At the opening Breakfast of Champions session of The 2020 NAMM Show, singer-songwriter, two-time GRAMMY Award winner and Songwriters Hall of Fame honoree Jason Mraz was presented with the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) “Music for Life” award.
NAMM’s highest industry honor was given in recognition of Mraz’s musical accomplishments and his lifelong commitment to inspiring music makers through a number of national arts organizations, including his own, the Jason Mraz Foundation.
The award was presented by NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond, who introduced Mraz with acknowledgment of his pioneering and philanthropic spirit. Of the award, Lamond shared: “Music brings everyone together and mentorship is the train that keeps music expanding, impacting and inspiring us all,” said Lamond. “Jason Mraz has exemplified this vision for a very long time, and there’s no stronger impact in a community than someone who lives among you choosing to rise up to give of time and resources to make these positive changes. We honor Jason’s commitment and craft here today.”
In the morning session, Mraz spoke of his early access to making music, with his mother having sat him at the piano and shaped his fingers to play chords, and later in school, how music teachers helped him develop his music making abilities. “I was fortunate to have music education in my public school and that’s why I advocate so hard for it,” Mraz said. “Knowing how much shaped my life and gave me so many opportunities, I knew my career would include giving back.”
To shine a light on arts education and inclusion, which is the mission of his Foundation, Mraz will bring seven San Diego-based arts education non-profit groups together next month for SHINE, a musical adventure based on the singer-songwriter’s catalog that will feature performances by local organizations, including music-based special needs organization Banding Together; Malashock Dance, whose education program is designed to bring access to dance for under-served students, low-income families, and individuals with disabilities; and transcenDANCE, an organization that works to transcend barriers, expand ambitions, and create positive changes to families and the community through dance and performance.
Last year, the two-time Grammy winner accepted the honor of becoming the Recording Academy’s first-ever Ambassador for its annual District Advocate Day, giving the artist a more public platform to emphasize the importance of creators’ protections and rights to federal representatives who make and affect policy changes.
Mraz’s body of work contains six original studio albums, which include a multitude of Gold and Platinum certifications, from his 2002 debut Waiting For My Rocket To Come, which broke through with songs like “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry),” and “You and I Both,” to 2008’s We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things., which included “Lucky,” fan favorite “A Beautiful Mess,” and the RIAA-Diamond certified “I’m Yours,” to the inspiring anthem “I Won’t Give Up,” from 2012’s Love Is a Four Letter Word, and most recently “Have It All” from 2018’s Know. His Platinum and multi-Platinum certifications extend to more than 20 countries around the world.
Mraz has performed on all seven continents, including sell-outs at iconic venues like The Hollywood Bowl, Madison Square Garden, and London’s O2 Arena. When not touring, he resides in the San Diego area where he farms avocados and coffee beans.
The “Music for Life” award is NAMM’s highest honor and recognizes individuals or organizations that exemplify NAMM’s vision of music making as a precious element of daily living for everyone. Past recipients have included business leaders, public officials and musicians, including Graham Nash, Stevie Wonder, Yoko Ono, Henry Mancini, Bob Weir, Nancy Wilson, among others. The award is given each January during the global music, pro audio and entertainment technology gathering, The NAMM Show, held in Anaheim, California.