Play the song I’m Yours to anybody on the streets and they’ll most likely recognise the singer behind it: Jason Mraz.
The American singer-songwriter rose to fame back in 2008, thanks to his first single I’m Yours which until today, is still a crowd favourite and Jason’s biggest US hit single to date. The song peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 and with over 600 millions streams on Spotify, it’s no wonder why the song was nominated twice at the 51st Grammy Awards.
His rhythmic discography and heartfelt lyrics have touched millions of hearts globally, but his charms don’t stop at music and performing only. If you follow his social media closely, you’ll learn that Jason is very philosophical about life and gratitude, and often extends positivity into his music. He’s also big on environmental and community outreach causes, having established The Jason Mraz Foundation to support charities ranging from human rights to environmental preservation and education.
Before he stepped onto the stage of Axiata Arena and performed for his Malaysian fans on Monday night, I had the opportunity to meet Jason backstage where he partook in an ‘Energy Playground’ session and sang his hit song with 10 Orang Asli kids.
The ‘Energy Playground’ was a special activation by Biji-Biji Initiative for Jason that connects devices such as bicycles to generate power for the amplifiers. Together with Malaysian singer-songwriter Aizat Amdan who was Jason’s opening act for the night, both rode the bicycles set up to generate power for their microphones and guitars to perform with the kids from SOL 24/7.
Right after the special performance backstage, Jason took some time before his soundcheck to talk about his return to Malaysia for the third time, spreading love through the universal language of music and the challenges in songwriting.
FEMALE: Welcome back to Malaysia! How does it feel to be back here to perform?
Jason: I feel great. It’s a tremendous feeling when you leave home. Travelling is a real luxury, especially since many people don’t get to leave their hometown. It’s probably been seven years since I’ve been here and there’s always a feeling that when you leave, you may not come back because you don’t know the trajectory of your career, your success and how your health is going to be. This is why I’m very grateful to be back. There’s humidity and there’s moisture in the air, which is a treat for a singer because it’s so good for your voice. Love is good for the voice too and I feel a lot of love here.
F: Since this is your third time here, perhaps you’ve picked up some Malay phrases. What’s the most interesting one you’ve learnt? Have you ever consider recording a song in Malay as well?
J: I know my basics (laughs). Nama saya Jason Mraz, apa khabar, terima kasih. I’m very fortunate that music breaks down geographical borders and political borders. I don’t always grab every phrase off of the buffet of languages that are available, but I’m very grateful to be back here and hopefully, I’ll pick up some cool phrases.
F: How would you describe your Malaysian fans?
J: They’re very welcoming and very active. I’ve seen a lot of comments for years on social media saying ‘please come back to Malaysia’. There’s a certain level of engagement here that might be higher than other territories. I just see that as love and an invitation.