June 15, 2012 00:00 By Manta Klangboonkrong
Jason Mraz ears compassion on his sleeve as he makes his long-delayed Thai debut
Held off by last autumn’s floods, American pop singer Jason Mraz is finally ready to tell his Thai fans “I’m Yours” when he takes the stage at Impact Arena tomorrow night.
Known for his feel-good pop and blue-eyed soul, Mraz broke through with “I’m Yours” in 2008, the first single from his second album, “We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things”.
It debuted in third spot on the Billboard Hot 200, and while Mraz has yet to duplicate that feat, he’s continued to sell millions of records, notably “You and I Both”, “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)” and “Butterfly”, recorded with Colbie Caillat.
The current tour continues to tout his soulful 2009 album “Love is a Four Letter Word”, with its well-received tracks like “I Won’t Worry”, “The World as I See It” and “The Freedom Song”.
The Nation pumped him for more details in a phone call last week.
It’s about time you got here!
Yes, the cancellation due to the flooding was unfortunate. I have a lot of followers on Twitter and Facebook from Thailand. They said, “Please don’t come because we won’t have a way to get to you. It’s not safe right now.”
So I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully I’ll be there long enough to see the countryside.
You’re concerned about the environment. How do you think Earth is doing?
I think the earth is going to be fine, one way or another. The current crisis is really a people problem. We all need to agree that human participation on the surface of the earth and energy consumption all contribute to climate change. If we don’t reduce or change our energy consumption, human life is going to look traumatically different in a hundred years.
I think it’s best to take a holistic approach to the planet and do our best with living with the renewable energy sources that we have available to us – the sunshine, the wind and the water. We have the technology to live peacefully and clean, yet there’s a lot of business wrapped up in our world these days that makes it really hard to make that shift overnight.
So the goal is to think about the generations ahead of us and not steal time from them. And let’s not be unnecessarily dependent on big corporations to feed us. Let’s do what we can do to help feed each other and help each other out.
You grow your own veggies?
At the moment I have avocado and tomato farms. The avocado farm is the main one, but everything else just changes with the seasons, depending also on what we want to grow and what we want to eat. It’s a lot of fun!
What’s new on the tour?
We’ve added a female to our group, who plays violin. It’s a whole new sound that we’ve never had in the last 10 years.
The songs are maturing, and they’re beautifully arranged. Fans of my songs from the past are going to leave this concert thinking this might be one of their favourite shows.
Did you dream of being a musician when you were little?
Yes, I did. It was all I ever set my sights on since I was a very, very young boy, probably since I could talk! But what I couldn’t see was what it would look like, and how far around the world it would take me, to every continent, turning me on to some very great ideas and resources. This has changed my life profoundly.
Who is your idol?
I admire a lot of bands and a lot of singers, men and women, everything from pop stars to jam bands, or interesting bands that only have one hit. I fell in love with many different aspects of performers and bands. I almost study every band that came up, and ask myself what makes their songs appealing.
I went through all the stages, you know – I love Bob Dylan, John Coltrane, Dave Matthew, Anni de Franco – but it was a constant study of music.
My idol, that I worship and wanted to become, was who I am today. As I was a young man growing up, my idol was this idea that I could become a great singer.
What do you think has contributed to your global success today?
I wish I knew the answer to that, because I only know the way it happened to me. I hope that the success is based on authenticity. I never try to show up and force anybody to do anything. I really invite them on a journey.
I’m your average human boy that had a dream and waited for it. My songs, I guess, are meant to be universal, and ask questions that every human being asks. I have people following my blog and showing up at my concerts. Maybe it’s just the lyrics. I am very blessed to have people from many nations tune in and lend an ear.
How would you like to express that to your Thai fans?
Thank you for listening. Thank you for offering such an invitation. Thank you for being my brothers and sisters.
See Jason Mraz tomorrow at Impact Arena in Muang Thong Thani.
Tickets cost Bt1,000 to Bt4,000. Call (02) 262 3456 or check www.ThaiTicketMajor.com or www.BECTero.com.