By// Starrene Rhett Rocque
Being the son of a reggae legend comes with high expectations but that’s no sweat to Ziggy Marley. The Grammy-winning musician is keeping up the Marley name with his own successful music career and other entrepreneurial endeavors.
JETmag.com caught up with the 44-year-old artist to chat about his latest live album, Ziggy Marley in Concert, his new line of organic coconut oil and hemp seeds, and much more.
What made you decide to go live for this album?
During the last couple of tours and shows we were having a good time and a good vibe and I wanted to document that so that’s why. And I plan to take a break next year. I want to do some gardening and some other work.
Word is that you live shows are great, so what goes into your shows that makes them so exciting and what can fans expect from the album?
It’s just like a picture, a moment in time. At that moment, we recorded over two shows in the US, but they can see those couple of shows and what it was at that time and get an idea of what it’s like live. It’s definitely an experience and we try to make people enjoy themselves but we try to add something beyond just entertainment with a message in the music and a spiritual flavor to what we do. People appreciate entertainment value because it’s hard out here enough. Entertainment is fine. It’s on TV, it’s all over the place but we want to give people something deeper than that they appreciate that.
You’ve also teamed up with Rotary for their End Polio Now Campaign. Isn’t polio almost eradicated? Enlighten me.
In most of the world it’s wiped out but in Africa it still exists and I believe that it can be taken care of so we’re putting that out there. Some people haven’t had the chance to get rid of the disease, so we want to send the cause to show that there are people who are still suffering.
Do you have a personal connection with polio?
In Jamaica I knew someone with polio back in the day but when a person is suffering—a human being—I have a personal connection with them; I feel suffering with people whether I know them or not. I have a strong connection to all people.
Another endeavor of yours is Ziggy Marley Organics. What products do you sell?
I started about a year ago I’m doing the world’s first flavored coconut oil for cooking. Coconut oil is really good for you. In Jamaica we grew up with coconut oil and coconut before it was bottled. We used to drink rom a coconut, before it was fashionable, and then we have the hemp seed that’s in the shell and roasted. Hemp seed is very nutritious. It’s Non-GMO, which means there’s no genetically modified substances in it and it’s also organic. So, having a food line allows me to talk about food. The main thing in America that I get to talk about is the idea that the food in the supermarket has GMO’s in it. That’s an issue because when pharmaceutical companies get into agriculture and modify the DNA of a plant or food and we don’t know the affects that it has on our children, so we’re asking, at least give us the chance to know what ingredients have been genetically modified in the food that we’re buying. Healthy eating is a part of my lifestyle.
Is it sold in Whole Foods or places like that?
I don’t know about Whole Foods but they can go to ZiggyMarleyOrganics.com.
Lately we’ve been seeing movies about musical icons go to production, like Nina Simone and Marvin Gaye, that caused controversy due to casting choices or the films not being authorized by the families. There must have been talk about doing a movie about your father’s life, so would you go about getting that made and who would play your dad?
I don’t know, I guess we have to research that. There’s been talk but nothing come of it yet. It has to be done right because that’s a high task to do. But I don’t know if we have enough time to do anything right now.
Speaking of music, who would be some of your dad’s favorite artists if he were still alive?
I don’t know. Who’s saying something? Whose music is having a purpose?
That’s hard! [Laughs]
That’s what I’m saying! [Laughs].
Ok, how about K’naan?
There you go, that’s it! [Laughs]
What else are you working on?
I’ve got “Marijuana Man,” which is a graphic comic I put out. And I’m doing some webisodes. I’m using artwork, it’s not fully animated yet but there’s voices and that sort of stuff. So, we’re doing that and also in the next couple of months I’m doing a little kid book. It’s called, “I Love You Too.” It’s a nice little book that children and family can read together.
The digital version of Ziggy Live is available today. Physical copies go on sale January 15.