Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica
David Nesta "Ziggy" Marley (born 17 October 1968) is a Jamaican musician and leader of the band Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, and the son of reggae icon Bob Marley and Rita Marley. He also performed the theme song for the children's cartoon series Arthur.In the earliest known record of his musical career, David Marley performed as part of a singing group called The Seven Do Bees, made up of him and his classmates, and wherein he was given the stage name "Freddie Dic". The moniker never stuck, however, and instead, David went on to become known as "Ziggy", a nickname given to him by his father Bob Marley, meaning ‘little spliff’. But Ziggy stated the following to Melody Maker Magazine in 1988: "Me name David but me big Bowie fan. So at the time of the 'Ziggy Stardust' album, me call meself Ziggy and now everyone do."
During the late 70s, Ziggy could also be seen alongside his brother Stephen at some of their father’s larger concerts around Jamaica and abroad. In 1978, the duo appeared on stage at the One Love Peace Concert in Kingston, and the following year at Reggae Sunsplash II in Montego Bay.
Also in 1979, Ziggy and his siblings Sharon, Cedella and Stephen formed the Melody Makers - named after the British weekly pop/rock music newspaper, Melody Maker - and made their recording debut with "Children Playing in the Streets". The track was written for them by their father, who had composed the song four years earlier for them and wanted to share this gift with children around the world. All royalties from the single were pledged to the United Nations, to aid its efforts during the International Year of the Child.
Later that year, the Melody Makers made their on-stage debut as a group on 23 September 1979, performing on the same bill as their father for the first and only time at the ‘Roots Rock Reggae’ two-day concert series in Kingston's National Arena. Ziggy was 11 years old at the time. Notable other early moments in Ziggy’s musical history include a performance with Stephen at their father’s funeral in 1981, and later that year the Melody Makers released their second single, "What A Plot", under the family’s Tuff Gong record label.
After Bob Marley’s passing, Ziggy began performing in his place alongside the Wailers at various shows around Jamaica, and in 1984 the group went on tour in support of the year’s Bob Marley ’Legend’ compilation album release.
He received The George and Ira Gershwin Award from UCLA during UCLA Spring Sing on May 19, 2017.
Later in 1984, Ziggy Marley got back into the studio with his siblings and English producer Steve Levine for what became the single, "Lying in Bed." The following year, they released their debut LP, Play the Game Right. The album was produced by their mother, Rita Marley, and featured Aston and Carlton Barrett on bass and drums, respectively, who were originally the rhythm section for Bob Marley’s Wailers.
In 1986, Hey World was released and credited to Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers. This album laid the groundwork for the group's fast maturing sound. A phenomenal mix of upbeat pop and heavier roots, cemented by hip electro-production, it was evident that the Melody Makers were no longer in the thrall of their father's music, but had found their own voice. In support of the album, Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers embarked on their first tour, a veritable Tuff Gong roadshow with Nadine Sutherland and the I-Three along as opening acts. The group was well received at the yearly Reggae Sunsplash in 1986 and 1987.
In 1988, the band's popularity was at such a height that they were signed to the international major label Virgin Records. Later that year, they went into the studio with Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz of Talking Heads to record their third album, Conscious Party. The album charted at #23 on the Billboard 200 and at #26 on the R&B Albums chart. The album spawned the successful single "Tomorrow People", which charted at #16 on the Mainstream Rock chart and #39 on the Hot 100. The second single "Tumblin' Down" was also well received charting at #1 on Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart and at #28 on the Dance Music/Club Play Singles charts. The album received a Grammy award for "Best Reggae Album".
The Melody Makers' follow-up album One Bright Day, released in 1989. The album charted at #26 on the Billboard 200 and at #43 on the R&B Albums chart. The single "Look Who's Dancin'" received positive feedback and charted at #41 on Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart and at #23 on the Dance Music/Club Play Singles charts. The album also spawned the singles "Black My Story (Not History)", "One Bright Day", "Justice", and "When the Lights Gone Out". The album received a Grammy award for "Best Reggae Album".
In 1991, the group released their sixth album, Jahmekya. Although it brought the Melody Makers their most glowing reviews, the record itself did not begin to equal the sales of their last albums, and their single, "Good Time", barely scraped into the bottom reaches of the charts. The single "Good Time" only charted #85 on Hot 100 charts. The album charted at #3 on the Top World Music Albums and at #63 on the Billboard 200. The album also spawned the singles "Rainbow Country", "Kozmic", and "Small People". The album received a Grammy nomination.
In 1993, the group released their seventh album "Joy and Blues". The album charted at #5 on the Top World Music Albums chart, #75 on the R&B Albums chart, #178 on the Billboard 200 chart, and #11 on the Top Reggae Albums chart. Returning to their roots with a vengeance, and accompanied by former Wailers' bassist Aston Barrett, the album was their final one for Virgin.
