Next week, Ironstone Amphitheatre will be hosting an evening of music with a message, headlined by reggae legend Ziggy Marley.
Marley — known for songs like “Love is My Religion,” “We Are More,” “Circle of Peace” and “Rebellion Rises” — will be joined by hip hop-influenced band Michael Franti & Spearhead.
Marley hopes to inspire something inside of the fans who turn out to see him in Murphys. Touring is all about sharing his message of love, he said.
He’s also looking forward to visiting Ironstone — he’s never been to the area before.
“I’m looking forward to coming to this place,” he said.
Marley started his musical with his father, reggae icon Bob Marley. Ziggy Marley said he has never felt any pressure to live up to his father’s fame, or to break away from it.
Because his path started with his parents, his music represents them as well, he said. But it’s also an expression of himself, and Marley has grown and built on the foundation his parents gave him to create something that is his own thing.
“It was never my intention to forge my own path. It was my intention to be true to who I am,” he said.
Marley’s music has a deeper purpose. He wants to spread a message of love and positivity to help solve the world’s problems — hunger, oppression, suffering.
“That is the problem with the world, and the leaders and politicians. They’re not coming from a place of love,” he said.
When it comes to solving problems like poverty, people like to put a lot of words around it, he said. But Marley believes love for one another is the one necessary element for every solution.
“Love must be the foundation of everything we do,” he said.
Marley shares that message with his fans through his music, but he is also hoping to reach children through his children’s book, “I Love You Too,” working with Little Kids Rock to provide musical instruments to children, and the URGE Foundation.
The picture book was inspired by a conversation with his daughter Judah when she was 3 years old, and shares the lyrics of one of his most popular songs: “When you smile, I’ll smile along. When you cry, my comfort comes. When you walk, I’ll be beside you, holding your hands.”
The URGE Foundation — short for “Unlimited. Resources. Giving. Enlightenment.” — works to improve the lives of children in Jamaica, Africa and around the world.
“Living in Jamaica, we grew up seeing less fortunate situations,” Marley said.
The Marleys lived in a poor neighborhood in Jamaica when Ziggy was young, before they moved to London in the late 1970s.
But even after their move, the Marleys worked hard to give back to their community, Ziggy said. That had a huge influence on him as a teen and young adult.
Marley believes it’s up to everyone to build a better world, and it starts with helping children. At his URGE Foundation, the focus is mainly on education.
“If the children get the right food for their brain, the right education, it’s a building block,” he said.
Adults have made the system we all live in today, he said. Some can be reached, but others are unwilling to change their views and practices to improve things for everyone.
“Children is where the solution lies. It’s not the adults,” he said.
He created the URGE Foundation because he wanted to live up to the message he’s trying to spread: that it’s up to everyone to create positive change.
“The energy has to be put in if we really want to make this world a better place,” he said.
It’s a message that resonates with his fans. In the age of social media, it’s much easier for fans to connect with artists, Marley said, and the artists appreciate that feedback.
The messages he receives from fans are often emotional, he said. Marley is happy that his music is able to help people who are struggling.
“That’s when the music comes in a lot, when people are going through hard times,” he said.