Listen to the album by clicking here.
But beyond improving their education, Ziggy, who began recording songs with his father and siblings when he was only a boy in the turbulent ’70s, wouldn’t mind exposing children to music with more meaning than some of today’s chart toppers. While he admits he hasn’t heard everything that’s out there, Ziggy feels most of what he’s heard of popular music seems to be about “hanging out with your girls and your guns.”
“A lot of it is just entertainment, which is fine sometimes if you just want to be entertained,” he says. “There isn’t a lot of substance out there. We don’t see ourselves as entertainers but as musicians, I want to say something. You need a balance of entertainment and meaning.”
He blames the record companies, radio stations and media equally, saying the market has been pushing forward a glitzy product rather than something with deeper content and adds that videos and live shows have become more about costume changes and pyrotechnics than protest and discussion.
“The problem is where the money is being put,” Ziggy says. “The record companies are expecting returns. They’re in the business of making money not in the business of revolution. We still see music as a way to bring about change. It’s hard to promote an artist that isn’t following the tends of the times but those artists need to keep working and putting it out there.”
Though he’s worked with several major labels in his 30-year music career, Ziggy himself has been putting it out there recently, allowing fans to download some singles from his new album for free. His newest song, “Wild and Free”, celebrates African freedom and the notion of a unified African continent—a cause he believes in passionately and is currently promoting at the World Cup in South Africa.
“Not everything can be sold,” he says. It’s an echo of his father’s last words to him, “Money can’t buy life.”
Shari Goldhagen is the author of the novel Family and Other Accidents.