A five-time Grammy-winning musician, actor, artist, activist and humanitarian, Ziggy Marley has established his presence on the public stage for over a quarter-century. Which is why, perhaps, there's a wisp of irony in naming his latest album Wild and Free, given not only the focused writing and recording of his fourth solo studio album, but also Ziggy's concurrent involvement in an ambitious tour stretching through this summer, as well as other projects in the realm of publishing and filmmaking. And with the arrival of a new baby requiring his attention, it's remarkable Ziggy is able to capture the energy to keep his sound wild and free! The overall theme of the album is a powerful one, as it propels Marley to challenge social injustice along with the political weapons of ignorance and fear. Wild and Free, his fourth solo album, may be Ziggy's most political and personal to date.
"The thing that makes this new album special is that Ziggy has embraced the more traditional and familiar textures and rhythms of reggae, while further defining the unique artistic vision that sets him apart," says producer Don Was. "His quest to find his own voice within the framework of tradition is the real story of the album." In that quest, Marley finds company in the immense and varied talents of guitarist Takeshi Akimoto (Raya Yarbrough, Dry & Heavy), bassist Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, Sting), keyboardist James Poyser (Eryka Badu, Common, Mariah Carey), drummer Carlton "Santa" Davis (Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear) and percussionist Rock Deadrick (Ben Harper, Chicago, Kenny Loggins).
Ziggy continues to head Tuff Gong Worldwide, in honor of his father's own music label Tuff Gong Records, which envisioned independent ownership of Marley music, leading the relaunch of Bob Marley's official website and a May exhibit at the Grammy Museum in L.A. commemorating the 30th anniversary of his father's passing in 1981. Ziggy recently reclaimed most of the publishing rights to his music from EMI, giving him a strong sense of fulfillment in light of the "independent spirit of what my father dreamed of." This past year, with a mandate to support other Jamaican artists, Tuff Gong released Let's Go Back...Way Back, Vol. 1: Dancehall Originators, the first in a planned series of compilation albums that seek to preserve and promote Jamaican music to new generations.
A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Ziggy Marley and his siblings first sat in on recording sessions with his father's band, the legendary Bob Marley and the Wailers, when he was ten years old. Later, Ziggy joined with his sisters Sharon and Cedella and brother Stephen to become Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers, allowing him to craft his own soulful sound which blends blues, R&B, hip-hop and roots reggae. The Melody Makers earned their first Grammy (Best Reggae Recording) for their third album Conscious Party (1988), produced by Talking Heads Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, which included the hit songs "Tomorrow People" and "Tumbling Down." Subsequent albums included the Grammy-winning One Bright Day (1989), Jamekya (1991), Joy and Blues (1993), Free Like We Want 2 B (1995), Grammy-winning Fallen is Babylon (1997), Spirit of Music (1999) and Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers Live, Vol. 1 (2000), featuring some of their biggest hits, as well as a cover of Bob Marley's "Could You Be Loved." While selling millions of records and selling out numerous concerts, Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers never lost sight of their foundations in faith, fellowship and family.
After two decades as the driving creative force behind The Melody Makers, Ziggy's first solo tour came in Summer 2002, on the 23-city Jeep World Outside Festival, joining such artists as Sheryl Crow, Train and O.A.R. The following year saw the release of his debut solo album, Dragonfly, followed by 2006's Love Is My Religion, a Grammy winner that further explored personal, social and political themes amid a fragrant mix of roots reggae, traditional rock 'n roll, African percussion and other varied musical elements. Recently, Marley won his fifth Grammy Award, in the category "Best Musical Album for Children," for Family Time, a 2009 collection of reggae-inflected, family-oriented songs. Family Time features family and friends including; Rita Marley, Cedella Marley, Judah Marley, Jack Johnson, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Laurie Berkner, Elizabeth Mitchell and Jamie Lee Curtis. Involved with a breadth of charities, Marley leads his own, URGE (Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment), a non-profit organization that benefits efforts in Jamaica, Ethiopia and other developing nations. The charity's missions range from building new schools to operating health clinics to supporting charities like Mary's Child, a center for abused and neglected girls.
Ziggy Marley splits his residency between Florida, Jamaica and California.