New route for Ziggy
ZIGGY Marley is plotting a new course with his latest album, Fly Rasta.
The 10-track set, the singer-songwriter's fifth studio effort, is scheduled for release on April 15.
Marley, the eldest son of reggae legend Bob Marley, spoke to the Sunday Observer about his new project which he labels "epic reggae".
"Is a concept album. I took the arrangement seriously and had to educate myself, as I wanted emotions in the music. It is not linear, it has hills and valleys... a melodic arc," he said.
The album hears the 45-year-old fusing reggae with rock, soul, funk and punk.
To achieve this hybrid, Marley got the assistance of co-producer Dave Cooley, who is known for his work with independent rock bands. He also reassembled his sisters, Sharon and Cedella of the Melody Makers, to provide background vocals.
"The Melody Makers have a sound. They added a whole lot to it. It was nice having them," he said.
Marley enjoyed commercial success and critical acclaim with the Melody Makers (which also included brother Stephen), winning three Grammy Awards.
He has not replicated those achievements as a solo act. His projects include a rock album (Dragonfly) and a children's set (Family Time).
The Tomorrow People singer hopes to reach a new audience with Fly Rasta while not compromising his message.
"I want to expand the music's borders. We need to expand without leaving where we coming from. We can't leave out the roots," he said.
He also plans to use to the set to reconnect with a Jamaican audience.
The album's title track features pioneer toaster U-Roy. Marley lists it as one of his favourites.
"Working with U-Roy is one of the greatest thing in my career. The man is a legend beyond legends. It was a privilege," he said.
U-Roy (Ewart Beckford) is known for the dancehall standards Wake the Town (And Tell the People) and Wear You to The Ball.
Marley recently won his second solo Best Reggae Album Grammy for his In Concert set which sold a paltry 6,000 copies. He is not undaunted.
"Mi nuh watch sales. Good music, a good music. Our music is spiritual and God music. So, if it come, it come," he said.
Marley has a number of American and European dates planned to support Fly Rasta.
The first of these shows is scheduled for February 19 at the Belly Up in San Diego, California.
The official tour starts April 8 in Los Angeles at Club Nokia. Three days later, Marley plays the Tortuga Festival in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
His European leg kicks off April 15 in Brussels, Belgium.