Ziggy Marley is a four-time Grammy Award-winning musician, philanthropist, and founder of the independent record label, Tuff Gong Worldwide. Known for his international work with children, Ziggy is the founder of U.R.G.E. (Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment), a designer for the Fashion Against AIDS Campaign and a supporter of Little Kids Rock. When not on tour, he divides his time between California, the Bahamas and Jamaica.
Question: How is reggae evolving?
Ziggy Marley: Well, I think... I think, just as we speak of roots, I think the basic foundation of it will always be there, which is what I do, you know. Everything I do, it is... the foundation is reggae. But as a free thinker and as an artist, I must not be constrained to anyone's idea of what reggae is because as an artist, I keep the right to make the music, not to... not to fit, what I call, the status quo of what it should be but the right to do what I want to do with the music. And if you... You know, guys... people... they're listening want to call it a reggae or not, that's their problem. I call it reggae because I made it and I know what's... I know what's underneath it, you know I'm saying?
So the progression of reggae will be something that will remain in the individual's... the individual artist's hand. I don't see it been... I don't want to see the foundation of it changing. That cannot change. And I don't see it ever being a move where the whole... the whole music change and everybody doing this, this is reggae now and that's what everybody is doing. That's not going to help. Again, the foundation has already been set. All we can to know is put in our individual creativity over that. And that's... that's going to be up to each individual. You know, then we can talk more... "Ziggy, what you're doing with the reggae and..." "I did some African things and I'm doing this and that's my reggae." "Hey, mister, whatever, what are you doing with reggae?" "I'm doing this. This is my reggae." You know, that's what it's going to be. You know I'm saying? But it will be... Reggae music will be significant as long as it keeps its soul, which is what I call roots. That's very important. A lot of things happening now in the music industry has no soul. It has good beats and it has a lot of excitement but it has no soul. And it cannot live without soul. You need a soul to live. And so, I think, that's part of my job, to keep the soul but not to be stagnant. As long as the soul is there, I can be creative and I can be free enough to do other things on that road, on that foundation. You know I mean?
Question: Who are you listening to now?
Ziggy Marley: What have I been listening? I haven't been listening to anything much lately but I have some few that's been a... has been my favorite for awhile, you know, and friends of mine too, you know. Ben, Oprah, Michael Franti and I like Beyonce's last... which was what "Put A Ring On It" I like that. I like... That's a good message for the women, for the girls, you know. That's the type of stuff I would like to hear more from that side of the music world, something that mean something more than the entertainment but giving the kids a good message, you know, for the younger... the women and that... you know, marriage and, you know, being respected in things that is very important. So I like that. And every now and then there is one song that I like, you know, from the artist but I listen to African music, you know. And I still listen to my father. I love my father's music, you know.
Recorded on: May 7, 2009