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Grammy nominee Jimmy Cliff: "I'm just getting started"

Jimmy Cliff says his career is "just getting started."

It's hard to believe considering what Cliff has accomplished already as a pioneer of reggae music. He already has a Grammy award to his name and is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.

And he may soon have another honor.

The 64-year-old singer will be among the music stars heading to Los Angeles this weekend for the 55th annual Grammy Awards, where he's up for best reggae album for his 2012 release, "Rebirth." Also in the category are The Original Wailers ("Miracle"), Sean Paul ("Thomahawk Technique"), Sly & Robbie & the Jam Masters ("New Legend - Jamaica 50th Edition") and Toots and the Maytals ("Reggae Got Soul: Unplugged on Strawberry Hill").

"It's a nice thing to be nominated for a Grammy," Cliff told "However, I do think that people ought to see me on TV, accepting the Grammy. Not the way it is being done at the moment for a reggae Grammy where you just hear about it. It's about time they show me on TV."

The Jamaican-born singer-songwriter is referring to the performance-heavy Grammy telecast. With 81 categories, not all of the winners will be announced on live television. Cliff wants to change that.

When asked what he thinks his chances of winning are, Cliff laughed, saying, "Well, I'm pushing it."

Cliff's Grammy-nominated "Rebirth" release was a little while in the making. He had some of the songs for a while; others, he wrote in the studio - all leading the way to his "rebirth."

"When I was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame [in 2010] I already knew in my spirit that it was a rebirth time for Jimmy Cliff to come forward again on the scene," Cliff said. "That was a stepping stone to push me forward to what's happening right now. The music kind of went back to the roots of my music -- from ska, to rock steady to reggae. It's all full circle."

Of the themes on the set, Cliff said, "The inspiration came from living my life and observing other people's lives. I'm very sensitive to what's going on -- on this planet."

Cliff has had a busy few years during this "rebirth" time, playing for a big crowd at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival in 2012.

"Coachella was great. It's one of the biggest parties in America," said Cliff.

That same year, he joined Bruce Springsteen at SXSW in Austin for a version of "The Harder They Come," something Cliff calls "a wonderful thing." Springsteen often covers Cliff's music in concert, including "Many Rivers to Cross" and "Trapped," which appeared on the 1985 "We are the Word" album.

"His version of 'Trapped' -- I like it a lot. He made it his," said Cliff.

But music isn't Cliff's only creative endeavor. He starred in the 1972 film, "The Harder They Come," and also appeared in 1986's "Club Paradise" with Robin Williams and 2003's "Rude Boy: The Jamaican Don."

"I really set out to be an actor," Cliff said. "That was my first goal. That area I have not yet fulfilled...I want to be holding up that Oscar."

Cliff says his strength lies within a combination of music and film.

"That is what propelled me to the world. 'The Harder They Come' really put me in the ears and eyes of the people," he said. "That's what I intend to do right now in this 'rebirth' period of my career. I was at the beginning of the reggae music. When I came into the reggae music at 14 years old, there was no music called 'reggae.' I contributed to creating a music called reggae. I toured all over the world. I was the first to go to the Far East, Japan, South America, Africa -- and the United States. That's been my role in the music industry. And I'm just getting started."

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