We chat to the “I’m Yours” singer ahead of his fourth Bangkok concert.
Jason Mraz, the "I'm Yours" crooner and 2010 Grammy award-winner, returns for his fourth (that’s right, FOURTH) Bangkok show at Impact Arena this May 21. Currently touring in support of his sixth studio album, Know, Mraz took time out to tell us about the magic of playing live and what he’s doing to lessen his carbon footprint. Tickets start from B2,000 at Thai Ticket Major.
You once said "being cool isn't who I am”; so how do you describe yourself after all these years?
I’m a human trying to figure out what life is all about. Trying to be present and grateful from day to day.
You have never released an album that didn't feature at least one song with “love” in the title. What make this four-letter word such an appealing subject to write about?
I think LOVE is still the answer. Love is the power of the good stuff in the world. Love is sharing, how we give our kindness or our attention to so many details to so many people. The more access we have to it, the better. It’s something I’m always in search of; therefore, it shows up in my work. I love singing on stage; it makes me a messenger of love and it allows me to take listeners on a journey of “Hey, let’s go find some love.” It’s a playful and optimistic view of the world.
Your music often carries feel-good and positive vibes. Is this a conscious decision?
Your life experience is the result of your thoughts, your beliefs, your actions, your speech and your attitude. And all of those things are inside of my songs. So, I wanna be conscious of how I feel, how I act, what I believe, because it’s gonna impact my worldview. In life there will always be suffering and life can be very sad if that’s what our attention is on. So it’s important to practice our attention in ways that are not ignorant to the suffering, but allow for forgiveness. Allow for patience, compassion and empathy.
You’re often outspoken on topics such as the environment and human rights. Do you think music has the power to effect real change?
You can see it when thousands of people gather to bask in the sound and glow of a concert. It’s a shared experience that is changing the world for those few hours. There’s plenty of what I call scientific evidence that music can change the world and us.
You have been outspoken about supporting LGBTQ community (in the love letter to the LGBTQ community celebrating the pride month by Billboard Magazine). On the surface, Thailand appears to very open and accepting of different orientations. Do you have any advice for people who might be facing discrimination?
Those who’re free and willing to be themselves and fully expressed, I salute you. I toast you because of your strength and your loyalty to your own spirits in your ownself. I think it’s a tremendous act of courage and it’s very inspiring for all humans.
It has been 11 years since you released “I’m Yours”; do you still feel the same way performing it as you did back then?
“I’m Yours” is a song of gratitude, it’s a song of giving, it’s a song of generosity. It’s about giving your time or attention to someone else by saying “I’m yours.” So, I love performing it. Plus, when I play it, the audience say yes. And that’s a real good feeling!
What’s your favorite thing about being on tour?
I go on tour to challenge myself, my spirit, myself as an artist. Anything could happen. It’s a tandem ride, it’s a tandem spirit with many audience and with band members. Your commitment to the rhythm and the tone, to the entertainment and the lyrics. I love all of that. It’s a huge magic trick. A thrill to try to pull it off night after night.
What can we expect to hear on this latest tour? Any new material?
There might be one or two new songs. But I want to make sure that everybody can come and have a chance to hear one of their favorite songs.
Apart from your music career, you have an avocado farm and you’re a vegan eatery owner. How do these jobs fit in with your busy tour and recording schedule?
When you’re touring, you leave such a huge carbon footprint. You’re burning a lot of fuels. I need to live in a way that is completely opposite of that. So I choose to live in the country, on a farm, where I can spirit the earth and regenerate the soil, improve the air quality by planting trees, source food locally. All that adds a nice balance to touring life. Being on the farm, you rely on the earth’s pace; it takes time and patience. The busy life business is not sustainable. So I’d rather be inspired and take advice from nature than get caught up in the busy schedule.