Jason Mraz: A Breakup Record, Served With A Smile

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Jason Mraz's 2008 single "I'm Yours" was a multiplatinum global hit. In fact, it set a record by staying on Billboard's Hot 100 chart for 76 weeks — more than any other song in the magazine's 51-year history.

Although Mraz's new record, Love Is a Four Letter Word, was written on the heels of a breakup, the songs are mostly sunny and positive. Mraz says he was more interested in making something relatable than in zeroing in on his own experiences.

"I always write to understand my place in the world," Mraz says. "I can see myself and my life unfold on the page, and I can understand my strengths, my weaknesses — I can see where I need to step up a bit. I can see where I need to forgive myself or forgive others. I definitely wanted to create a big-picture album that all humans could relate to with a universal message of love."

Mraz's sunny disposition doesn't always come naturally. The singer says that, for him, pursuing happiness is an active choice — not a default.

"It's from being melancholy and having my human down experiences that I learn, that I overcome, that I transform — and these realizations I put into song," Mraz says. "That's what I choose to put in my backpack and carry with me around the world."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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