Ziggy Marley

Ziggy Marley
Marley in 2011
BornDavid Nesta Marley
(1968-10-17) 17 October 1968
Kingston, Jamaica
  • Singer-songwriter
  • musician
  • music producer
  • voice actor
Years active1979–present
SpouseOrly Agai
Children7, including Bambaata Marley
Parent(s)Bob Marley (father)
Rita Marley (mother)
RelativesSharon Marley (half-sister)
Cedella Marley (sister)
Stephen Marley (brother)
Rohan Marley (half-brother)
Julian Marley (half-brother)
Ky-Mani Marley (half-brother)
Damian Marley (half-brother)
Robert Marley (half-brother)
Nico Marley (nephew)
Cedella Booker (grandmother)
Skip Marley (nephew)
Jo Mersa Marley (nephew)
Selah Marley (niece)
Musical career
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, percussion, piano
LabelsTuff Gong Worldwide, Virgin, EMI Records, Elektra Records

David Nesta "Ziggy" Marley (born 17 October 1968) is a Jamaican reggae musician. He is the son of reggae icon Bob Marley and Rita Marley. He led the family band Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers until 2002, with whom he released eight studio albums. After the disbandment, Ziggy launched a successful solo career by having released eight solo studio albums on his own record company, Tuff Gong Worldwide. Ziggy continues his father’s heritage to record and self-release all of his music. Marley is an eight-time Grammy Award winner and a Daytime Emmy Award recipient.

Early life

David Nesta Marley was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on October 17, 1968. He grew up in Trenchtown, a poor neighborhood of Kingston, and in Wilmington, Delaware, where he attended elementary school for a few years. Ziggy grew up very active, playing soccer and running the mountains, a lifestyle passed on from his parents. As the oldest son of Bob and Rita Marley, Ziggy grew up surrounded by music from an early age. He has 5 half brothers, one brother and two sisters. He received guitar and drum lessons from his father and began sitting in on Wailers recording sessions by the age of ten.


1979-1984: Family beginnings

In the earliest known record of his musical career, 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 name never stuck, however, and instead, David went on to become known as "Ziggy", a nickname often reported to have been given to him by his father Bob Marley, meaning "little spliff". However, 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 1970s, 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.

1985–2002: Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers

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 for them four years earlier. All royalties from the single were pledged to the United Nations, to aid its efforts during the International Year of the Child.

The Melody Makers made their onstage 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. The Melody Makers recorded an unreleased album titled Children Playing in 1979.

After Bob Marley's death in 1981, 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. The Melody Makers' first fully released album was Play the Game Right in 1985. Their 1988 album Conscious Party was a major worldwide hit and received a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers won three Grammy Awards and five nominations in total before disbanding in 2002.

2003–2006: Dragonfly/Solo Career beginning

After the Melody Makers disbanded, Ziggy Marley launched a solo career. His debut solo album, Dragonfly, was released in April 2003. The album featured the single "True To Myself", which remains one of his biggest hits. The track "Rainbow in the Sky" features both Flea and John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, while "Melancholy Mood" features only Flea.

2006–2011: Tuff Gong Worldwide (independent artist)

Marley performing in 2007

In July 2006, his second solo album, Love Is My Religion, was released on his independent record label Tuff Gong Worldwide. The album won a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album, making it Marley's 4th Grammy win. He also performs the theme song for children's animated show Arthur.

Marley performed a duet with Donna Summer for her 2008 album Crayons. In May 2009, his third solo album Family Time, was released on Tuff Gong Worldwide. Family Time was presented as a children's album and 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 June 2011, Marley released his fourth album Wild and Free. The title track, featuring Woody Harrelson, was available for free with the pre-order of Ziggy's first comic book, Marijuanaman.

2012–present: Two more albums

In 2013, Marley's 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 Cbeebies animation 3rd & Bird. Ziggy released the children's book, I Love You Too, based on the song and illustrated by Agnieszka Jatkowska. In April 2014, Ziggy Marley released his fifth solo studio album, entitled Fly Rasta. 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.

In May 2018, Marley released his most recent studio album, Rebellion Rises, through Tuff Gong Worldwide. 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 the album "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."

Personal life

Marley brothers in 1997

Ziggy Marley is the eldest son of Bob Marley and Rita Marley. His brothers are Stephen Marley, Julian Marley, Ky-mani Marley, Robert Nesta Marley, Jr, Rohan Marley and Damian Marley. His sisters are Sharon Marley, Cedella Marley, Karen Marley, Stephanie Marley and Serita Stewart.

He is married to Orly Agai, an Israeli of Iranian-Jewish descent, who is a former vice-president of William Morris Agency. They have four children: one daughter, Judah Victoria, and three sons, Gideon Robert Nesta, Abraham Selassie Robert Nesta, and Isaiah Sion Robert Nesta. He also has three children from previous relationships: a son, Bambaata (b. 1989), a daughter, Justice (b. 1991), and a daughter named Zuri (b. 1995).


U.R.G.E. Foundation

The Unlimited Resources Giving Enlightenment (U.R.G.E.) was founded in 2007 by Ziggy Marley. It is a non-profit, charity foundation working towards improving educational, health and community environments for children.

U.R.G.E acts worldwide, but their main acting areas include Jamaica and Ethiopia, among other African countries. U.R.G.E.'s missions include action and awareness.




