Jason Mraz started his music career in local coffee shops in California more than 20 years ago. Now, the Grammy Award-winning artist is still hanging out at local shops, sometimes singing a tune and other times behind the bar where he pulls espresso shots.

“I still work at a coffee shop from time to time and I love it,” Mraz tells VegNews. “I love pulling shots and steaming milk and making latte art.” 

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Before heading out on tour this summer, the singer/songwriter partnered with Planet Oat to promote its new product, Barista Lovers, a creamy oat milk created with baristas in mind. For Mraz, because Planet Oat is served at his local shop, the partnership felt like a natural fit.

“I’ve been in love with coffee shops for more than 20 years,” Mraz says. “They gave me my first venue that I could actually work in as a musician so I’ll never turn my back on coffee shops. They’ve always been there for me.” 

Jason Mraz on going plant-based  

Mraz really loves coffee and typically starts every day with a latte made with two or three shots of espresso and topped off with dairy-free milk, such as Planet Oat. 

“If I didn’t have to eat other food, I would just do that all day long,” he jokes.

When he does eat food, Mraz always reaches for the plant-based option. He first experimented with a “vegetarian-ish” diet in 2006 and decided to stop eating animal products in 2008. Immediately, he noticed that removing dairy helped him fight inflammation. 

“Plant-based makes me feel great, and I’ve been doing plant-based for a very long time,” he says. “It feels like I work, sing, and communicate better because my ear, nose, and throat are clear.”

The 46-year-old also owns Mraz Farms, where he grows his favorite plant (coffee), along with a variety of fruit trees, including passionfruit, bananas, cherimoya, and avocado. 

“The avocado trees we are planting this year will outlive me,” Mraz says. “That I really love.”

The farm has helped Mraz to gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to be a steward of the environment. It also informs his eating outside of the farm, as well, pointing him toward local, organic foods from regenerative farms.

Taking on a new challenge: Dancing with the Stars

While some might know Mraz from his early aughts hits like “Remedy (I Won’t Worry My Life Away)” or “I’m Yours” (the quintessential coffee shop jam), others caught him on the most recent season of Dancing with the Stars (DWTS).

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On the 32nd season of the competition, Mraz and dance partner Daniella Karagach impressed judges and fans every week with their moves, ultimately coming in as runners-up—an experience Mraz says was both thrilling and challenging. 

Just like his Planet Oat partnership was forged to celebrate coffee, he loved doing DWTS as a way to celebrate music in a medium he was previously nervous to explore. 

“I honestly thought I was going to last two or three weeks,” Mraz says. “But after week one, it seemed apparent that I might be there for a while.” 

“What a great experience it is to be locked in a room with a professional every day for 90 days and be taught a variety of dances and push myself physically,” Mraz recalls. 

In the end, Mraz says his experience on DWTS was “transformational” and helped him to quiet the doubts he had about his ability to perform in this way. 

“I emerged from that experience with so much knowledge about dance, improved flexibility, range of motion, and endurance,” he says. “The health benefits of dance were incredible.”

How did Mraz fuel his often high-energy performances on DWTS? With plants, of course. 

His favorite foods are simple: apples, bananas, avocados, and sourdough bread. “I’m an old-school trail mix kind of guy,” Mraz says, pointing to “Blue Zone foods” such as Brazil nuts and pecans as a go-to. 

“I’ve eaten an avocado a day for the past 20 years,” he says. 

Jason Mraz hits the road

Mraz’s favorite oat milk, Planet Oat, is set to embark on a pop-up sampling tour this winter in Boston, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia in its own Barista Lovers coffee shop.

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Mraz is currently preparing for a cross-country tour of his own that will take him to 21 cities this summer, where he hopes to create purposeful and meaningful experiences for his fans. 

“There’s always a fear when you put a tour up for sale,” Mraz says. “The fear is: Will people come? Will I be able to perform? Am I worthy of going on stage and holding people’s attention?”

“But what I love about it is it calls me into being purposeful and mindful,” Mraz says. 

From ticket purchases to the parking lot after the show, Mraz always wants to be respectful of the time it takes for a fan to see him perform and is aware that he only has their attention for a few hours. 

“So I feel like it’s my job to guide them on some kind of transformational experience,” Mraz says. “Coming in here, you don’t know what you’re going to see or who you’re sitting next to but hopefully, by the end of it, you feel inspired to go live your life in a fulfilling way.”

He recalls an early performance of his 2002 hit “Remedy,” during which the crowd was moved to sing the chorus “I won’t worry my life away.” This moment, he says, reminded him about the power of language. 

“I watched people sing it in the audience and realized that now they get to say those words,” Mraz says. “We have to cheer ourselves on. We have to trick our brains into keeping us happy. And language is probably the best place to start. I am so grateful that 20 years later, I still get to do it.”

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