Shut Up & Sing.

October 22, 2012

Everyone has ideas about how to best live life and best use their voice,

And many feel their idea is of the highest choice.


Including me.


I am continually inspired by what I read, what I watch, who I listen to and meet;

the places I travel; what I taste and eat.

I can sometimes feel my whole perspective, if not my entire life purpose, shift inside of a single conversation.

It happened when I was with Al Gore, sailing to Antarctica

on the way to Palmer Station.

The fragility of the environment and the passion of the captain had profound affects that brought me to my knees.

So much so when I returned home I started planting more trees.

But shift also happens in humble surroundings. Just as it did on the couch watching The Big Lebowski.

The style and grace of the lead indeed planted a seed,

though instead trees my interest in cultivation became that of weed.

In both cases I became so engrossed in what my senses were seeing.

I felt some kind of cosmic baton passed on to my being.

Yes, I shall sing for those things that do not have a voice!

The Trees! The Ice! The Planet! …Of Course!

And Yet, I shall wear a bathrobe, and cut my hair never;

Forever remaining The Dude whose carpet ties the room together.


And so my friends, by these and many other contradictions I may reveal,

I invite you to a halt; stop reading; heel.

Avoid my throw-up, wherever it may show up: in the press, on the radio, or onstage between songs.

I may just be a confused young human whose ideas are wrong.


Finally! says one possible commentator, the same who shouts Shut Up and Sing!

Though, I feel that person has yet to understand a very important thing.

Conflict inspires art. Therefore what’s bad of the mouth, may be good for the heart.

Look closely at any conflict and you will find it.

We artists are damn near impossible to quiet.


When humans debate, or argue, it’s usually about change,

which is happening anyway all over the world stage.

And what I feel is the most disconcerting about change isn’t whether it’s a good or bad decision,

it’s that we waste our breath trying to persuade another to take our position.


I’m right. My choice is higher.

No I’m right. That man is a liar.


As if the sand wasn’t pouring out of the glass in haste,

precious moments are lost in today’s debates.

We argue about policy, money, and whether or not science is true,

and we even do so in the privacy our minds too.

We seem to forget about impermanence. We forget to thrive.

And thus turn grey before we realize we were ever alive.


For the past decade I’ve traveled abroad repeatedly,

and with more than 125 stamps and visas in my passport I’ve proof I wonder frequently.

If there are things I’ve noticed that sets the US apart from the rest,

it’s that we’re chubbier, paranoid and consider our nation the best.


Largely, and I use that word figuratively, (that one too.)

We Americans are hoarders. Are you?

We love stuff. Especially double stuff. And it shows.

If you can’t see that, you may not be able to see your toes.


Man’s love of snack foods and soda weighs heavy on his health.

Just as what weighs on our environment is our love of industry and wealth.


From this world view easily seen in a glance,

I composed a new song to help “The Real Bears” dance.


And yet, my opinion is just what it is: an opinion.

Anyone can write a rebuttal to any of the above comments and completely negate my sentiment.

Just as a candidate will point a finger, dismissing the good the others’ done all along;

So too will a soda company tell us that a public heath PSA “is bunk and its statistics wrong.”

One cola company even said, “There is no scientific evidence that connects sugary beverages to obesity.”

I don’t need science. I’ve got family history.


I guess the best I can request in this persuasive verse

Is decide for yourself what you think best works.

Collect your own data, or not.

Be inspired by whatever may touch your heart, and share what got.

But be non-attached to the outcome. You can be both Al Gore AND The Dude, see,

You’ll either be applauded, ignored or cut you down and treated rudely.

But all results are good. Know this and you’ll be fine.

Because feeling anything inside is the simplest definition of being alive.


For more on the Dude, Real Bears, or Al Gore,





  • Avatar of jrmatkin
    jrmatkin said ...

    Wise words Jason! I am passing this along to my 16 year old aspiring singer/songwriter son here in Encinitas. Your ideas are very similar to those I have lived my life by and grown my international business by. Funny, though, how these simple, yet clearly functional and truthful ideas are shunned by my business community peers and the human community at large. Please keep on doing what you do and speaking what you know. You are the perfect kind of mentor for, not only my son, but the sons and daughters of all parents. We can and will make sustainable change in the world through each of our committed creative acts on a day-to-day basis, one step at a time. You inspire me! BTW, as a 59 year young music appreciator, I totally enjoy listening to your music. It makes me feel good always! Keep it up!

  • Avatar of megmarshall
    megmarshall said ...

    Perfect. <3

  • Avatar of normason
    normason said ...

    A token “fuckin’”! No! Say it ain’t so!