In 1995, the group signed a record deal with Elektra and released "Free Like We Want 2 B" accompanied by the group's own recording label "Ghetto Youths United". The album charted at #170 on the Billboard 200 chart and #3 on the Top Reggae Albums chart. The single "Power to Move Ya" charted #13 on the Dance Music/Club Play Singles.
In 1996 Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers released a song called "Love Power" for the Jim Henson soundtrack movie Muppet Treasure Island with the composers Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil. He also performed the song "Hey What a Wonderful Kind of Day" which was later released as the theme song to the Arthur TV Show on PBS.
In early 1997, the group performed at the tribute concert "Marley Magic Live" in Central Park, New York on the Summerstage. They also released their second best-of album "The Best of (1988-1993)". Later that year, the group released their ninth album "Fallen Is Babylon". The album only charted #3 on the Top Reggae Albums chart. In 1998, the second single "Everyone Wants to Be" charted at #16 on the Dance Music/Club Play Singles chart. The album earned the group their third Grammy award.
In 1999, the group released their tenth studio album, "The Spirit of Music". The album peaked at #1 on the Top Reggae Albums chart. The album spawned the singles "Higher Vibration", "Jah Will Be Done", and "One Good Spliff". Later that year, the group reunited to perform at the "One Love All-Star Tribute Concert". The concert was recorded and released in the same year and features other performances from Rita Marley, Julian Marley, Erykah Badu, and other artists.
In 2000, the group released their live album "Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers Live, Vol. 1", which charted at #5 on the Top Reggae Albums chart. In May 2001, the group released a concert DVD "Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers Live". The DVD was filmed in 2001 in Pompano Beach, Florida.
Ziggy Marley's debut solo album, Dragonfly was released on 15 April 2003. The album featured the single "True To Myself." The track "Rainbow in the Sky" features both Flea and John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, while "Melancholy Mood" features only Flea.
On 2 July 2006, his second solo album, Love Is My Religion, was released on his independent record company Tuff Gong Worldwide. The album carried on the reggae-style pop sound and the lyrical themes established in Dragonfly. The album won a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album, making it Ziggy's 4th Grammy win.
Collaborated for the Crayons album Crayons being released during summer of 2008 debuting at #17 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart, which was also its peak and again peaking at #5 on the US R&B albums chart in 2009. The title track is a duet with the one and only Donna Summer.
On 5 May 2009, his third solo children's album Family Time, was released on Tuff Gong Worldwide. Family Time features family and friends; Rita Marley, Cedella Marley, Judah Marley, Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, Jack Johnson, Toots Hibbert, Laurie Berkner, Elizabeth Mitchell, and more. This album won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Album for Children.
In 2013 his song "I Love You Too" won him a Daytime Emmy Award in the 'Outstanding Original Song - Children's and Animation' category, after it was used in the Disney Channel animation 3rd & Bird. Ziggy released his first children's book based off the song "I Love You Too," illustrated by Agnieszka Jatkowska. The book release coincided with the release of the I Love You Too interactive mobile app.
In April 2011, Ziggy Marley announced his fourth album, entitled Wild and Free would be released on 14 June. The title track, featuring Woody Harrelson, was available for free with the pre-order of Ziggy's first comic book, "Marijuanaman".
On 1 January 2013 Ziggy Marley: In Concert was released. The album was recorded live on Ziggy's 2012 World Tour. His band included legendary drummer Santa Davis (Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Carlos Santana), lead guitarist Takeshi Akimoto, guitarist and backing vocalist Beezy Coleman, bassist Pablo Stennet, keyboard players Michael Hyde and George Hughes, percussionist Angel Roché Jr., and backing vocalist Tracy Hazzard. The album won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album at the 56th Grammy Awards.
On 15 April 2014, Ziggy Marley came out with his fifth solo studio album, entitled Fly Rasta, with "Background Vocals from Cedella Marley, Sharon Marley, Rica Newell, Tracy Hazzard, Ian "Beezy" Coleman, Vincent Brantley, Sean Dancy, and Tim Fowlles". Songs like " I Don't Wanna Live on Mars" and "Sunshine", show the emotion that Ziggy tried to portray in this new album. Fly Rasta won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album at the 57th Grammy Awards. Marley later announced his sixth solo album Ziggy Marley to be released spring 2016.
On May 18, 2018, Ziggy Marley released his seventh solo studio album, Rebellion Rises, through Tuff Gong Worldwide. The album was fully written, recorded and produced by Marley.
