Ziggy on a musical highSaturday, February 14, 2015
BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
REGGAE act Ziggy Marley has responded to criticism that his family automatically wins a Grammy Award once nominated.
The 46-year-old became the most Grammy-decorated reggae artiste winning for his album Fly Rasta, on Sunday. The win earned him a total of four as a solo artiste, and an additional three with his sibling group, The Melody Makers.
The Marley clan has gone home with the Golden Gramophone on 11 occasions since the reggae category was introduced in 1985.
For Marley, it is a good thing if people expect members of his family to win the award once nominated.
"I think we are known for putting out good music, so that may be the basis on which we are judged. If Usain [Bolt] is in a race we expect him to win. If Brazil is playing a football match, we expect them to win because they are Brazil... I guess it's the same with us. I really have nothing bad to say about this... I actually feel good that people expect us to win," he told the Sunday Observer from his base in California.
Marley said there is no formula to creating music that wins the award, but noted that the appeal of his family's music perhaps lies in its global reach.
"It does not mean that if you don't win the Grammy your music isn't good. Our music is wide; it's not one type, so we have a wide range of people who listen, understand and can relate to the message of the music."
In relation to Fly Rasta, Marley noted the album represented a move on his part to maintain growth in reggae music.
"A lot of people are talking about going back. I don't believe we should stifle the music. I think we need to expand reggae and have it reach further, and that was the plan with Fly Rasta. As it relates to the lyrics, it's all about a empowering, encouraging kind of energy. Two years ago, I had some personal health issues that I had to deal with, and so some of the songs are all about this. Songs such as Moving Forward and I Get Up are coming from that place. Musically, I just wanted to keep creative and not follow any trends, but set my out path in the same way some of the great artistes that I look up to did in the past," said Marley.
With all that, Marley confesses that he was not overly confident of winning the Grammy this year.
"I really had no big expectations. I went to the show kinda thinking maybe it's not my year and somebody else will win. I am encouraged by the win and see it as help in spreading the message of the music," he said.
This year sees Bob and Rita Marley's eldest son concentrating on the activities commemorating the 70th anniversary of his father's birth; writing songs for upcoming projects, as well as penning another children's book with the Jamaican 'John Crow' as the main character.
He also is giving serious thought to a project being suggested by his brother, Stephen, for a sons of Marley record featuring his brothers.
"We haven't thought about anything with The Melody Makers for a while, but Stephen has been mentioning something to do together with the brothers... Julian, Damian, Ky-Mani... I think it would be really nice, especially this year being our father's 70th birthday," he said.