For as long as I can remember, Mr Page’s website has referred to him as “songwriter troubadour filmmaker astronaut.” And in many ways I relate. To tour is to orbit the Earth. We may not travel 17,000 miles per hour like those aboard the ISS (International Space Station), but we do log those miles eventually, on our own time. And we too see the world from many fascinating angles.
Music takes you places. It can guide you through your inner world, making sense of emotion and easing pain, or it can literally take you around the planet, from NYC to San Diego; Antarctica to Outer Space.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX where I got to hang with astronauts on the ground and converse with those in space, all thanks to music. Did you know that we’ve had someone in space for 14 consecutive years? The space-men & women still change shifts every 6 months but plan to extend their stay-cations to an entire year.
The recently retired NASA shuttle program was not the end of our space program at all. Now that the ISS is practically self-sustaining, NASA is refocusing its exploration away from low orbit and looking to soon be exploring nearby asteroids, moons of Mars, and Mars itself; searching for medicines & histories on the frontiers of new technology. Again I see the comparisons between songwriters & astronauts. Troubadours explore new and old worlds to share those worlds’ stories, all the while putting medicine in the music to increase the potency of the message.
On board the ISS, each crew member is required to exercise 2 hours a day in order to preserve their bone mass. They eat processed foods due to the lack of farmer’s markets in space. And they drink recycled pee. Astro-Nutty! We troubadours might eat at gas stations & diners. And we might pee in moving vans if there’s no time to stop before the gig, but the only thing we exercise is our right to free speech. I guess Astronauts have us beat.
I think I’ll keep my feet on the ground and continue to look up to astronauts as I do.
“And I look up” to Mr Page. He gave me my first gig in San Diego in 1999 and we have remained good friends ever since. I invite you to check out his new album, ONE WAY JOURNEY HOME,recorded by me. It’s just lovely.
I’m calling the next generation of farmers to action.
This is a story. It is a beautiful story. It is a story is about you and me. And how we gave up greed, corruption and ignorance. We realized that HUManity, HUMility and HUMus all came “from the earth.” And so, we kneeled and kissed the ground. And the earth spoke to us. And here is what she said: Be a Farmer. Grow food. Build community. Save the planet. #beafarmer #growfood #kisstheground #thesoilstory
The Average age of today’s farmer is between 60 & 70. And they hope to retire soon. We need 4-6 million new farmers just to replace them. And we need good food farmers to make sure our future isn’t fed from factory farms, chemical fertilizers, and GMO seeds. YUCK.
Did you know that organic, regenerative farmers could put an end to the climate crisis? The solution is IN THE SOIL!
Follow Jason Mraz Foundation online via twitter @MrazFoundation to find out “what’s growing on” with the money raised from generous donors, ticket portions, and merch items. In the past 30 days alone we have committed to hundreds of thousands of dollars to projects big and small, and I couldn’t be happier!
This week I am spotlighting Life Rolls On, an organization of which I am a lifetime member, contributing to their amazing efforts to stoke-out and improve the quality of life for individuals affected by paralysis. On our new tour, which begins this week, we will carry a new t-shirt, designed by me in partnership with Vuori Clothing, to generate income and awareness for our amazing friends and recipients at LRO. So be sure to check out the new goods at the merch table and/or soon in our online store.
In the meantime, enjoy this video of LRO in action at one of my local beaches! And stay tuned for more updates from JasonMrazFoundation.org !
Dozens of flights, tens of thousands of miles and 1.5 laps around the globe and finally the promotion and release of YES! is complete. Thank you for helping us #spreadYES! making it’s debut a victorious one. When the announcements were made about chart positions, Raining Jane & I paraded around our apartment chanting, “We’re Number 2! We’re Number 2!” sighting the display of two fingers as a symbol of Peace, or Victory, or the roman numeral 5, which is us! In many ways, we entered the charts exactly where we, as underdogs, were meant to.
There is much symbolism on the album cover as well, beginning with the 5 birds, representing RJ & I flying “like birds not of this earth;” a lyric from Beautiful Mess, a song we wrote together in 2007. The birds on the cover of YES! are flying in a (Roman Numeral) V-formation, representing this as a 5th album. Some birds are known to fly in a V-formation, and typically a male is out front, however, it is not he who is leading. His position is merely to make it easier for the women and children to fly. The women are in fact setting the pace. I loved this analogy for the band. My name may be on the cover, and I may be standing out front, but it is truly a collaborative effort and Raining Jane do set the pace with their unique sound.