    Your guitar was so pissed off it busted a gut.

  • Avatar of melissaleemusic

    holy shit, you just wrote that?

  • Avatar of Peaceout
    Peaceout said ...

    Typo: ‘continue to sing’ not ‘song’

  • Avatar of Peaceout
    Peaceout said ...

    Just read this from an Environmental Proposal for the UN by Daisaku Ikeda, printed in Living Buddhism. He quoted this poem by Amadeu Thiago de Mello:

    I live armed with love,
    to perform my work singing,
    to construct a new day.
    Love gives everything
    without holding back.
    Sharing hope,
    I plant the light of new life.

    Once they tried to silence
    the cry of my heart’s fraternity
    in the peaks of the Andes
    ablaze with flames.
    But I rose above those flames
    and continue to song.

    There are no new paths,
    only new ways of walking them.

    With the pain of the dispossessed,
    the dark dreams
    of the child who sleeps with hunger-
    I have learned:
    this Earth does not belong to me alone.
    And I have learned, in truth,
    that the most important thing
    is to work, while we still have life,
    to change what needs changing,
    each in our own way, each where we are.

    …. This seemed fitting-

  • Avatar of normason
    normason said ...

    You wore shoes!

    And Mona said “Hi” to Mom and Dad!

    Yeah, babies!


  • Avatar of Miqfuentes
    Miqfuentes said ...

    Cola Aint make you Coola!

  • Avatar of Miqfuentes
    Miqfuentes said ...

    Cola aint make you Colla!

  • Avatar of gamachan
    gamachan said ...

    I’m a waitress here in Firenze in a famous restaurant. I serve many americans. Many of you are not in good shape(but in food-shape),seriously.

    You Americans invented thousand ways to get fatter. Your products are distributed all over the world. I have to be honest,I always try not to buy them.

    However, most of west people,including here,seem not to remember people who have NOTHING both to eat AND drink.

    Sorry,this is my opinion.

    Ps: One of the best uses of your voice.

  • “Shut up” and sing? Bit of a contradiction there, no? Oh, people. I hope someone didn’t actually say that to you.

    By the way, I love this. Your voice is yours alone- and you seem to get it, you don’t push your views on others; you inspire people to become informed so they can develop their own voices while using your own in the best way you can to stand up for what you believe is right. This whole poem (future song?) is an excellent statement about American society; I’m pretty sure you nailed it, from materialism to obesity to apathy. My view on that undoubtedly stems from the fact that I agree with you. You are incredibly perceptive. Lots to think about indeed.

    Way to go, Jason Mraz <3

  • Avatar of StephsRules
    StephsRules said ...

    Many people don’t realize they are small and that even though they are small in this vast world, whether it be to voice an opinion, share a smile, plant a tree, buy a homeless person a water. We all have a voice, no matter how small we are or feel. We are all important and should use the voice to scream to change things. We can change things. Don’t let anyone make you feel you can’t change something we all have the power. I march to the beat of a different drummer, maybe that is why I have been a fan of MR A-Z for so long because you march to the beat of your own drummer. I grow my own food, eat only local food(which costs a fortune), buy only American products, support local farmers, charities and such. People may feel it doesn’t make much of a difference, but if I can help a local farmer sell for one more season, or give a meal to a child in a shelter, that makes a difference and maybe the power of “pay it forward” will be sparked in the people I help or am kind to. And I do agree America loves too much “STUFF”, I was guilty of that at one point, I learned through the hard way, stuff isn’t important, love, kindness, friendship are important, they get you through life. Take some words of inspiration from this little rant of Mr. A-Z and use your voice, no matter how small to change someones day today, smile at a stranger, hold a door open for someone, or even plant a tree (if you don’t live in CT…lol), our voices great are small are what can make America wonderful…

  • Avatar of lovePEAR
    lovePEAR said ...

    O Sugar, this song is so sweet,
    although a tragic truth in an eternal freedom of choice;
    And for that, Dude, you rockin the carpet,keep on tying us together, it’s a treat,
    for sure you feel on your way, bringing out some light and consciousness with your voice.

    As below so above,
    keep moving forward and know allways that we are Love.

  • Avatar of Ally
    Ally said ...

    J, it could be worse…they could have yelled:

    Shut Up and Sing – GANGNAM STYLE !

    THAT would’ve been a travesty :)

    ~Ally Old Soul

  • Avatar of normason
    normason said ...

    Instagram translation: Your wife called. She sounded really pissed off. I think you’d better bring home some flowers or something. Or maybe don’t go home at all, and then when you show up, she’ll be so relieved you’re not dead that she’ll forget she was pissed off. That, or she’ll be even more pissed off.

