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An Inside Talk with Ziggy Marley

Ziggy Marley is a reggae legend. He is playing Crossroads KC August 13th. His newest album is Fly Rasta. Ziggy recently discussed his new album, Fly Rasta, how his life and career are one and the inspiration he draws from his father.

How old were you when you first got into songwriting? How’d that happen for you?  I mean, obviously, you’ve been surrounded by music your entire life. When did you first start writing your own material? 

It was a song about a girl. I think I was about ten or eleven. That was the first time, but then after that, I don’t know. I’m not an intellectual songwriter, so I don’t know when it really started to tell the truth. All of the sudden, I’m just writing, songs.

Do you feel that song writing is just something that just comes to you naturally?  What inspires you lyrically?

For this last album, things that I went through. I wrote songs about stuff that I went through. You write something that you got, but we have to get everybody tuned to it. The song is not just about you, but other people can relate to it.

Absolutely, you want to make something that connects with many different people.

Yes, yes.

Your family has been about writing music about themes. Your dad, he made music that connected with so many different people. Growing up, what inspired you the most about your father? 

I think it was his toughness, you know?

Yeah.

His toughness and leadership role. I think that really inspired me.

Absolutely. Within your own music, you’ve used your music to make so many positive things happen. With this album, Fly Rasta, what was the first song you wrote for it?

It’s probably “I Get Up.” It was the first thing that came to me after the injury. I injured my knee in soccer and went through some other difficult things. I come out of it and I get up.

Absolutely. You make music that helps to keep people inspired. That’s what it’s all about.

Yeah, hopefully yeah.  Somebody is touched by a lyric and it will be good for that. Motivate people who’ve gone through some difficulties, you know?

Yeah, absolutely. A lot of people make music and it’s disposable. You don’t make disposable music.  You make music that hits people hard and that’s why you are on a totally different level. Do you follow a certain writing process? Do you start with lyrics first or melody first? Is there a certain way you go about it?

There’s no process. However it comes, it comes. I can’t have a process. It grows naturally.

How often do you find yourself writing songs?

It depends on the season. It’s just like winter, summer, spring, fall, orange season, mango season, I have writing seasons.

Absolutely. You’re always involved in so many different projects too, beyond music. What are some of your new projects you’re working on?

I have some stuff that’s already been done, because right now I’m just focusing on Fly Rasta. We have a couple of books that we’ve put out already.  One is the Marijuana Man comic book. The next one is I Love You Too, a kid’s book. Hopefully, I can expand my creativity in some film and then some more book stuff. The internet and these things, it gives me another real estate to try other creative endeavors. Anything’s possible. Yeah. You’re such a creative force that it knows no bounds, you know? Whatever you apply yourself to, you always put your own slant on it.

Yeah, sure. 

I’m sure coming up, I’m sure your dad taught you to look at things in a different view point, right?

No, we just grew up that way. I think some things are innate, some even before I was born. It’s a part of who I am. There are certain

traits within us that are not taught, it just is.

Yeah. It’s something that’s just natural. What advice would you give to artists just starting out?  What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?

My career, it’s not a thing, it’s alive, you know. The thing with me is that my life and my music are connected. My career is not separate from my life. It’s not like I have my career and I have my life. It’s all one thing. The challenges we face in life are the challenges we face in careers. It’s the same challenge, it’s the same thing. It’s all one thing. The challenges of other people who criticize or don’t believe in what you’re doing. The internal challenges that you face yourself. Sometimes you are not sure. It’s all of these types of things that happen in life, it’s a part of it. Advice to up and coming people is try to be true to who you are. That’s a good lesson for life and career.

McClain Johnson

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