Last month I poured my heart and soul out in my feature article about Bob Marley and The Wailers’ Legend, and now I’m interviewing his son, Ziggy Marley. If there was ever a moment to say everything is connected, and all cliches aside there really is One Love, then this would be the moment. The seven-time-Grammy-award winning musician, activist, actor, author and artist has just released his self-titled sixth studio album on May 20th. In between releasing his new album, getting ready for a 35 stop North American tour and raising a family, I got the chance to have a chat with the oldest son of Bob and Rita Marley to discuss his new album, how to evolve oneself, social media, hemp and how he stays grounded on tour.
You’ve just released your sixth studio album, I’ve been listening to it a lot this week and I’m really enjoying the summer vibes to it. We’re entering into winter here in Australia, so it’s kind of taking me on that little trip I feel like you’re trying to achieve. I’m going to keep listening to it all winter.
Could you tell us a bit more about the album and the progression of your music and the message behind it?
With this album, I’ve kind of started speaking about things that is happening in the world, which I haven’t done in my last few albums. Usually I talk about my feelings and spirituality, but this album is definitely addressing some topics that I think is important today. The division that I see amongst people, the wars, the profiteering from wars and the profiteering from division of the people through politics and religion, these are things I have some feelings about. When I see people suffer, it touches me and I need to speak about it. We need to find a better way to live our lives on this earth than continually fighting against each other. I think there is a better way and we will find that way.
I feel like the overall message is about love, unity and respect, and that’s something that carries through your family, so it’s really nice to listen to. Listening to the lyrics of Love is a Rebel, “We’re fighting against spiritual oppression, and societies perception,” why do you think people are in such a hurry to try and fulfil societies perception?
It’s the idea of success in the modern society and what it means and what it takes to be successful in that terminology. We view success in a way that it takes certain things and sacrifices, certain indulgences. So if you’re not going that way then they might look at you differently. But we can’t live up to that, we have to live the right way; we have to live how we’re supposed to live. To help each other with unselfishness and less materialism. That is the way to live.
In saying that, how do you find living in Los Angeles where there is such an emphasis on success and material possessions? You have moved from Jamaica and are now living in LA, how do you find balance in the culture there?
Well, we talk about perception. How I perceive it: when I look at it, I see the planet Earth. I don’t see LA, I see the trees, I see the mountains, I see the birds. Same thing as I see in Jamaica. I see people, I see human beings. I don’t judge human beings, you know, I don’t pre-judge anyone in any way. Society has one way of perceiving something, and we have one way of perceiving something. This is how they see it and you have to choose which way you want to see it.
How do you feel about social media? You discuss “dividing us and categorising” in We are the People. How do you feel social media has a part in that, and how do you feel about using social media?
Social media, just like anything else in our society, is a tool. Can be used for good and bad. It’s just a tool really, but who are you going to listen to and who are you going to emulate? Some social media is very influential to people. Some kids get trapped in social media and get influenced in negativity and certain abuses, which is wrong. Some people get brain washed, and decided to kill people and go out and do bad things because they get brain washed over social media. Some people become so materialised over social media.
But then again, you can use social media to achieve some positive things. We just have to be careful who we’re listening to and what we’re listening to. We have to use it the way we want to use. I like it, I like communicating with people, my friends, my family. It’s good for communicating; sometimes we go back and forth a little bit but I enjoy it. It expands my world, it expands me, my mind. To know there are other people out there and I’m not just living in my own little bubble. It’s good in certain ways.
You once said, “We must think for ourselves, and formulate our own ideas and that we were created to evolve, and each individual must evolve themselves spiritually and consciously.” If someone reached out to you seeking guidance, looking to evolve where would you recommend to start?
*laughs* where would I recommend…
I don’t know what I would recommend. Listen, it’s not a thing that is written in a book, you know? It’s your own life, it’s your own consciousness, it’s your own intention. What is your intention? Have an intention. My intention is to love and spread love and be a positive influence. That is my intention and that can guide me and that can start me on the road to evolve. To evolve I have the intention of knowing: this is what I want to do and this is a positive intention. But everyone is different and that is why I can’t answer this question correctly, because everyone has a different road. There is no one way for everyone. Just have an open mind to think and an open mind to learn. Don’t close your mind.
