Ziggy Marley opens up about his father, charity work and why his music is the perfect match for a night in the Hamptons
For much of the summer, Grammy Award-winning reggae artist Ziggy Marley is on tour in the U.S. with a stop at WHBPAC June 24, playing new tunes from his self-titled sixth studio album which was released in May. The oldest child of Bob and Rita Marley, Ziggy stands for universal love and peace and the Jamaican-born musician learned from one of the best, sitting in on his dad’s recording sessions from the age of 10. Now three decades into his career, Ziggy has a total of fifteen albums, winning Grammys with Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers and then going solo in 2003, where he’s been recognized even more. His Fly Rasta went on to win the 2015 Best Reggae Album Grammy, just one of seven lifetime Grammys for Marley. With bright storytelling and an uplifting yet realistic outlook on the future, Ziggy Marley’s music is just the right pairing for a summer night in the Hamptons. Here’s what we learned from this kind spirit…
You are currently on a large U.S. tour with a stop June 24 at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (in addition to Brooklyn June 25 at Coney Island Boardwalk). Have you played before in the Hamptons and if so what is it about a beach environment that makes your music the perfect pairing?
I’ve played the Hamptons before. The music—like the ocean and the beach is like meditation, like the waves. It’s like a mantra, that kind of vibration. It’s like the waves crashing and crashing until you can get mesmerized by it.
It’s nearly impossible to spend time at Cyril’s Fish House in Montauk without hearing Bob Marley music playing
in the background. You mention that your new album is about the “struggle of humanity”—what does your father’s legacy mean to you and how has Ziggy Marley music expanded upon his vision of peace and love and how we are all a family?
There’s a bloodline, but more than that there’s a spiritual line…it’s a spiritual legacy. We are from a spiritual line, that causes us to cure and have an emotional connection to all of humanity, not just ourselves. I really like the music on the new album—it is uplifting, it’s a balance— you have to find a balance in everything in our lives. You have to have fun and be serious at the same time, but it has to be balanced.
The Hamptons is known for many benefits and events that support various causes and organizations. You are known to be a philanthropist across the world, with your own organization URGE helping children in Jamaica and Ethiopia, and you support Little Kids Rock music organization. How has giving back to the causes closest to you enriched your life and even inspired your music over the years?
It is the way I was brought up in this world—my father, mother, and auntie would help people in the neighborhood who were less fortunate when our family got more money. I grew up that way, and then I followed that spiritual connection to giving. Giving without others even knowing you’re giving—there’s something that feels good about that. It’s like spiritual fuel for my engine. It’s just something that gives me strength.
Your new song “Weekend’s Long” is what we all hope for when we get to summer in the Hamptons. What are you looking most forward to this summer while on tour?
For me, I just like music with people and playing music without any expectation or barriers and just being a free spirit— playing music with people in the summer is the best. We are more than the people… we are more than just faith and religion. There is so much more to the meaning of “we are more.”