Caring more about Earth than his looks

Pop icon Jason Mraz only has one woman on his mind these days.

Mother Earth.

"Mother Earth. She's the only woman for me!" proclaimed the Grammy-winning crooner at a press conference held at Gardens by the Bay on Friday.

The American, who broke off his engagement to fellow singer-songwriter Tristan Prettyman last year, was also the first musician to perform at the Gardens, where he belted out songs from his new album, Love is a Four Letter Word.

It was a fitting response to summarise the entire press conference, which took place at Flower Dome Event Space.

Mraz, whose gig on Friday was one of the highlights of Rhythm With Nature, a three-day music festival to mark the official opening of the garden, appeared barefoot at the 20-minute long interview and shared his deep love and concern for the environment.

The 35-year-old said: "Two things happened almost simultaneously (that made me environmentally aware).

"First, I bought a home and I realised that this is now my piece of earth that I'm responsible for.

No one else is going to sort my trash, do my recycling, turn my lights off or water my trees.

"I also started surfing at the same time´┐Ż and I was really disappointed when I went to the beach and saw broken glass bottles, cigarette buds and garbage, and trash floating beside me in the water.

"After it rained, they even put up a sign that said 'please don't swim', because the water becomes dirty from the (trash).

"I felt that I had a responsibility - for my own selfish reasons - because I wanted to keep surfing and I wanted (a clean beach) until I am an old man.

"And if I have kids, I wanted the water to be clean for them too."

Since then, Mraz, who wore his trademark hat throughout the press conference, has been trying to spread the green message through his songs.

"Music is a powerful fund-raising tool and it is also a means to express yourself and draw attention to certain things," he said.

"I try not to preach in my music, but I do try to offer hope for you (to) take responsibility for what you are most passionate about.

"So in my most recent album, I sing a song called The World As I See It, and its message is that even though we have pollution and are consuming more energy than we ever have, we can continue to create the world as a beautiful place."

Not model eco-warrior

Still, Mraz was quick to point out that he is hardly a model environmentalist. He said he flies to different countries very often, thus leaving a long trail of carbon footprint.

He said: "Here I am talking about being an eco-warrior, but I fly every other day, and I'm not flying by myself - I'm flying with 23 people. So my carbon footprint is probably bigger than anyone else in this room. (So) I feel I have a responsibility."

But has his new, rugged look have anything to do with his fight against pollution?

Possibly, it seems.

When asked about his look, he said: "I saw a really cool picture the other day: it was of someone's bathroom, and they had removed the mirror from above their sink. And in place of the mirror, it just said: 'You look fine'.

"I love that! It's not obsessing over what you look like. You should just go about your day, and (think about) how do you feel inside.

"Honestly, I feel more complete and excited about my life now more than I ever have. That's probably why my outside appearance has started to change a bit."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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