Music speaks to artist, audience

Music speaks to artist, audience

When you talk to Jason Mraz, he is thoughtful in his word selection. The pauses in conversation most people rush to fill, he leans in to as he searches for the best way to explain exactly what he means. He will admit, though, he does usually try to subtly add to the conversation (in interviews, at least) the why of what he does. No one ever asks the why, he says.

“Usually the questions are what — ‘What is this about?’ ‘What’s next?’ I enjoy talking about” the why, Mraz says by phone as Florida palm trees whiz past the windows of his tour bus. “I get transformed by the music. So if anything [profound] comes up in my life, whether good or bad, then I want to learn that by putting it in a melody and singing it back to myself — creating these mantras for healing, for learning, to instill them into my being.

“[And] these very personal mantras that can be sung — ‘I won’t worry my life away,’ ‘I won’t give up,’ ‘I’m yours,’ ‘I’m living in the moment’ — that can awaken us,” Mraz continues.

“What I mean by that is when we pay attention to songs and stories, specifically when we sing along to them, we can’t help but be awake. We are not thinking about tomorrow, we’re not worried about yesterday — you have to be present to know when you’re going to feel that next breath so that you can sing the next line. So the why of what I do is all about trying to stay awake and stay present and stay happy and stay here.”

Like many guys with a guitar, Mraz confesses he didn’t start out with such an earnest mission, but he changed his motivation pretty early on. It was the success of his first single, “The Remedy,” and its positive influence on people, as well as himself, that inspired him to pursue more than satisfying his ego.

“I figured that out pretty quickly, and everything that’s happened since then has been this basically bizarre, freak, bonus that the universe has given me — a chance to just keep playing and keep unfolding to audiences around the globe,” Mraz shares. “So, first, as a writer I wanted to shift and write in a style of gratitude and thanks and reverence for the opportunity.

“But then once all my bills were paid,” he goes on, “I could go back [and reward, or gift] the schools and the people that lifted me up and gave me a good quality of life — kept me going when I was a starving artist. Or as I met people along the way who are running organizations and foundations that just needed support, I could be someone to help champion those initiatives.

“Having the luxury of a successful career gave me a chance to really spread my wings and get involved in a lot of different things that mattered to me coming up, that I can then help water those fields and keep the conditions right to grow, hopefully, a better future.”


The Free Weekly

Categories: Entertainment, Music