    Forget the flowers. Just move to Canada. Unless you live in Canada already. In which case, just hide in the garage. She’ll never find you there. Know why? Cause you never clean it! That’s probably why she’s pissed off in the first place!…

  • Avatar of MarLuna
    MarLuna said ...

    Thank you Jason for speaking to my inner choir and this is not to you, just thoughts you’ve inspired.

    I have a need, a determined destiny that I pray we all may desire.
    A world created from the inner depth of what the soul and heart inspire. What do you create in your solemn hour? Do you give thanks or do you just barter? Does your mind spark from the language of your heart? Or do you dwell in the essence of old thwarts? Can you see the life of a golden era, or is it determined by green parchment and what’s in the enquirer.

    Money is energy to feed your higher goals, but we have blurred out the purity while silencing our souls. Money is not evil but we soiled our tender thoughts and caused a great many to go hunt and wipe living things out. What do we internally know? It’s what nature externally shows: That everything is provided for, no barriers would hold; as the ant carries largely and the rain cleans the shores. A seed carries gifts from above as well as below, our thoughts do the same and what we reap we also sow.

    When you spit the poison of your damaged words onto others who think differently than your herd, the wind blows it back. When you push your fist at others who you perceive as foolish they oppose and fight back. These righteous deems to which we all perceive, in your knuckles you will bleed, scraping from the concrete. This heavy load from the rubbish you hoard, it gives Atlas in mythology his story re-told.

    Waste of Money can bring you a splendor of things, in which you will cherish until your neighbors have the same thing. To which you will yearn to stuff in your closets more of the same, but with labels to enable and adore (to shame). A piece of land for at one time was plenty, but now it must be with a landscape perceived as gentry.

    It’s not your fault we were handed the game, but the rules in small writing have always read the same: “hold us harmless but you must agree to play or you’ll be forced to become a stray.” A fat cat or feral which do you herald?

    A fat cat sits and depends not of the self.
    A feral is fearless and steady and stealth.
    A fat cat sits and waits for you to entice it to play.
    Feral lives in each moment, it flows with the day.

    And there it is. It’s my journey thus far.
    Looking back on my path I’ve laid, I see the waste the haste I’ve made; and so I’ve paid.
    For now I’m saving all my used glass jars, adding candles to be lit, so you can see from afar.

    This path of light, I hope you’ll see and let the universe guide you flawless and free. I wish this for you, I have this in me.

  • Avatar of gmhefner
    gmhefner said ...

    chabella76 – i hear you on the introvert part. it’s hard for us, but you have the right idea. lead by example and help one or two people instead of hundreds at a time….makes it a little easier. good luck! :)

  • Avatar of chabella76
    chabella76 said ...

    “Les voyages forment la jeunesse” or travels shapes the young. Yes when one starts traveling a lot he realises we don’t need that much and need to keep the planet beautiful and healthy…As well as our own body. Its part of growing up and hard to desagree on that one. I admire your activist part. I can’t seem to find my voice yet…Its the introvert problem. Hope I preach by exemple. :-)

  • Avatar of gmhefner
    gmhefner said ...

    just reading thru the replies on here and, Wow. i’m amazed at the truly excellent thoughts and comments: costellocrew5, MaggieMay13, normason, and everyone!

    here’s mine…hope it measures up. :)

    dear tree named jason,

    ok, there’s a lot to, ummm….., chew on here. yah that was lame. kinda like the bear. crap….i better just change the subject….

    short commentary – agreed. the trick really is to be flexible and strong at the same time.

    yin and yang.


    slightly longer commentary on “agreed” -

    impermanence. i wish more people, americans especially, would take in the landscape of life from a higher vantage point. the attitude (altitude) of impermanence is difficult to sustain, and most likely impractical, but it’d make a huge difference in the world if people visited it once in a while.

    information & opinions (imho). information should constantly feed opinions, regardless of how it sometimes arrives wrapped in negativity. and opinions shouldn’t be so solid as to impede the flow of information. i wish more people kept in mind the old story of the blind men and the elephant.

    speaking of information/opinions and since other people brought it up, not sure what info to gain from the shut up and sing person but considering your commentary is usually in the same vein as your lyrics, i’d say there’s a real good chance they’re just a twat. ;) interesting though that you elevated their comment to your title…..that’s a whole other convo, or not. LOL

    politics. i’m tired of all the campaigning (aka he said, he said) too. it’s getting to me, i’ll be glad when it’s over.

    as usual, great piece with great insights and parallels! always interesting to read your journals!

