Ziggy Marley spreading the love to Vail | VailDaily.com

Ziggy Marley spreading the love to Vail

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

VAIL -Reggae artist Ziggy Marley wants the world to embrace his favorite four-letter word: “Love.”

It’s the theme of his most recent album, “Love is my Religion” and it’s the message he will spread Thursday night at Dobson Ice Arena in Vail.

“People all over the world, in my travels, have given me great response to “Love is my Religion” and seem to agree with the sentiment of love being the foundation of everything else,” Marley said this week in a phone interview.

The Grammy winner will be the first of several famous artists to play Snow Daze this year.

Organizers expect his concert to coax out the valley’s robust reggae fan base, including Marley family devotees; Ziggy is reggae giant Bob Marley’s oldest son.

“He’s a phenomenal act. He always has been,” said James Deighan with Highline Sports and Entertainment, the company responsible for promoting Snow Daze. “He loves performing, and actually when we did book him he mentioned how excited he was to be back in Vail because I think it’s probably been 10 years, maybe more.”

The concert comes just two days after the re-release of “Love is My Religion,” Ziggy Marley’s second solo album. He improves on the original with live tracks, including a cover of his father’s hit, “Jammin.”

Marley will swing by Vail as one of the last stops on a worldwide tour. In the past year alone, he’s been to China, Australia and Dubai.

“Love is My Religion” focuses unsurprisingly on love and spirituality, though some songs wax political. Ziggy said he sought to “speak to the human” rather than expound on social issues with his 2006 hit.

Marley speaks in a soft, meditative manner, as if he tapping into some higher consciousness ” at least, that’s what he strives for when he writes songs.

“It’s a spiritual experience,” Marley said. “It starts out with an idea and then all of a sudden there’s a song. And it changes or appears at times into what it finally becomes. It’s a very special thing. Usually I write songs by myself, when I’m alone. And usually I start out very simple and then sometimes, a few days or a few years later it finally comes to fruition. It’s unpredictable.”

Marley subscribes to a unique brand of spirituality ” inquisitive and informal.

“I would say love is a big part of it, thinking love and I don’t know, you know, just love, really,” he said. “I read a lot of books. I read every kind of philosophy book from Eastern philosophy to Chritianity, whatever. I read all of these types of philosophy. I like looking to the sky, look to the stars, I like to breathe the air, fresh air. I like looking at the trees, I like looking at animals.”

Born in Trenchtown, Jamaica, Marley teamed up with his siblings at a young age to form the hit band Melody Makers. He looks back fondly on his youth.

“My childhood wasn’t set in one place,” Marley said. “We started out in Trenchtown. We did a lot of moving during my childhood, but what stands out is the home, the setting that we were born in and we grew up in. A lot of people know my father as this big legend, whatever, superstar, but at the beginning it was very humble, but you know what? It was great. We weren’t living in the lap of luxury but it was great.”

It was during his youth that Marley picked up his nickname, Ziggy (his real name is David Nesta). Marley is unsure where the name came from, but he’s heard plenty of theories. Gossipers have guessed that his name stems from the David Bowie persona “Ziggy Stardust” but that’s obviously untrue, he said. Other rumors claim he was named after a marajuana cigarette or picked up his moniker after being hit on the head with a soccer ball (also known as a Zig ball).

Whatever the inspiration for Marley’s nickname, it stuck with him as the Melody Makers rose to fame and even after he launched a solo career with the release of “Dragonfly” in 2003.

“When I decided to do solo projects I had a positive attitude toward them,” he said. “I kind of just go with the flow. You know, everything is cool and I adapted well. I just roll with it. There’s no worry or problems. I just flow with everything that’s happening.”

Thanks to just rolling with it, Marley has four Grammies under his belt and he’s ready to branch out into other forms of media.

He hopes to write a script and even create an educational children’s program, which wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for the star. After all, he played the voice of a Rastafarian Jellyfish in the 2004 film “Shark Tale.”

Children are so important to Marley, he launched a charity that provides medical care to disadvantaged youths in Jamaica.

“I try to focus on kids because I believe the children are the most important assets we have as human beings,” he said.

As for the plight of the human race as a whole, Marley says people are prisoners of doctrines, whether those doctrines are religious or political. The song “Be Free” laments: “The system’s got too much control, and they don’t wanna let it go / I’m a prisoner fighting to be free, I’m breaking out of captivity.”

“We are supposed to be able to change the way we think about things, but the system does not allow that, so we find ourselves stuck in an continuous cycle of violence against each other and a continuous cycle of hate and fear because doctrines do not allow us to evolve,” Marley said. “If you have love as your doctrine, then you become open. Your mind will become much more open.”

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