July 2, 2020
Updated 4 July 2020 to 4h17
Jason Mraz : Joy and freedom
One might almost think that Jason Mraz has a crystal ball. The author-composer-performer, who has won two Grammy awards for his songs resolutely positive, we returned in early summer with a reggae album, Look for the Best, which spreads its humanist message exponentially : call to fairness, solidarity, openness, tolerance, love, gratitude… it’s All there, almost everywhere. Did he know that in 2020 we would both surprises and that her fans would have need of consolation?
No, the U.s. did not foresee the pandemic COVID-19 or the demonstrations for racial equality that followed the death of George Floyd, who tragically died during a police intervention that has shocked America. But it was already rolled up sleeves starting this year, he saw painful.
“I knew that 2020 would be a bad year, because it is an election year in the United States,” he says. It wanted to say in advance that there would be a lot of negativity, debates, arguments. I knew that this year would be difficult and that is why we made this album for 2020. The idea was of breathing life into messages, optimistic and hopeful. We wanted to contribute to the success of this year trying that more people have access to freedom and joy. But I had not anticipated that the world would be where it is. It is worse than we had imagined.”
The musician, who does not hide his allegiance to the democrat — he has openly supported the candidacy of Bernie Sanders knew that “the current president was not going to leave without a fight”. For him, it meant taking up arms… In the song, it goes without saying for this pacifist.
“It meant that every artist and every citizen should be ready to change, if we really wanted this change to happen in the world, he says. The way for me to do my part and make myself heard is through music.”
Particular known for the worldwide success I’m Yours (that’s approaching a billion listens on Spotify), Jason Mraz admits that he has not found the last few months easy. But he still sees the good in the situation.
“I say to myself that the world, or at least in the United States, is in the process of educating,” he adds. The country is in the process of waking up and become aware of its injustice and of its own shadow. This awareness will make changes which, I hope, will be here to stay.”
The springboard for reggae
Jason Mraz is considered a privileged. During the recent period of confinement, the life continued for him on his farm in california called Mranch, where it is grown include coffee and lawyers. But he knows that all have not the same chance. From there his “mission”.
“It comes from my life experience, he notes. Since childhood, I had access to the arts, to freedom, to joy. I want others to experience the same thing. It doesn’t work for me if it doesn’t work for everyone. I decided that a part of my mission would be to share my freedom and my joy, my wealth and my success. Not only my story and my ideas. I wanted to share more. It is a fantastic feeling.”
The one who dreamed for a long time to make a disc of reggae has found in this musical genre, the ideal forum for the message he wished to convey. “This style really allows you to talk about love, the future, the meaning of life,” he says. It also helps to tackle issues dear to your heart. That is the beauty of reggae. It is a style that has historically been recognized to have spoken of injustice and be aware of the song. Reggae has been a great invitation to develop myself as a songwriter in a field even more humanistic.”
The proposal of Michael Goldwasser, a musician and producer, experienced in the field, was really launched the project for Jason Mraz, who already had a few coins into his sleeve. Anxious to share the mic with female vocals, strong or “badass”, to use the expression… it has also solicited the talent of the singer jamaican Sister Carol and the actress and comedian american Tiffany Haddish.
Like almost all musicians, Jason Mraz saw his tour cancelled. He did not think back on the road before the winter or even next spring. Aware of the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19, it would not be too comfortable selling tickets to shows currently. It still has enough to keep busy : at the time of our interview, it was time to harvest the coffee Mranch…
GIVE THE FOLLOWING
With his new album, Look for the Good, as Jason Mraz goes from words to actions. The author-composer-performer has chosen to donate all of the revenue related to physical sales, and to listen online new songs of the humanitarian works, including the movement Black Lives Matter. A particular initiative powered by the death in may of George Floyd, this citizen black Minneapolis which has suffocated under the knee of a white policeman.
“The death of George Floyd has woken up many people and I include myself in there,” says Jason Mraz. I have these songs, who put forward ideas on how we could do better. I couldn’t come up with these ideas and just have to hope that someone else do something to make this happen. I had to do something also. I saw this album as an opportunity to redirect revenues to programs and organizations that are doing something concrete, and that can achieve results that are measurable. My experience in this field has given me the belief that these donations are important : they keep those bodies in action and it’s changing lives.”
Since 2011, the Foundation Jason Mraz promotes “peace in the world” by supporting organizations that support “inclusive education in the arts” and “the advancement of equity.” This new initiative will be rolled out in parallel.
“It was also an opportunity to demonstrate how capitalism is like a disease, does it. The idea of constantly consume and accumulate money is a bit futile, because it leaves a lot of people behind. While the billionaires continue to add to their billions, many have nothing. I told myself that I just could not sit there and point the finger. I wanted to show that it is totally possible to take a peak of your pie and give it to you. And my life is not diminished. On the contrary. I think I removed more of my life having given this album.”
The musician calls in the same breath the more privileged to give the following. “I think the companies can do the same thing, slice-t-it. The billionaires should certainly do the same thing. I find it hard to conceive why there is such resistance to this idea. It amazes me to read to see that people don’t want to help their neighbor.” Geneviève Bouchard