My Life in Music: Ziggy Ramo

My Life in Music: Ziggy Ramo | Soho House

We got to know the indigenous Australian rapper and activist as he gets ready for the first ever Soho Presents performance in Sydney, in partnership with Bacardi

Wednesday 18 October   By Soho House

As part of our SXSW Sydney® residency in Australia, Ziggy Ramo will be performing the first Soho Presents set in the city. The Indigenous Australian rapper and activist is known for creating movements with his storytelling music. He released his debut album Black Thoughts in 2020, later followed by popular tracks ‘Little Things’, featuring Paul Kelly and ‘Sugar Coated Lies’ featuring Alice Skye. His music primarily focuses on anti-racism evoked by his personal experiences, working as an activist in other facets of his life, too. His bold lyrics and hip-hop style express what many are feeling and, by doing so, he has made waves in the industry since he first came on the scene. 

Here, we caught up with Ramo to discuss all things music. 

Can you remember when you first discovered your love for music? 
‘Growing up, my parents would always play music in the house. I remember seeing the way the music they loved made them feel, and that left a big impact on me and my siblings. When I was 10, my big brother shared The College Dropout album by Kanye West with me, and from that moment I was hooked. I knew I would do anything I could to be able to be a part of creating music.’
What was the first album you ever bought and do you still listen to it?
‘When I was 14, I was working a job packing shelves at the grocery store and I saved enough money to buy my first album, which was Man On The Moon: The End Of Day by Kid Cudi. Being a massive Kanye fan, it was only natural that I would soon discover Cudi as they were constant collaborators.’ 
Are you from a musical family? 
‘Not in a professional sense. No one in my family had ever worked in the industry, however, all of them are passionate music fans and it was through their love that I discovered the world of music. My dad is a self-taught guitar player, and my grandfather was an amazing piano player, so music was always something that was done as an expression of joy in my family. I’ve just been the first to turn it into a career.’
What’s your ultimate comfort track?
‘“Isn’t She Lovely’ by Stevie Wonder. It was the first song that my dad played to my sisters when they were born, and ever since then it has held such a special place in my heart.’ 
Do you ever listen back to your own music? If so, which track means the most to you and why? 
‘I will listen my music obsessively during the process of making or finishing it, but once it’s released, I like to get some distance from it. I am very proud of “Little Things”. It’s such a historic song, and being able to reinterpret and put my spin on it was a childhood dream come true.’
Who would you say were your key musical influences?
‘My parents. They both have an eclectic taste and appreciation for music that it would always keep me open minded when listening to new songs. I think that has informed my creative process, because I’m able to draw musical influences from anywhere. My parents showed me that inspiration surrounds us and art is limitless.’
If you could play one instrument that you don’t currently play, what would it be?
‘Piano – it’s just so versatile.’ 
What’s your favourite gig memory?
‘When I was 12 my parents took me and my siblings to Raggamuffin, which was a reggae festival in Byron Bay. The line-up was incredible – Arrested Development, Ziggy Marley, The Wailers, UB40, and many more. There was such a beautiful energy both on stage and in the audience, the feeling has stayed with me for my entire life.’ 
If you had to pick a soundtrack to your life, what would it be?
‘Songs In The Key Of Life by Stevie Wonder. It really feels like he captured the essence of human existence in this record, so it feels fitting.’ 
What’s your pre-performance ritual?
‘I love to take a moment of stillness and silence. No performance is the same, and it’s such a fleeting thing that I like to really ground myself in the immediate moment. I want to be present to enjoy and connect to each person in the room with me. There is something so special about performing live, as no two performances are the same.’ 

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My Life in Music: Ziggy Ramo | Soho House