Other philanthropic works

Other works

Acting and voice-overs

Acting and voice-overs
Year Title Role Notes
1990 Parker Lewis Can't Lose Himself
1992 Sesame Street Himself Episode: 23.70. Melody Makers also made an appearance. Performed "Small People" from their album Jahmekya
1995 Family Matters Himself Also performed "Power to Move Ya" from Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers's album Free Like We Want 2B
1997 New York Undercover Himself Episode: "Is it a Crime?"
2003 Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc Reflux (voice) Uncredited
2004 Charmed Musical Guest Episode: "The Legend of Sleepy Halliwell"
2004 Shark Tale Ernie (voice) Also performed a version of "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley
2005 Club Oscar Ernie (voice)
2007 My Gym Partner's a Monkey Crockadle (voice) Episode: "Mongoosed/Mellow Fellows"
2009 Sesame Street Himself Episode: "Wild Nature Survivor Guy"
2010 3rd & Bird Himself Episode: "Jamaica"
2010 Wonder Pets! The Cheshire Cat (voice) Episode: "Adventures in Wonderland"
2016 Hawaii Five-0 Bones Episode: "Ka Pohaku Kihi Pa'a"
2016 Pup Star Dog Gnarly (voice)
2017 Pup Star: Better 2Gether Dog Gnarly (voice)
2018 Pup Star: World Tour Dog Gnarly (voice)
2020 Fraggle Rock: Rock On! Himself Episode: "Party Down in Fraggle Rock!"
2021 The Runaway Bunny (TV special) Singer
2023 Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Lenny (voice)

Musical features

Musical Features
Year Artist Song Credits
2001 Cheb Mami Madanite Producer; Performer
2004 Dora the Explorer Three Little Birds (feat. Ziggy Marley) Performer
2007 Angelique Kidjo Sedjedo Songwriter; Performer
2008 Donna Summer Crayons (featuring Ziggy Marley) Songwriter; Performer
2011 Beatriz Luengo He Prometido (feat. Ziggy Marley) Performer
2011 Stephen Marley The Chapel Performer
2012 Jack Johnson Cry Cry Cry Songwriter; Performer
2013 Cody Simpson Love Songwriter; Performer
2013 Andra Day Coolin' in the Streets (Featuring Ziggy Marley) Performer
2014 Carlos Santana Iron Lion Zion (feat. Ziggy Marley) Performer
2014 Dionne Warwick Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head Performer
2016 The Laurie Berkner Band My My Marisol Performer
2016 Florida Georgia Line Life is a Honeymoon Performer
2017 Morgan Heritage One Family Performer
2018 Kenny Chesney Love for Love City (with Ziggy Marley) Performer
2019 Renee & Friends where do the children play? Performer
2019 Looner Good Enough Producer; Performer
2019 Looner All Women Producer
2020 Carlos Vives El Hilo Songwriter; Performer
2021 Maluma Tonika (feat. Ziggy Marley) Songwriter; Performer
2021 Jake Shimabukuro All You Need is Love Performer
2021 Natiruts América Vibra Songwriter; Performer
2021 Ben Harper & Ziggy Marley Spin it Faster Performer
2022 LeAnn Rimes the only Performer
2022 The Marley Brothers Cornerstone 2022 (feat. Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley, Damian Marley, Julian Marley & Ky-Mani Marley) Performer

Public appearances

Marley and his daughter Judah made an appearance in the 2009 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.


Albums with the Melody Makers

Solo albums

Live albums


Grammy Awards

Ziggy has won eight awards from fifteen nominations.

Year Awardee Category Result
1982 Reggae Sunsplash '81, A Tribute To Bob Marley Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording Nominated
1985 Play the Game Right Best Reggae Recording Nominated
1988 Conscious Party Best Reggae Recording Won
1989 One Bright Day Best Reggae Recording Won
1991 Jahmekya Best Reggae Album Nominated
1993 Joy and Blues Best Reggae Album Nominated
1995 Free Like We Want 2 B Best Reggae Album Nominated
1997 Fallen Is Babylon Best Reggae Album Won
2006 Love Is My Religion Best Reggae Album Won
2009 Family Time Best Musical Album for Children Won
2011 Wild and Free Best Reggae Album Nominated
2013 Ziggy Marley in Concert Best Reggae Album Won
2014 Fly Rasta Best Reggae Album Won
2016 Ziggy Marley (album) Best Reggae Album Won
2018 Rebellion Rises Best Reggae Album Nominated

Other awards and nominations

Year Award Category
2013 Daytime Emmy Awards
  • Outstanding Original Song - Children's and Animation - 3rd & Bird (2008) - For song "I Love You Too"
2014 CLIO Awards
  • “Making of Legend Remixed: The Documentary”: Hyundai / UME / Tuff Gong - Brand Collaborations - Integrated Campaign (Bronze)
  • Music partnerships/collaborations for “Making of Three Little Birds Remix” (Shortlist)
  • Documentary Film, Executive Producer
IRAWMA (International Reggae And World Music Awards)
  • Best Album
2017 UCLA George and Ira Gershwin Award
  • Lifetime Musical Achievement
2021 IRAWMA (International Reggae And World Music Awards)
  • 2021 Inductee Hall of Fame/ Lifetime Achievement
Medgar Evers College
  • Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts


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External links

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