Jason Mraz’s musical journey has come full circle: starting off playing in small coffee shops, he is now the proud owner of an 18-acre organic coffee and avocado farm, where he also records all of his music. Speaking to Headliner from the aptly named ‘Mranch,’ Mraz reflects on writing surprise hit, I’m Yours in his “little Bob Marley house,” and why reggae inspired his latest album.
The year 2008 is where everything changed for Jason Mraz. Although the singer-songwriter had been releasing albums since 2002, it wasn’t until his self-proclaimed “happy little hippie song,” I’m Yours was set loose upon the radio waves that people started to take serious notice.
Now a diamond-certified song, it peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Mraz his first top 10 single, spending a then-record 76 weeks on the Hot 100 – and refusing to budge from radio playlists ever since.
For Mraz, who dipped his toes into the world of performing by playing in coffee shops in the early 2000s, he never expected the song to be a hit on the radio, considering it more of an album track.
“This song wasn't born in a writing room with an effort of trying to create a smash hit,” Mraz tells Headliner whilst speaking from his home in California. “It was written in a passing moment that I was lucky enough as a creator to capture – to hear it, sing it back and to write it down and make a recording of it – because I think creators get these ideas all the time, and if we don't capture them, who knows what their potential is.”
Mraz recorded the track and uploaded it to Myspace, not expecting much of a reaction. However, a hit is a hit, and his fans immediately shared the track far and wide.
“That's really what helped me connect on a global scale,” he acknowledges. “It was really just this little idea about giving myself away so that I could be available for something new. So, okay: ‘I'm yours. Let's let's try to get back on track and do something beautiful’. It was this simple idea. I wasn't in love, it was just more about the love of creativity.”
Mraz had actually been sitting on the track for a while, writing it four years before it was released:
“I didn't think anything of it! I mean, I thought it was cute. It was a cool song, but I write hundreds of cool songs,” he laughs. “But because of the fan interest and the years of fans playing it, by 2007 it had actually started to pick up its own energy. So by 2007, I said, ‘I'm going to put this thing on a record!’”
The rest is history. Mraz looks back fondly on the creation of his most popular track, but admits that the songwriter he is today would probably change the song a little:
“For me as a creator, my voice sounds different, and some of the lyrics…” he pauses. “I'm glad they exist, because me as a writer today would change certain words and I would think differently about what I'm saying. But I think that's also the beauty of the song and some of the naïveté that's in that song. It just has this innocence. That's why I call it my happy little hippie song.”
Mraz is taking the lockdown period in his usual positive stride, and has been adjusting to a slower pace of life:
“I got a good piece of advice early on in this quarantine period, which was to master whatever's in front of you,” he shares.
“So if I'm sitting at the piano, I don't have to get up in 10 minutes, so I’ll put an extra 30 minutes on it because we're locked down. In some cases, patience is what I need to master. I just need to slow down, calm down, and not worry about being so busy all the time. Learning how to master patience and basically learn some new routines has been interesting. I appreciate that advice early on because it's actually helped me stay calm and productive at the same time.”