Jason Mraz sat down with Billboard to explain how a Buddhist greeting he heard in Myanmar inspired his song “Have It All,” as part of the “How It Went Down” video series.
Mraz tells Billboard that he was in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) in 2012 to attend the MTV EXIT [End Exploitation and Trafficking] concert. While traveling, the singer explains, Mraz noticed that Buddhist people commonly greet each other with the phrase “Tashi delek,” which translates to, “May you have auspiciousness and causes of success.”
“I thought, ‘Wow, what a great thing to say to a total stranger,’” Mraz shares. “So I wrote it down…anything that’s going down in my journal is an effort to plant a seed for a song. So on the flight home, I’m writing in my journal this phrase and trying to clone that phrase as many times as possible in rhyme scheme.”
“My wife calls it doing a puzzle,” he continues, “And I think that’s what songwriting is — you throw all these ingredients in there, and then you do the puzzle. You try to figure out how it’s gonna work, how it’s gonna dance, how it’s gonna rhyme.”
Four months later, Mraz was in the studio and he recalled he had those verses he had jotted down. With co-writer Dave Hodges, the pair put together the song that afternoon.
He forgot about the track until the summer of 2017, when he received a call from his A&R rep at Atlantic Records, who had heard it through the grapevine. Mraz then called the band Raining Jane — who he calls his “collaborators for life” — and they all worked on it together.
To hear more about Jason Mraz’s process of creating “Have It All,” which took more than five years to see the light of day, you can watch the video above.