    “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.”

    peace, brother.

  • Avatar of Thinker
    Thinker said ...

    You, dearest, you inspired me…again. When I lose faith, you always seem to know.
    Love you for being my far away friend…my inspiration. Thank you!

  • Avatar of costellocrew5
    costellocrew5 said ...

    Will be interested to see the melody that eventually comes along with the above :)

    Shut up and sing? Sheesh is right. I find it is almost always liberating to share my truths and real feelings but I know there is always the risk of a over-share hangover (that’s what I call it). Why is it that when we put ourselves ‘out there’ and even when we get a ton of support, the small percent that (rudely) disagrees, can dominate our minds? There are lots of ways to deal with that of course — mantras to repeat, mental exercises to enlist, but still, the negativity creeps into our consciousness for a bit and threatens to make us second guess our approach. I suppose it is human nature – we subconsciously learn to repeat the behaviors that make us feel good, and we avoid the things that make us feel bad — which is where this gets interesting to me. Something that brings 90% good feelings and 10% bad feelings, should not result in feeling bad.

    I’ve come to look at the nay-sayers, not so much those who disagree, but those who communicate their feelings in a disrespectful/mean way, are simply unable to engage thoughtfully or to take any kind of emotional risk – they just go to anger/attack which usually is masking some kind of shame or sadness. It’s what we teach kids about bullies — these are kids who feel some need to put down others to quiet their own inner insecurities. So, on that note, I want to encourage you to always, always take the risks you are taking, to share and to be real. By all means, please – do sing – but know that as you share your thoughts, passions, and journey that it makes your music even sweeter to the VAST majority of your fans. Expect the hangover from time to time and remember that if we all communicated perfectly and agreed on everything then there would be nothing to say, and things would be really really quiet. I don’t expect you (or anyone) to be perfect, to always say it right, or to make all the ‘right’ choices (whatever that means). Sometimes I think we forget that the greatest teacher is experience, which means making mistakes. Keep on keeping it real. You are loved by this crew. xo

  • Avatar of Q.Clifton
    Q.Clifton said ...

    Thank you so much for your words of inspiration and strength. Just what I needed to read to be refreshed before I get back to some full on assignments. Which strangely enough happen to be around the stages of growth and belief in human life :) Got to love change.

    So don’t stop being open to challenges and new ideas. Don’t be afraid of change, it’s a beautiful thing. And embrace the beauty of where you are and where you have been, and look forward to what you can not see with a joyful heart.

    Have a great day/evening.

  • Avatar of Peaceout
    Peaceout said ...

    Live to tell and tell you live.

    Mischievous and cruel,
    all define You
    and Me
    but at the same time
    There truly is a seed
    From time forgotten
    Re-remembered in
    Each Life.

    The seed that flowers.

    When we realize that life never ends
    we keep going with purposeful strides
    Even when in doubt
    Assuming the responsibility that is ours
    to prove that goodness exists
    Inside of every living thing.

    That every life is precious and
    has the capacity to show
    it’s own magnificence.

    …In spite of it’s darkness,
    Its painful errors
    Its self conscious mumble,
    fumbling to communicate
    something of deeper importance

    To find the code that will
    unlock or reveal that precious light
    inside of the dark

    Including Me
    Including You

    At least… this is how I feel about it.


    I really hope that I will get to know you someday, to sit in a coffee shop in creative dialogue. Even if it’s three lives from now. I like what you have to say, even if it’s not perfect (I certainly am not). I think many people do. ;-)

    You stir a lot of goodness in a lot of lives, Mr. Mraz.

    It is my goal, even if only through prayer, to touch the lives of others.

    Even if it just offering someone a warm smile and sincere welcome
    or a cup of freshly made coffee or homemade apple pie
    on an apple orchard somewhere close or in…Normandy.
    This is one of my dreams…
    To have an apple orchard where there is an artist’s residency and place for visitors to go
    to remember they are nourished and loved.
    To pick apples, be with the earth, and to refresh their spirits so that they can use their art form to create. What a dream it is to me! I have been dreaming this for several years now. I can see it and feel it.

    All is well. Thank you for your post and always inspiring me to say something.

    Warmest regards and bon soir.

  • Avatar of normason
    normason said ...

    Instagram: Those fangs look familiar. They’re exactly like Ebony’s, my friend’s neighbor’s cat. Actually, I think he may be the first cat with a foot fetish: he loves to scratch his face on my feet, but I don’t let him go on too long because I KNOW that what he really wants to do is take a chunk off my toe!

  • Avatar of kaunkst7
    kaunkst7 said ...

