COURTESY JASON MRAZ
Jason Mraz's latest CD touches on themes of self-realization.
Mraz drawn back to music, isles
IT'S THE simple things that bring the most joy to Jason Mraz.
with local opener Paula Fuga
Place: Waikiki Shell
Time: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Ticket: $25 general admission (reserved seats sold out)
Call: (877) 750-4400
When the Star-Bulletin spoke to the San Diego-based recording artist in 2005, he shared a rediscovered love for breakfast. Last week, Mraz called while taking part in a new favorite activity.
"I'm just riding my bicycle around campus," he said. "This is actually the only time I can get away for a while."
Mraz's desire to get away is what brings him to the islands more frequently than people realize. His manager is a local boy, and Mraz says he tries to visit Kauai at least twice a year to work on his surfing skills.
It was one of those trips that serendipitously clashed with his label's plans for "I'm Yours," the first single off Mraz's new album, "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things."
"I was on my way there again in February, and they told me I either needed to cut my trip short and come back to L.A. to make a video, or go to Hawaii later," he said. "And I said, 'Screw that, I'm going! This is my me time!'"
Following some negotiation, Mraz found a way to take his trip and give the label what it wanted. Utilizing his manager's local contacts and a couple of cameras, Mraz turned his latest Hawaii adventure into the video treatment for "I'm Yours."
"I didn't want to make a video to the song and put a story on the song and make people think it's about love or a girl or anything," he explained. "I think the video worked because it's really just following me on a journey, meeting new people."
Nothing was staged? Those were all complete strangers?
"One of the videographers lives on the North Shore, so it was him just calling people," Mraz said. "At the end of the day, we just convened and had a little food for everyone and played some music. It was just an honest little adventure around the island."
The success of Mraz's first two studio albums, 2002's "Waiting for My Rocket to Come" and 2005's "Mr. A-Z," kept him on the road for months at a time. In order to recharge and reconnect with his coffeehouse roots, Mraz announced a one-year break in 2006.
"I wanted to go to the grocery store by myself. I wanted to cook my own meals," he said. "So that's what I was able to do during that year off.
"I liked having my own little personal adventures without a tour manager telling me where to go."
It didn't take long, however, before Mraz felt an undeniable urge to return to the studio. Underlying themes of self-realization, self-empowerment and self-improvement are evident throughout "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.," he said. It's due in stores May 13.
The album's 12 tracks are an effort to chronicle his own changes, while also taking the lessons he learned and repurposing them to serve as an inspiration for others.
"As a songwriter, it's a duty," Mraz said. "Now I know there's an audience that's listening, and I've seen the effects of what happens when you write something meaningful and positive."