Ziggy Marley is one of music legend Bob Marley’s sons—but his music is all his own.
Marley has incorporated traditional folk elements into his reggae music, and has collaborated with artists such as Jake Shimabukuro, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Jack Johnson and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea—among many others.
Marley is returning to Spotlight 29 at 8 p.m., Friday, June 16. During a recent phone interview, Marley explained why he does what he does.
“I keep it fresh by keeping an open mind and being humble,” Marley said. “It’s very inspiring to know what we do is something we are called upon to do. It’s always fresh, and there’s always a mission and a message behind what we’re doing. That’s what keeps me going—having a purpose.”
Even after winning eight Grammy Awards, Marley expressed a modest attitude regarding his career success.
“I don’t think I ever think about (success), because we’re still going to where we’re going,” he said. “We haven’t reached where we’re going yet. Where I am right now, I think of myself more as a human being than an artist, musician or singer. That is where my thoughts are on where I want to be.”
Marley’s latest, self-titled album is just as unique as his previous five solo albums. He explained what makes this one different.
“I went through some personal issues and dealt with some wider issues from a people perspective,” he said. “I would think that’s the biggest difference with this album.”
Charity is a big part of Marley’s life—something he’s been involved in since he was born.
“We started out doing charity when we were really young with our mother and father,” Marley said. “Charity is about that human thing I’ve been talking about. Sometimes, love is more giving than material things are. Sometimes, love is a charity, too. We formed an organization called U.R.G.E., which stands for Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment. We try to focus on children, because for the world to get better, the children need a broader and positive consciousness about living together as human beings.”
And now for something completely different: Marley recently collaborated with Man of Action writer Joe Casey and artist Jim Mahfood on a graphic novel/comic titled Marijuanaman. Marley laughed as he discussed it.
“That was so much fun. When I was growing up and going to school in Jamaica, I used to buy comics,” Marley said. “When the teacher was teaching, I was drawing in my notebook. I always tried to draw Batman and other superheroes. When I had the chance to work with Joe Casey and Jim Mahfood, I had the idea for the comic book dream of mine. We put a message behind it, and the title of it sort of makes me laugh. He’s not a stereotypical stoner dude; he’s a hero, and he represents the plant itself. So there’s a message behind the comic as well.”
Of course, the name Marley is semi-synonymous with Rastafarianism and marijuana. Marley said he is happy marijuana legalization is starting to occur in America.
“I think it’s the right step, because it’s a plant of many practical uses,” he said. “It’s medicinal, and it’s recreational for some people. I think it’s right to stop putting people in jail for using it and to stop criminalizing people. That is also a good thing for humanity. But that side of the plant is only one side of it—and the next side is the hemp side. We’re talking about the industrial uses of the plant now. So many trees are cut down to make paper. … There would be no more deforestation, because hemp could replace that easily.”
Marley started his musical career with his siblings Stephen, Sharon and Cedella as Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. While they split as a group in 2002, Marley said the future could bring a reunion.
“It’s better when it’s together,” he said. “Hopefully, one day we can do it again.”
Marley said his show at Spotlight 29 will not be the same as the concert he played at the Coachella casino in May 2016.
“It’ll be a little more serious, and I’ll be experimenting more this time,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes. But it’ll be a different show this time.”
Ziggy Marley will perform at 8 p.m., Friday, June 16, at Spotlight 29, 46200 Harrison Place, in Coachella. Tickets are $46 to $76. For tickets or more information, call 760-775-5566, or visit www.spotlight29.com.