Inter:* Welcome to another segment of Muzik Media....with us today is
Marcia Griffiths. Describe for us how you describe yourself?
*MG:* You know I hardly ever describe my self yuh know....(laughs)
*Inter:* I was saying earlier, if I was to interview you, or to get to know
you better I would have to ask your parents. How would they see you today?
*MG:* Well, they would tell you that I'm just a humble person, very humble and most people who
meet me after a while are very surprised. They can't believe its the same
person cause I'm just so down to earth, very natural because I was born like
that. I'm mostly like a nature person. I'm always the same. No matter if I'm
sailing on cloud nine, its just me. Even in my work when I go on stage, one of
my main things is to connect with my audience and to send the message from my
heart sincerely. If I go behind the microphone to record a song, I send the
message out there from my heart. So whenever the song is released it will
hit and connect just the same way in their hearts.
*Inter: *I felt like if we were to describe you as a reggae artist it
wouldn't be sufficient, and was it your intent all a long to be more than
a reggae artist because you have crossed over so many boundaries?
*MG:* No everything was in the hands of God, everything. Because I think.. I don't
take anything for granted when it comes to music because when I read the
bible and I see where God calls upon the singers and the players of the
instruments, and I realize that God gave me a talent. I have a God given
talent and he calls upon the singers. I know that it was no mistake for me
being here. This is my portion in this life to communicate to the world through
the medium of the music, to send message and if I'm in a position that I can
communicate with people I am definitely going to do it, contribute in a
positive way to teach, educate and uplift. Because its not many people that
can communicate with the world and the only level, means and vehicle we
have to spread this message is through the medium of the music and if I'm so
blessed to be in that position I'm going to continue to feed people's souls,
touch people's soul and to uplift them and to heal. Music is a healing. So, I
don't want to be seen no other way than a missionary, who is on a mission to
unite the world through the medium of music.
*Inter:* Well you started very early you seem like you knew what your
mission was very early?
*MG:* No I didn't recognize it then. At the age of thirteen (13) when I went
to studio one in nineteen sixty four (1964) I was going to be thirteen (13)
in November, my birthday. When I went there I was just having fun singing. I enjoyed singing in school, church choir and everything so when I
started singing I didn't realize the seriousness until I started working
with Bob Marley. And when I saw how serious this man took this music, it just
turn me around to know that this was much deeper than entertainment and this
is a serious business and you have a responsibility for whatever you utter
to people. Because you're a teacher, you have to see yourself as a teacher
being placed in this position by God to teach the world and to educate them
and to uplift people. So. that's when I started seeing things different and
realized that I don't want my utterances to be negative anymore or just
being trivial or some little folly things. I want it to be much deeper. Even if its something pleasant yuh know it has to have a message. It has to carry a message.
*Inter:* Anyone who knows you knows that Bob Marley was a important turning
point in your life, but I think people underestimate the importance that you
were to him as a voice to the sound that we know as the wailers. The voices I've always
felt were like heaven on earth. Who was the arranger for the voices? Who's ideas was it that made the
sound of the I- threes so important?
*MG:* That's right! (shaking head) Well the idea came about when I invited
Sistah Rita and Judy to do harmonies with me at a show i was performing.
Because from sixty four (64) I was always the female singer there and I was
given the best female for the year and they came and we did the harmonies
and it was so lovely and we decided to form the group. When I was a little
girl and I heard a song playing on the radio and it has harmonies, I would
always find another harmony for that song. I mean...I just love singing
harmonies. So, I was the person who orchestrated the harmonies and named
the group and everything. The styles now was a different
thing. Most of the styles where giving to us by Bob. He was so unique, he
would never give us 'oohs' or 'ahhhs' at no time. I don't know how this man came
up with all these sounds. He was very unusual. You had no doubt who this man
was. You knew that he was truly sent by almighty God because there is no one
that could come up with the things. He spoke different. He did everything
else different from everyone else. So, at that time I recognize that this was
truly a prophet. So yuh know, I still am honored that I really knew this man and was
able to work with him.
*Inter:* There was another important Bob in your life even before Bob Marley, Bob Andy.
Talk a little bit about him.
*MG:* Well yuh know its so strange: because the two Bobs. I meet Bob
Andy maybe a year before I started singing and when I walked into studio one
nineteen sixty four (1964) maybe a couple months after that I meet Bob, when
I went to studio one, Marley. And I Knew Bob Andy before and after I went to
Studio One and started recording, Bob Andy came to that stable as well, and
he started writing songs for me. Mr. Dodd had him to write for me. We
recorded really together and we became very intimate. And even from that
young tender age I knew God had a plan for me. Because as a young girl
vulnerable in a male dominated business, God knows what would have happened. But
I think God sent Bob Andy right there as a guide. He was everything. I mean
all eyes had to look the another way because he was right there at all times
yuh know...I knew god had a plan for me even from that time.
*Inter:* And you recorded songs together, some major hits.
*MG:* Yeah we had a major hit song in England "Young, Gifted and Black". Even
after we did "Really" together at Studio One. Bob Marley and I did a song
together at Studio one and all of these songs are on this anthology that is
now released here.
*Inter:* Sir Coxsone, you mentioned him, you referred to him as "Mr. Dodd" like he is still a
father figure to you in your life was he that to you then, how do you see
him in the pantheon of Jamaican music producers?
*MG:* Laughs...yeah!...well a lot of people speak very negative of this man. But me I
give him all the praise because he gave me the baton even at that tender age. He gave me the start in this business. So, I have nothing negative to say about him because at the time we where there singing we wanted to sing. Whether there was money or not we wanted to do what we were
doing. We enjoyed it. It was an opportunity. So we just grasped to the opportunity.
so if now people complaining saying that he was this and he was that, but we
all enjoyed it. That's the reason right now everybody else can be
re-recording the same songs cause there are the only ones that can be played as
golden oldies. They are the songs with the substance that people are still
re-recording them. These songs now-a-days can't be played as golden oldies
down the line, but these [Anthology CD/Studio One recordings] will last forever.
*Inter:* We talked of camera about your parents that are no longer here. What do you
think they would have said about your career now and were they always for it
in the beginning?
*MG:* No, my father thought this was the most degrading thing and when I
told him I wanted to sing he wasn't encouraging it at all. He wanted me to be
a teacher, nurse, a professional, not a singer. Because he went everywhere
that I was performing and every time I went to the studio he
would be there.
*Inter:* Tell us why you're here in New York this week?
*MG*: I'm here promoting my new CD that is released on VP records, "Anthology"
It's a compilation of all the songs, all the hit songs that I have done over the years. Unfortunately, it should
have been released when I was celebrating my 40th anniversary which was three years
ago and should have been 40 tracks. But they did not include all 40. But
better late than never. Its now released and I'm happy. I feel good to put a
CD in, of myself, and I can hear hit, after hit, after hit.
*Inter:* Thats the name of it "Anthology".
MG "Anthology: Melody Life". It covers the entire album.
Inter: Well, you heard it from the queen herself. The new album is Anthology on VP Records.