NEW YORK - Ziggy Marley wants to get in touch with the future leaders of our nation: That's why his latest release is a children's CD.
"Family Time," released last month, is a reggae-flavored kids album that Marley hopes will connect with those he says can best evoke change.
The disc features vocals from three generations of Marleys: Ziggy's 3-year-old daughter, Judah; his mother (and Bob Marley's widow), Rita; and sister Cedella.
Outside of the Marley household, the album also has guest appearances from Paul Simon, Jack Johnson, Willie Nelson and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Q. Why did you decide to record a children's album?
A. I want to get the message to people who have an open mind, who don't have closed mind, who's not already set in their ways, and the only people like that are children. If I say my purpose is to make music that is going to make a change in the world or influence people, then who better to influence than children?
Q. There are a number of guests on the CD.
A. There are so many people I could ask, but it's people who I felt, people who I feel would add something to the music. This is not a publicity stunt or a marketing plan, it's a heartfelt thing for children and the record is for children, trying to teach children things and inspire children. I don't like asking people [for] favors, but because this was for kids, I was much more comfortable going out and saying, "What you think about doing this thing?"
Q. When you listen to "Family Time," does it remind you of your childhood?
A. In Jamaica, when we had independence celebrations; there's a whole cultural program that goes on that kids get involved with and we used to be involved in that. And on this record, I did a song called "Hold 'Em Joe," which is a traditional Jamaican cultural song, [and] that was the first song that I ever sung in front of an audience.
Q. What do you recall learning about music from your father when you were growing up?
A. My father didn't tell me. We more experienced it because usually what he would do is call you very roughly, "Hey, come sing!" . . . We would sing with him when he was writing songs.
Q. You have five children. Do you see any of them becoming musicians?
A. They're already musicians. I love what I see, and it's real. They're not trying. They really have something. Where they get it from, I don't know, but they have something. It's beautiful to see that and that's not just because I am their father. Whether they eventually do it, I don't know, but they have it.
Q. What other kinds of music would you like to explore?
A. I want to explore more African music. I'm into African music so I want to explore it more and see what I can do with it. I like the grooves, I like the hypnotic thing about African music. I want to see if I could eventually one day blend more African into this reggae thing and see what happens. *