Interview (TOUCH Magazine) (2006)
With a new album out this month, Ziggy Marley talks about the importance of going back to one’s roots, and living a simple life.
Speaking with Ziggy Marley, it’s hard to imagine he’s the son of an icon and has spent his life in the limelight. “I’m a simple person. I don’t want too much, whatever I need I need. I have a roof, I have food, clothing, I have a car to drive, what more do I need?” he asks, admitting that unlike his younger brother Damian, he shuns celebrity parties, despite living in LA for the past year now. Does he miss life in Jamaica? “It don’t matter so much to me where I am, the earth is the earth, the sky, clouds, trees, it’s all one beautiful place to me. My philosophy is that you shouldn’t get attached to places or things, just live with God”. With this attitude, he releases his latest CD, ‘Love is my Religion’, a chilled reggae album with an emphasis on breaking it down and going back to the roots of music. “There’s a theme running through it-love, all aspects of love, all types of love. It’s just trying to get people away from confusion and just get them back to one basic truth. It take me a year to make, I did most of the instruments, production, vocals.” Asked how he stays so grounded, he immediately refers to his father. “He came from humble beginnings and he gives me a good example to live by, I just live by the philosophies that he passed onto me”. He stresses that he doesn’t want to disappoint his dad, and recollects sitting in on recording sessions at the age of ten, “mostly jamming and playing around on the instruments, and falling asleep in the studio!”
Revealing that if he wasn’t doing music he’d be a doctor, he goes coy when asked whether he felt the pressure to pursue music at a young age. Speaking again of his dad, he says, “we become more like each other as artists every day, but we are individuals. Most artists go through the same experiences of growth, finding themselves, finding their voice, finding their freedom and feeling that spirituality that comes with making music”. Would he encourage his own children to take up music? “No. I want them to do what they want to do- they have to be who they are. And when they find what they are then they be who they are. I don’t want to put pressure on them, I nurture and I give love. I have four children, one of them is into music but I don’t know if that’s gonna be their life, we’ll wait and see.” Does he ever feel like he’s competing with his siblings, in particular Damian, who’s had incredible commercial success over the past few years? “No, bigger brother is not competing with little brother”, adding to watch out for collaborations in the future. What’s his daily life like? “Well most of the time I wake up in the morning, get some exercise, then I’m in the studio making music, I play a lot of football, that’s about it really”. Does he keep a low profile? “I’m not a celebrity, I don’t see myself as a celebrity. That’s not a part of my mindset. When people approach me in the street, I’m cool with it, whatever, if somebody comes say hi, I say hi”.
Despite being knicknamed Ziggy (slang for a large spliff) by his father, Ziggy says he doesn’t smoke much weed himself. “Smoking’s not good for you. People in the media overblow its importance to the Rastafarian way of life-it’s a part of it but not a big part. We get high from just oxygen sometimes, from the air, and from the love. Love make me high”. With this he leaves to take the stage at Shepherd’s Bush Empire as part of his world tour, vowing to spread the message of love to as many people as possible.
By Anna Nathanson