A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Ziggy Marley first sat in on recording sessions with his father’s band, legendary reggae troupe Bob Marley and the Wailers, when he was ten years old. Joining with his three siblings to become The Melody Makers, Ziggy crafted his own soulful sound blending blues, R&B, hip-hop and roots reggae. After their first two albums, Play The Game Right (1985) and Hey World! (1986), The Melody Makers earned their first Grammy (Best Reggae Recording) for Conscious Party (198, an album produced by Talking Heads Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth which included the hit songs “Tomorrow People” and “Tumbling Down.”
Subsequent albums included the Grammy-winning One Bright Day (1989), Jamekya (1991), Joy and Blues (1993), Free Like We Want 2 B (1995), their third Grammy winner Fallen is Babylon (1997), Spirit of Music (1999) and Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers Live, Vol 1 (2000), which featured some of their biggest hits as well as a cover of Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved.” While selling records by the millions and selling out countless concerts with the Melody Makers, including a recent European tour, Ziggy Marley has never lost sight of his foundation of faith, fellowship and family.
After two decades as the driving creative force behind The Melody Makers, Ziggy stepped out on his own with his first solo album, Dragonfly (2003). Never content to rehash the success of his past, Ziggy uses Dragonfly to explore new ground and create his own distinctive musical identity as a solo artist. “Working on my own gave me a chance to take my time and experiment a lot,” Ziggy says of the material on Dragonfly.” It took one year to finish this record. It’s the longest I’ve ever worked on a album. It’s different when you on your own. At some point it’s scary and then at another it’s a drive that makes you focus more.” Although the members of the most close-knit musical families often yearn to step out on their own, for Ziggy, a solo debut was not a long-awaited goal. “It’s not something that I wished for since I began doing music,” he says. “It was just the circumstances, and I wanted to be true to myself and what I feel. The record has strong messages and it feels good.” In addition to being Ziggy’s first album of solo material, for Dragonfly he felt it was time for a change of scene. “Usually we record in Kingston. These songs were written in Jamaica and recorded in America. I did the first set of recordings in a house in Miami and then went to L.A. rented a house, set up my equipment and basically did the rest there. I left Jamaica for a while, because as an artist I need to experience different things, to see the world and have different energies. Living in one place is not good for me and I was tired of making music in a studio setting. I wanted it to be more like everyday life a part of me.
“As an individual, I’ve opened up more by traveling outside Jamaica, and I’ve been more able to be open to people and ideas. It helps me to grow as a person to be outside of my element; to be on my own in a strange place meeting people. That’s good for me not to be in my secure domain.” The evidence of that growth is everywhere on Dragonfly. For more on Ziggy’s exciting debut album, see Dragonfly: Album Notes.
1- Who gave you the name David? Bob or Rita? And why Ziggy is your nickname?
My mom gave me David and dad gave me Ziggy. Ya know Ziggy is kinda like the joint and that’s where the name comes from.
2 – Bob came in Italy in 1980: were you with him?
No I did not make that trip with my dad.
3 – What do you remember about your stay in Zimbabwe in 1980?
It was a great experience – I was in Africa for the first time, a beautiful place, and the people were very good to us.
4 – Something news about the movie on Bob’s life?
There is no movie in production at this time.
5 – You have discovered a batch of unheard recordings by Bob that may be used as the basis for an album produced in the same style as the mid-1990s Beatles singles “Free As a Bird”. Can you say something more about it? Is it the famous Bedroom Tape?
I can’t say anything about the recordings at this time.
6 – I was in Viareggio (Italy) in 1996 when you performed with your family at Carribean Festival and you were in the bus tour and gave me your autograph with the message “Jah live – Ziggy Marley”.
How good do you feel in our country, with italian fans, italian public?
I feel very good when in Italy, you all treat me good and give lots of love – that is important.
Thank you Ziggy
Very special thanks to NINA RITTER
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