ZIGGY MARLEY is a man on a mission, and for one so softly spoken, his words are strong. ‘I encourage humanity to rise up and do something about the problems of our planet,’ he says. ‘We are out of balance. Our environment is being destroyed and the people in charge don’t care. They’d sacrifice everything to economics. It’s down to music to spread the word.’
Ziggy is doing exactly that with his seventh solo album, Rebellion Rises, which he wrote, recorded and produced in his home studio in California. As the son of reggae icon Bob Marley, he’s no stranger to music as a force for change, a rallying call for humanity and a weapon against injustice.
‘Every song speaks to rebellion, but the word “love” is also in a lot of them. Love is the foundation,’ he says. ‘The album is a message to the best side of humanity, a rallying cry for us to stand up.
‘When we do, our actions will be felt. We’ll change the direction of this world instead of what we see happening today. We’ll make it better, but we have to do more. We have to take a stand. We have to get more active. No matter what the fake leaders say, we’re going to love one another first.’
It’s a message made clear on the track See Dem Fake Leaders: ‘Making enemies out of friends, killing thousands, hundreds and tens / If only they could lead the word to peace and prosperity.’
‘Our actions cause their actions,’ says Ziggy. ‘So we need to say “No more”. We’re responsible for our actions. We can change the world.’
Despite the perilous state of the world, he still believes the majority of people are good, but need to harness their collective power. ‘I know this. We are more powerful than any political, religious, racist ideology. That’s what this is.’
He has a message for politicians: ‘If promoting love and unity for the Earth is not the agenda or priority of these leaders, then they are fake leaders. What are you leading? Leading is when you make things better for humanity, not just materially but in life and in liberty. If you’re encouraging fighting and war, whether for religion, race, or politics, you’re not a leader. True leaders bring humanity together.’
Like his father, Ziggy is a great believer in change through song. It’s in his blood and his memories of sitting in on recording sessions and learning from reggae royalty.
‘My father and my mother, Rita, both taught me to use music to help people,’ he says. ‘You have to lead by your actions, and actions are more important than words.’
Family is at the heart of everything for him, growing up surrounded by love and music. It’s something he’s been keen to pass on to his own seven children, too.
He’s written children’s albums, winning a Grammy for his first, Family Time. More recently, his record I Love You Too was accompanied by a children’s book.
‘The book is close to my heart. It was a spontaneous exchange between me and my daughter,’ he says. ‘It expresses something so true; it should be repeated as often as possible.’
He’s even created the Ziggy Marley And Family Cookbook, with contributions from his wife Orly, sister Karen and his own children.
He’s working now on spreading the word through social media. ‘We have a voice to make change,’ he says. ‘Some people use social media for self-promotion, but it can be a tool to change the world.’
While spreading the word online, Ziggy travels the world to perform. This weekend that brings him to Portsmouth and London.
‘I love coming to the UK,’ he says. ‘We were here earlier this year for Womad and it’s always somewhere I enjoy playing. I’ve always felt very comfortable in Europe.
‘And, anyway, the food is much better than in America.’