    Not all of us can be a “perfect” size 2… I think I’ll go double stuff my face now. :-/

  • Avatar of Telluselle
    Telluselle said ...

    A boy with a troubled mind, he has his own truth to find. Changing purpose with the wind, out of love to our next of kin, may only be a one way street, because what he really needs to meet, is all there is to find, in his heart or mine.

  • Avatar of Cathy777
    Cathy777 said ...

    You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (Galatians 5:13 NIV)

  • Avatar of EvaHassine
    EvaHassine said ...

    Oh man, now this bear family is terrific..drinking my mate on a foggy berlin morning, your words push and kick and I love you for doing all that stuff!!! Somebody has to make the wake-up call.. ( for my part I help fixing the diabetis tibes in my close surroundings..)

    I wish you hair to your all kind bud and water for everybody. I don’t know what will happen with all this sugar on earth. people who keep feeding their souls with it probably die over and over again and the ones who stop all this will be lifted up to the easiness of real life.. who knows

    I am sooo happy, I planted an avocado in a little pot in my room here and yessss, she wants to celebrate life with me !!!! There is a plant coming !

    Full of love and hope, have great days.. exited for melodies for these strong words.


  • Avatar of holly
    holly said ...

    the lorax/dr. suess + the dude + vincent van gogh + infinite universe = jason mraz

    “there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.” – vincent van gogh

  • Avatar of mrazwordplay
    mrazwordplay said ...

    “Everyone has ideas about how to best live life and best use their voice.”

    My hubby & I volunteered for Free The Children’s We Day (and our daughter attended). So much positive energy, reinforcement and empowerment, it’s amazing. Then we all attended a TEDx Kids event, and saw more amazing kids and heard about their positive changes in the world. What a powerfully, moving weekend we had! At We Day, there was an underlying focus on anti-bullying. In a workshop at TEDxKids we discussed how what one person thought was positive change might not be so to another (after all, a lot of people don’t like change, positive or not). It was a thought-provoking, interesting, inspiring, and emotional weekend.

    So your statement above is particularly poignant to me today.

    As for the rest of your poem, I’m bookmarking it because I have noticed that some of your blog posts (or phrases contained therein) show up in a song, and I feel like something in here will. ;)

    Spencer hopes you’ll be able to participate in Seattle, so do I!!


    ***I can’t believe someone shouted shut up and sing – really? Sheesh :(

  • Avatar of MaggieMay13
    MaggieMay13 said ...

    If you must tell me your opinions, tell me what you believe in. I have plenty of doubts of my own.
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Anybody can be The Dude. Few people can be Dr. Suess.
    Only one can be Jason Mraz.

    Thanks for being you.

  • Avatar of normason
    normason said ...

    I was mortified when I heard someone tell you to shut up and sing on a YouTube video I was watching. I guess negative attention is better than no attention for some people.

    I read everything you post, and sometimes I don’t agree with what you say or how you say it, but I try to understand you. I’m absolutely sure, though, that I do not prefer silence—yours or anyone else’s–over disagreement.

    I never have anything to disagree with when you sing. So, I’ll modify the uncivil asshole’s comment and just say: SING!

    [Ooops! I think I just lapsed into uncivil assholishness myself! Being passive aggressive is not one of my character flaws. I’m just aggressive outright.]


  • Avatar of Rbela
    Rbela said ...

    I stopped drinking soda a few years ago, and although I have a sweet tooth I eat pretty healthfully. People always chuckle when I tell them I measure or count a serving size and I always get the same comments that I don’t eat. Or if I do eat it must be twigs or something. While they say those things, though, I can’t help feeling bad watching them eat and eat from a bag of potato chips or grab 10 cookies. I learned long ago not to say anything to my friends or even my family. So what I do is just talk about the things I love. Maybe they’ll try it; maybe not.

  • Avatar of corbin71
    corbin71 said ...

    mmm… let love live orrr lets live the presence of the harmonic convergence of the ever existing divine sOUNd(sOUL)
    don’t really appreciate the video tho.. from the point of view of people living with diabetes.

    I do appreciate your performance in vancouver! ;)
    ..keep it real

    and plant more fruit trees!

  • Avatar of amyneedscoffee

    Wow…now that is a lot to think about,
    Some of my thoughts/opinions I may doubt.

    Now you have me thinking in rhyme! Really incredible thoughts. BTW my most favorite fun line…
    We love stuff, especially double stuff..and it shows…

  • Avatar of FerCarranzaAlc

    Loved it.
    Would you mind share some of your awesomeness here in Mexico? We’re waiting for yoo. Happy face.