Ziggy Marley on Jamaica, Ganja & Reggae’s Evolution
The first time I interviewed Ziggy Marley was 20 years ago, when we were both 26. He was touring behind Joy & Blues, his fourth album with the Melody Makers (working alongside siblings Cedella, Stephen and Sharon Marley). I was in my second year as a music journalist, just dipping my toes into the waters of celebrity interviews. As a huge Bob Marley fan I was in awe, sitting on a sofa, shrouded in smoke, literally surrounded by his offspring.
Ziggy has done a lot over the past two decades. His political activism led to work with the United Nations. He and his family launched the Ghetto Youths Crew and Tuff Gong Worldwide (a spin-off of Bob’s Tuff Gong International) record labels. He won five Grammy Awards and a Daytime Emmy Award. He released a pro-marijuana song in support of California’s Proposition 19 initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, and a comic book called Marijuanaman. And he recently released his fifth solo album, Fly Rasta.
When I talked to Ziggy back in 1994, I was struck by how humble, down-to-earth and affable he was. During our conversation 20 years later, I realized he hasn’t changed a bit. Here are the highlights of our chat, which ranged from his endlessly positive attitude and love of nature to ecotourism in Jamaica and the legalization of marijuana in two U.S. states.