Jason Mraz on Making It

5:37:00 PM

Jason Mraz on "Making It" | Awesome in Manila

One song that has been on heavy rotation recently when I'm on Spotify is Jason Mraz’s Love Someone. My favorite version is the one where he played it live on an event sponsored by the app. (It's part of a private playlist called datcitylife because I’m an awesome copywriter.)

By the end of his performance, the interviewer asks Jason for wisdom he can leave aspiring musicians with. TBH, I dreaded the next few seconds. I almost skipped to the next song. When this question comes up (and it always does in celebrity interviews), the answer is almost always "follow your passion (or dreams or heart)", which I think is unhelpful, misleading, irresponsible and lazy.

Don't get me wrong—I'm all for doing what you love. I believe people can do great things with passion. I work in advertising! Only, sometimes it feels like a dangerous thing to say in this doggone age of entitlement where people are always demanding to get what they "deserve" (NOW!) and everyone seems to be running on feelings, where passion is easily translated as "doing what you love" if "what you love" means work always feels like play. We need a better philosophy.

Back to Jason Mraz. Proving that he really is The Ultimate Bae, Jason set aside the quintessential pop star answer and refocused the audience to the most important part of the whole "follow your dreams" business that nobody likes to talk about: doing the actual work.


We know you got your start playing in coffee shops at your hometown, L.A. What would you say now to an aspiring Jason who wants to end up with the career that you made? What is your piece of advice for them?

I would say playjust play. Because if you have a love for music, anytime you sit down to do it, you will be rewarded with the music. You will be rewarded by being in your path, swimming in your own success every time you play. Where you set the bar is up to you. I just wanted to play music. I didn't want any other day job. It's my only bar. Everything that came after that was a crazy bonus that I truly believe is the result of sitting in this spot and having a good time. People want to watch you have a good time. People want to listen to you have a good time. They want to be inspired to have their own good time.

"Earn it. Don't wish the journey away."

Sometimes I see artists try to get there all at once. You see a lot with crowdfunding campaigns. 'Help me pay for my CD, help me have a social media thing.' It's great if your community comes together to support you. But it's also great to go out there and earn it. To play the gigs required to earn the money to pay for that CD, to play the gigs required to earn the listeners you want to hear your CD. I always encourage them not to skip any steps. Don't wish the journey away. Just play.

*Emphasis is mine. 


Mindy Kaling spoke along those lines, too, when she wrote about confidence for Glamour magazine.

People talk about confidence without ever bringing up hard work. That's a mistake. I know I sound like some dour older spinster chambermaid on Downton Abbey who has never felt a man's touch and whose heart has turned to stone, but I don't understand how you could have self-confidence if you don't do the work.

Jason Mraz on "Making It" | Awesome in Manila

I work a lot. Like, a lot a lot. I feel like I must have been watching TV as a kid and that cartoon parable about the industrious ants and the lazy grasshopper came on at a vital moment when my soft little brain was hardening, and the moral of it was imprinted on me. The result of which is that I'm usually hyper-prepared for whatever I set my mind to do, which makes me feel deserving of attention and professional success, when that's what I'm seeking.


I recall a recent conversation with a friend who expressed an interest in blogging. While I have no doubts that he can create something people would be attracted to, it threw me off when he got too excited at the thought of getting free stuff. (For some, this seems to be the measure of blogging success.)

Let’s be real: everyone wants freebies. *ehermConversenoticemepleaseeherm* But to think the process is as simple as set up blog, write a little, take good photos, get freebies yay? That's a little insulting to someone who’s been doing it for five years and still nowhere near "influencer" status.

I said: If freebies are your thing, I ain’t judging. But since you’re just on the first step, don’t worry about it yet. First, be worth your salt. Work on original content, sincerely make friends and don't use dubious methods to gain massive following. Spend if you have to.

There are no shortcuts to success. Do yourself a favor and do the damn work. (Unless you're already famous, then get outta here! Just kidding. I love you. Don't leave me.)

Jason Mraz on "Making It" | Awesome in Manila

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CS Lewis

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