cliff as our guest,” Ziggy says.

He noted that as far as Tuff Gong International is concerned he is currently the only artist on the label and pointed out why.

“Right now, it’s just Ziggy, until we can afford to have other artists and take care of them properly.”

He said that California was chosen as the headquarters for the operation because, “I like the vibes; nice people, nature, it’s not too cold and it’s great for getting things done.”

An ever relaxed Marley was easy going during the interview in which the topics ranged over variety of interests, including sports and Jamaica’s 50th anniversary as an independent nation, as well as the country’s recent successes in the London Olympics.

“I am very happy about the 50th anniversary of Jamaica,” Ziggy says. “We are still a young nation and we have a lot more to achieve, but I am happy we have reached 50 and we look forward to another 50.”

Marley, who is also a sportsman and jogger, joked that he was no Olympian, but rather used jogging as a means of coping with his busy schedule as a performer. He said he was, however, proud of the country’s athletes “showing what Jamaica is made of.”

Some of the products Ziggy is busy rolling at the moment include a hemp seed food product that is available in certain supermarkets, as well as online. He also has a line of comic books called Marijuana Man, which feature a superhero who gets his powers from a magical source.

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