Jason Mraz Talks His Biggest Hits, Dancing With the Stars, and Life on the Farm

What friend of yours do you think would be great on Dancing With the Stars?

Oh, Sara Bareilles would be great, or Ingrid Michaelson. I work with both of them on the regular, and I’ve nudged them both. And they’re both a little shy about it. I don’t think they need to do it. But now that I’ve done it, I want to see more of my friends go on there and go through it.

Shifting gears to music, how do you feel about playing your biggest songs now? They have sort of taken on lives of their own.

I still play them. I love them. There are a few songs that I don’t play. I don’t play “Geek in the Pink” anymore, which was a song I released in 2005. And that is largely because I just don’t feel connected to that young person anymore, and that type of gloating that that character was who sang that song.

But “I’m Yours” is a song about generosity, about recognizing those around you and or giving yourself or your time to a higher power and saying, “Okay, I’m here. Make me an instrument. I’m yours. Let’s do this.” And to me, that’s a never-ending kind of universal feeling. And when a song like that, or “The Remedy” or “Lucky” or “I Won’t Give Up,” reaches an audience, they have a universal feeling. So I still feel like I’m connected to those narratives. So they’re easy to sing. And as I get older, sometimes I find completely new meaning for them.

“I Won’t Give Up” got me through Dancing With the Stars, believe it or not. I got to dance to that around week eight or nine, and I was literally feeling like quitting. I felt like, “My body hurts; it doesn’t matter if I win or not. Just let me go home.” And I wasn’t able to go home, contractually, and Daniella, my partner said, “I think we should dance to ‘I Won’t Give Up.’” And hearing that the entire week, learning how to dance to that song, it got in me again like a medicine that I needed. The same thing happens when I play live—the messages in those songs continue to lift and inspire me, so I don’t mind playing them.

What made you want to partner with Planet Oat? Obviously you love coffee.

I started my career in coffee shops as a musician, but I also worked as a barista many times. In fact, I still go to my local coffee shop and they let me barista behind the counter because I just love playing with the gadgets and gear, steaming milk and stuff. And my local coffee shop has used Planet Oat for years, so I was already familiar with the product. I use it at home.

You jump behind the counter at your coffee shop? What can you make? Can you do latte art?

Absolutely, yep. I’m still just making hearts really. I’ve got some friends that can do a unicorn and a swan and all kinds of things. But yeah, I make little beautiful hearts and I just love giving that gift of love on top of a latte. It’s so fun to me. And it’s something about coffee, because it’s a craft beverage. It always comes out a little different. It’s a very special routine to make it, and then it’s a special me time to sit and drink it with friends. So I love that about coffee. I love hanging out in coffee shops.

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