​Jason Mraz: My music says "Everything will be OK"

You almost can't listen to a song by Jason Mraz without thinking of lazy summer days at the beach. Possibly because that's where he spends a lot of HIS free time. Our Ben Tracy tracked him down:

From "I'm Yours":

"Well, you done done me,
and you bet I felt it.
I tried to be chill,
but you're so hot that I melted.

If music had a season, Jason Mraz' songs would be the soundtrack of summer.

From "Make It Mine":

And I am finally there,
And all the angels they'll be singing
Ah la la la ah la la la I la la la la love you.

His tunes tend to be breezy and carefree, kind of like the guy who writes them.

"A lot of artists write the song about the dark place," said Tracy. "And you seem to write about how you get out of the dark place."

"Definitely," said Mraz. "I certainly don't want to bring an audience into that dark place and say, 'Come with me on a journey while I bum us all out,' and then hope that my next song gets us out. No, it has to happen within one song. If you're going to go to a sad place, for me I gotta get out of it before the song's over."

His albums have sold seven million copies, and while Mraz dabbles in melancholy he never lives there, even when the topic is dead serious, as with his hit, "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)."

"I wrote 'Remedy' about my best friend in high school," Mraz said. "His name is Charlie Mingroni. Right about the same time I was writing my first record, he was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. And he was born July 4th, and so I was triggered by the fireworks going off at Disneyland off the freeway and I immediately started rapping the verse."

'I saw fireworks from the freeway,
behind closed eyes I couldn't make 'em go away.
You were born on the 4th of July,
freedom ring,
but something on the surface it stings.
Something on the surface it kinda makes me nervous.
Who says that you deserve this?
What kind of God would serve this?
We'll cure this dirty old disease.
If you've got the poison, then I've got the remedy

The singer still likes to return to where his life in music began, playing coffee shops in Southern California. That exposure led to his first record deal, and a 2002 album aptly titled, "Waiting for My Rocket to Come." It carried him out onto the road, where he built his fan base.

john-mraz-raining-jane-620.jpg
John Mraz performing with the all-girl group Raining Jane.
CBS News

But it was his song "I'm Yours," from his third album, that in 2008 sent his career into the stratosphere. It spent 76 weeks on the Hot 100 charts, a record at the time.

"I kept thinking, 'Okay, any minute now this is gonna be over and I'm gonna go back to the coffee shops,' and I still think that!" he laughed. "It's been ten-plus years on the world stage, and I still think that I'm gonna go back to the coffee shop someday."

I keep my life on a heavy rotation
Requesting that it's lifting you up up up and away
And over to a table at the Gratitude Cafe.

Mraz has earned a reputation as a songwriter who knows how to turn a phrase, and then turn it on its head. His skills have earned him two Grammys Awards, including one for his "Lucky" duet with singer Colbie Caillat.

You'll find those Grammys at Mraz's home near San Diego, in his "awards room," which also serves a less laudatory purpose -- the bathroom.

"It's a little bit of embarrassment hanging them on the wall, and yet the bathroom is the place that just about everybody needs to visit at least once when they're here, so then they're forced to be surrounded by our accolades!" he laughed.

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