So it’s all be about connecting with yourself and that truth in you.
Yeah, that is the key. It is there. It is really there. It is really in you, it really is. It’s there. It was there long before.
It is always there, and that’s why I ask about social media, because I feel like in a way that it’s trying to take that from us. Like, we’re trying to engage in other people and something else and forgetting what’s in us.
True, that is true too. It’s a balance. Everything is about balance. That is the whole thing with the universe, balance. Once things come out of balance, that’s when you get discard and disruption and corruption. It doesn’t mean equal balance; it’s balance in the right proportion. That makes everything work together.
How do you find that truth in yourself when you get lost?
I think you find the truth in time. Really and truly, it’s not like you find it one moment. It’s like you experience it through your lifetime. You learn to recognise it through your lifetime. And then, every now and again, if you fall off, or if something is going on, you have the realisation that this truth exists because you have experienced it. Even if you are in a bad way right now, you know it exists because you have experienced it. That’s key, as long as you have an open mind, you will experience it I think. You just have to have an open mind; we must not be closed-minded. That only stops us.
I feel like that kind of ties in with the message of Ganga or herb as you would call it, and how it opens up your mind. I find it really fascinating what your whole family is doing right now, with the Marley Natural and the products of weed and hemp. I want to ask why you find it so important?
Well this is a plant we’re talking about. It’s a plant that everyone should be able to grow in their back yard. Just like I should have some tomatoes and some potatoes in my back yard, I shouldn’t be going to the store for tomatoes and potatoes. I should grow them in my backyard, you know what I’m saying? This is the way it’s supposed to be, really. This plant has its purpose and its use and yet it is not for everyone. Not everything is for everyone – some people might have a reaction that’s not positive, so we still have to be truthful and not too fantastical about it, we must maintain a reality about it, and a standard. And be careful, don’t misuse and abuse it. The more free it gets, the more we have to make sure it maintains its own integrity, because the plant is for special use. It has an integrity and if we start manipulating it and messing with it then it looses its natural integrity. Because we start trying to make it more potent than it’s supposed to be, so the more natural everything is the better it is. In anything we can check out in life. The more natural it is the better it is for us. So that is what I have to say about it really.
Well you’re saying the more natural, the better. How do you feel about hydroponic? Do you agree with that?
We are mankind, we will always try and mess with stuff. And that is who we are, but I like natural things, that’s what I will say. I like natural. I like the way nature intended it to be, for me to have it that way. Whether it’s what you eat, what you smoke or what you drink, what you breath, I want it to be the way nature made it, not how some guy made it you know.
I love that you have created Marijuanaman and by doing so, you’re saying Marijuana is not a villain. Can we expect another comic from you?
And you’ve got your organic line also.
Yeah the non GMO coconut and hemp seeds. The hemp seeds was a way to kind of get into the position to speak about hemp, because we talk about marijuana a lot but we don’t talk about hemp a lot, and I think that hemp is just as important in terms of environmental impact, industrial impact that we can have on the planet. Hemp is really important. I tell people we need to talk about the whole plant, not just half of the plant, not just half of the story. Let’s not fool ourselves anymore with half stories, lets get whole stories. And use all of the plant, it benefits mankind in more ways than a thousand.
Well, there’s still a long way for it to go here in Australia. We have our election coming up and I was walking down the street before and saw one of the advertisements for a party, Legalise Cannabis Now! I found that really interesting.
*Laughs* That’s cool, I like that.
I just want to get back onto your album and the music. You’re following the album with a 35 stop North American tour, can we expect you on our shores anytime soon?
Yeah man! Next year, we’re hoping to come out there next year and play in New Zealand, Japan, Hawaii and the Pacific. It’s been a while and I really want to come play some music in Australia.
How do you stay grounded on tour? If you’re doing a 35 stops, that’s a long time. Do you take your family with you?
Sometimes if the children aren’t in school, they come or my wife come with me. But otherwise I stay grounded, by just living in the moment and realising that this is it. This is real, this is life, this is a part of what we’re doing. Take it day by day and just live life. This is my situation, I accept it and just live, and play music.
Well, we appreciate what you’re doing and thank you so much for your time today.
Thank you very much.
All images: ziggmarley.com