Additionally, the birds are seen within a circle over a brilliant landscape. This represents the world within a world. The brilliant world that each of us have inside. A world that needs our attention very much, because in order to bring peace to the outer world, we must first experience & understand peace within. This is a common theme of the music of YES!
One of my favorite moments from the promotional tour was the honor of conversing with Jian Ghomeshi. His interviews and radio essays are some of my favorite. You can hear his shows on demand on the CBC network in Canada via the web or the CBC app. Below is a clip from our chat. Enjoy.
Is this thing on? This is a test to see if the application to update my blog still works…
I’ve had such a disconnect from my computer over the past few months that I almost lost the intelligence to craft an insightful blog. Please pardon my absence.
The best I’ve been able to muster are a few tweets of gratitude, mentions, or shares to great projects, like Harmonic Humanity, who are currently fundraising to expand their work empowering the homeless. (It’s not too late to donate btw!)
Maybe it’s the crazy times we’re in, but I feel the main reason I’ve had trouble writing is due to despondency, which is dangerous I suppose. After all, despondency makes procrastination look sexy.
Of course I can and will write about my adventures and successes the Janes and I had on our recent travels. Stay tuned for that. And I could easily share stories of the few times in my life where I sharted, but in addition to laughs, I’d also love to share my topical interests on regenerative farming, the importance of legalization of hemp, and how it would be less expensive to supply the entire US with solar panels than it is to declare war on another country for its resources. But despondency, or helplessness, makes one feel his conversation doesn’t have a chance.
I fear the environment will not be issue number 1 until we are out of food and water. And war will be the force used to obtain those resources until they’re gone. Besides, It isn’t the climate who’s having a crisis. It’s us. Supporting your local organic farmers supports regenerative farming, which is a practice recently proven to sequester carbon from the atmosphere while dramatically improving soil health, making both food and the environment healthier!
I am also disheartened with the government system’s inability to care properly for its citizens, especially with the strong resistance to universal healthcare along with insurance companies and banks taking advantage of their customers. I am saddened by the limitless lobbying in Washington. It makes me trust almost no one. And I loathe how divided our system is. I have finally become annoyed by the number of emails the DNC sends me to donate money. I’d rather eat bacon again and elect Louis CK as the president and let stand up comedy replace state of the union addresses. After all, politics is just talk, so let it be light while at the same time shockingly reflective of our national stupidity.
As much as I thought I cared to act, I find I prefer taking the day off to sit on my ass in a yoga class where instead of being frustrated by issues and politics I practice being calm and compassionate, accepting the twisted nature of the world as it is. A world so twisted we celebrate tobacco and alcohol but we prohibit hemp, a cash crop our nation was founded on; a crop that requires no pesticides; a crop that could be grown in the US instead of imported, giving farmers access to a billion dollar industry; a crop that can be used as food, medicine, fabric, and even bio-fuel! Yet, we keep it illegal and lamely prosecute more than 600,000 people a year, mostly men of color, ruining their lives forever. Thanks America. Way to empower your citizens.
It’s in this very state of despair that art, entertainment, and cultivating a compassionate spiritual practice are more important than ever. Therefore blogs ARE needed. Conversations ARE needed! Strong communities are needed! New networks are needed! AND NOW!
It is often from despair that I am called to write music that is optimistic; for optimism is the very thing that determines successful outcomes. Without optimism there is no energy in a task. Optimism is hope. Optimism is light. And it should be celebrated.
And so, to cut through the fog, as if I were writing a song, I am attempting to maintain this blog, however frank or random it may read. And I’ll do my best to continue updating the page throughout the tour.
Thanks again for your listenership, love and support. We are in this together.
As I travel the world, I am meeting more and more people who are curious about their food supply and interested in growing their own. Many people ask, where do I start? Well, there are many exciting ways to kneel and kiss the ground. But it always starts with a seed. And that seed is you!
The Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA) is a grassroots nonprofit based in Berkeley, CA. Their mission is to connect and grow the next generation of food and farming leaders in a one-of-a-kind program that bridges ancestral knowledge with sustainable innovation. The impact is both local and global!
They have helped to start 142 new farms and food justice projects in 16 countries, and their efforts to spread sustainable farming continues.
Why does sustainable agriculture matter? Whether we live in the city or country, where food comes from and who grows it is connected to all of us. Food is one of our closest relationships to the planet and to other people. As I learned from one MESA steward, it’s about nurturing life and nurturing ourselves. Sustainable agriculture allows us to grow food in abundance without damaging our health or the health of the planet.
If you have 4 minutes, check out the video, “You Are the Seed” to learn more about MESA’s awesome farm stewards, and how they are helping to enrich and restore our precious environment through the cultivation and care of our food. Thank you.