The album received rave reviews upon release. Cryptic Rock gave the album 5 out of 5 stars, stating "Politically and socially relevant, Rebellion Rises is a war of music, creating peace with a purpose.". Island Stage called the album "a 10-track masterpiece that continues his father’s tradition of promoting emancipation from mental slavery through education, social activism, and healthy living." Reggaeville said "Rebellion Rises is not an angry record. It is not a bitter record. But, it is not a record of hope, either. The time of hoping for change is a notion Marley considers past due. This is a record of action, and for Ziggy Marley, the time for action is now."
Ziggy Marley is the eldest son of Bob Marley and Rita Marley. His brother is Stephen Marley, and half-brothers are Julian Marley and Damian Marley. He is married to Orly Agai, an Israeli of Iranian-Jewish descent, who is a former vice-president of William Morris Agency. Together they have four children: Judah Victoria, Gideon Robert Nesta, Abraham Selassie Robert Nesta, and Isaiah Sion Robert Nesta. Additionally, Ziggy also has three other children from previous relationships: Zuri, Justice, and Daniel "Bambaata" Marley, who is also a reggae and hip-hop artist in his own right. Daniel has also appeared with Ziggy on "Changes." Most of the family resides in Miami.
In 1991, Marley and the Melody Makers contributed the song "Give A Little Love" to the Disney album, For Our Children. The album is a collection of kid-friendly songs by popular artists (e.g. Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, and Elton John), with proceeds given to the Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
Marley made guest appearances as himself on an episode of the sitcom Family Matters in 1995, and on the television series Charmed in season 6 (episode 13, "The Legend of Sleepy Halliwell"), performing "Rainbow in the Sky".
He and his Melody Makers made a guest appearance on the popular kids television show Sesame Street in the 1991-92 season, and sang a Sesame Street version of "Small People" from their 1991 album Jahmekya
In 1996, Marley and the Melody Makers recorded the reggae-style theme song for the children's television series Arthur called "Believe in Yourself".
He voiced Ernie, one of Sykes' (Martin Scorsese) Rasta jellyfish henchmen in the 2004 film Shark Tale. In the film when Oscar (Will Smith) tries to sing the Bob Marley song "Three Little Birds", Marley's character zaps Oscar on the head and says "That's not the way you sing that song, mon." The title song for the film was a cover version of "Three Little Birds" performed by Marley and Sean Paul.
Further voice acting includes "Crockadle" on an episode of My Gym Partner's a Monkey, the Cheshire Cat in a 2010 episode of Wonder Pets, and Reflux the Knaaren in Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc.
Marley covered "Drive" by The Cars for the Adam Sandler movie 50 First Dates opting to use his live band for the recording (Carlton "Santa" Davis- drums, Pablo Stennett - bass, Mikey Hyde - keyboards, Takeshi Akimoto - guitar, Tracy Hazzard - background vocals, Angel Roché Jr. - percussion), and his father's song "Three Little Birds" for the Dora the Explorer soundtrack.
Ziggy is listed as the featured artist on Donna Summer's song, "Crayons," the title track from her 2008 album. He has also performed duets with Angelique Kidjo, Sting, Dora the Explorer, Taj Mahal, The Chieftains, Sean Paul and others.
Marley and his daughter Judah made an appearance in the 2009 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Marley appeared in the 2011 documentary “Reggae Got Soul: The Story of Toots and the Maytals” which was featured on BBC and described as “The untold story of one of the most influential artists ever to come out of Jamaica”.
In 2011, Marley recorded the featured single for the film Beat the World, entitled "Express Yourself" featuring Nneka.
Ziggy Marley released a pro-marijuana song in support of California's Proposition 19 ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana. Voters rejected the ballot but backers said they would mount another legalization campaign in 2012.
He performed in an episode of Sesame Street, playing his well-known song "Set Your Piggies Free", which encourages children to take off their shoes and socks and to explore nature with bare feet. The video involves many celebrities with their children, singing along. The main message of the video, however, is to just "Go Barefoot and Wiggle Those Toes!".
He also appeared on Counting Cars on the History channel. It premiered in June 2013; In the episode, he meets Danny at Vamped to commission a restoration on his father, Bob Marley's, vintage Mercedes.
He also sang with Cody Simpson in his song "Love".
Ziggy Marley produced an unreleased EP for LOONER (band). An indie rock act belonging to his longtime percussionist Angel Roché Jr. Ziggy co-wrote the song "Home" with them, it was released in 2014 on Avian Recording Company. The song can be heard on Season 3 of the WIGS (web channel) series Blue (web series) starring Julia Stiles.
In 2016, he appeared in the TV series Hawaii Five-0 (season 6) Episode 16.
Marley was featured in the song "Life Is A Honeymoon" with Florida Georgia Line, a popular single off of FGL's third studio album Dig Your Roots, which was released in August 2016.