By Rob LeDonne
When you have one of the most ubiquitous last names in music and your father is considered a legend, it stands to reason that it would be tough to carry on such a potent legacy. Ziggy Marley, however, has carved out a niche for himself over the past few decades as one of the most familiar and successful faces in reggae music today, dominating the genre up to present day.
“Love is my religion. That kind of wraps up who I am,” Marley explained of his continued success from his Southern California home. Today, he’s gearing up for what’s becoming an annual season-ending performance at the Del Mar Racetrack on Aug. 31. “We always get a big crowd in Del Mar. I love performing in Southern California; this is where I met my wife, after all.”
Family has been a major component of Marley’s life, which goes against the cliched grain of hard-partying performers who lead a hectic life on the road.
“I have six children. My youngest is 2 and the oldest is 24. I was very young when I had my first child, so I have learned a lot since then,” Marley said.
By all accounts, Marley is a devoted father who spends as much time as he can with his kids while touring North America.
“This past summer, they all came up to Canada and Mexico with me for my shows. They’ll be coming to Del Mar, too; when they’re out of school they like to tag along,” Marley noted, saying that even his youngest is aware of his father’s fame. “They know, they see me up there on stage and join me sometimes, which is fun.”
Marley’s children have made a major mark on his creative endeavors as well. This past March, he released his first children’s book titled “I Love You Too,” which is also an extension of his love mantra. In addition, Marley has also become something of an entrepreneur. His website,
, features a plethora of Ziggy-branded items such as coconut oil and hemp seeds.
That’s not to forget his music, which has earned Marley five Grammys and counting; this past February, he performed on the telecast alongside Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Sting and his brother Damien in tribute to his late father Bob.
“I still really enjoy performing live,” explained Marley, who has been rocking out on stage since he was a kid as part of The Melody Makers. “It’s the best forum for me to express myself.”
Lately, Marley has also found social media to be a turning point in expression for his career and the music industry in general.
“I like Twitter. It gives me more forms of communication to create more friendships with my fans around the world, and to share things with people,” Marley said. “ I don’t go crazy on it, but it definitely brings us all closer together. Especially for me being an independent artist, I’m not on TV or in popular magazines all the time, so expression through social media is important.”
Marley also has a monthly radio show on Sirius to express himself.
“It’s pretty awesome, but I’m so shy about it because it’s so different than making music,” he said of the talk show where he plays reggae tunes. “I took it on because I was afraid of it.”
Next year, Marley is releasing a new album of tracks that him and his band are recording right now.
“I just really like the music we’re making, it’s a very exciting thing what’s happening now in reggae music,” he noted. “We’re trying to push the envelope.”
Catch Ziggy Marley and his band perform at the Del Mar Racetrack on Saturday, Aug. 31.