Sun | Nov 29, 2020

‘I was inspired to do this children’s album’ - Ziggy talks fun of ‘More Family Time’; grief over Toots

Published:Sunday | October 25, 2020 | 12:16 AMYasmine Peru - Senior Sunday Gleaner Writer
Ziggy Marley described Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert as like a father to him.
Ziggy Marley described Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert as like a father to him.
Ziggy Marley
Ziggy Marley
Ziggy Marley
Ziggy Marley
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Marley scion Ziggy admitted to The Sunday Gleaner in a recent interview that while contemplating producing his latest album, he found himself in a bit of a quandary as it related to the path he should take and the themes he should explore.

“With Black Lives Matter being a big thing and COVID going on, should I stay on course or go the children’s route? But I realised that the kid dem a go through a lot with COVID to and with my kids at home, and Isaiah [his son] making his funny goo goo ga ga sounds, I was inspired to do this children’s album,” the father of seven explained.

A jovial Ziggy admitted that he had a crocus bag of fun playing around with More Family Time, the sequel to his 2010 Grammy Award-winning Family Time. “It was a great experience. I am allowed to be a child again, and if this album can bring a smile to your face, that’s it. I am satisfied. Mission accomplished,” he said of the album, on which he declares in one of the songs that he’s “going outside to play with the sky”. Ziggy even tests out his Swahili on the single, Jambo, with pal Angelique Kidjo.

There is no doubt that the 10-track More Family Time is celebrity-studded, with guest stars such as Ben Harper, Sheryl Crow, Tom Morello, Busta Rhymes, Angelique Kidjo, Tom Morello, Alanis Morisette, his brother Stephen, and the Marley Kids. Oh, there’s also Romeo, the pet, who gets his name in the spotlight on the song, appropriately titled, My Dog Romeo.

Ziggy said of his collaborators: “They are all people whose music I enjoy, and I asked them, and they all said yes. I didn’t have to persuade anybody to do it, and maybe that’s partly because it has to do with children and also because I asked. The music is uplifting and positive. It turned out really well.”

He is also quite pleased with the reactions from his fans, which pop up on his social media pages.

Quizzed about the possibility of a Grammy, Ziggy told The Sunday Gleaner that a Grammy award was never on his mind while making More Family Time during quarantine and was not even aware if the eligibility period for 2019-2020 had passed when he released it on September 18.

With the album project a done deal, Ziggy is turning his attention to other areas. “I am working on a couple books now. One is titled John Crow, a story about a John Crow based on my childhood in Bull Bay, when we used to see those birds a lot,” he shared.

BOB MARLEY75 PHOTO BOOK

There is also the Bob Marley75 photo book, one of the projects commemorating the icon’s 75th birthday. According to Ziggy, the pictures show Bob in his natural habitat and give a perspective beyond the stage. “If you were around Bob as a friend, this is the Bob you would know,” he said.

That project took about a year to complete, and for Ziggy, going through the photos bring back happy memories. “But it was so sad that Bob died so young. The man was in the prime of him life. Me and my brother Stephen were always around him. They are beautiful photos,” he said in a voice soaked with nostalgia.

And speaking of his father, Ziggy recently lost another ‘father’ in the form of ska, rocksteady, and reggae legend Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert.

“Dem man deh is like mi father. Is like we have a connection in a way. It’s weird. It always feel like we was long-time friend. His death is a real loss to us, and I still feel it to the utmost,” he said. Ziggy recalled that the last time he spoke to Toots was a few weeks before he was admitted to the hospital, and everything was good.

Nine days after Toots’ death, Ziggy posted a picture of himself and Toots on social media and captioned it: “Toots and I spoke not long before his passing. It was a conversation for @interviewmag. Man, revisiting this is very emotional. Wow! Listen to @tootsmaytalsofficial new album #gottobetough at link in story a great piece of work from a founding father of reggae.”

“Toots’ personality was a joy,” he said as he emphasised the importance of showing respect for legends. “I have the utmost love and respect for his generation. I want the youths dem inna Jamaica fi understand that respect and honour due to man like Toots and others who were doing this music long before us and set the foundation,” he advised sternly.

Toots appeared on Ziggy’s Family Time album, and Ziggy collaborated with Toots on a cover of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds for his recently released album, Got to be Tough.

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com