NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jason Mraz will make history next month when he performs in Myanmar to raise awareness about human trafficking.

Mraz will headline a free outdoor concert on Dec. 16 at People's Square in Yangon, at the base of Shwedagon Pagoda.

The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter is the first international artist to perform an open-air concert in the country since the end of military rule last year. And he is believed to be just the second Western act to perform in the country in decades, joining Ozomatli's U.S. State Department-sponsored appearance in 2009.

"That's pretty exciting," Mraz said of the history involved, "and I'm going there with an enormous amount of gratitude and respect, and I hope we can actually make a difference. I hope it's also a testament to the songs. I've always wanted my songs to be about healing and self-empowerment, and if this is the way MTV is acknowledging that, then I am incredibly grateful."

The show includes local acts and is hosted by MTV EXIT, the music channel's initiative to raise awareness about human trafficking and exploitation. It will be broadcast on Myanmar national television and will air on MTV's international network in 2013. Mraz hosted a similar concert in the Philippines last year. He first became interested in the issue about four years ago when he attended the Freedom Awards, an annual salute to those working against human exploitation put on by the organization Free the Slaves.

"I thought this was something that was abolished when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, but all it did is become hidden from our view," Mraz said in a phone interview from Zurich, Switzerland. "There was a recent estimate that there are about 27 million people enslaved on the planet, certainly due to hard economic times not just in the Western world but certainly in Third World countries. Humans as a commodity is a great way to run your business. So I signed on, lent my voice, lent my music to the cause."

Myanmar is opening itself to the world since a military junta ceded power to a new elected government last year. President Thein Sein's government has pushed the country toward democracy, and this Monday Barack Obama is scheduled to become the first sitting U.S. president to visit the country.

Mraz says there is concern predators will prey on the vulnerable in this time of great flux. The concert offers an opportunity to "educate, empower and engage." The 35-year-old singer says he plans to tailor his show to the message.

"I do curate a set list that I feel is going to be part of that educate, empower and engage (theme)," he said. "Obviously songs like `I'm Yours,' `I Won't Give Up' are great examples. Or `93 Million Miles' is a new one where it's about believing in yourself. And a lot of my songs are about that, about believing in yourself and really going for your dreams. Those are the kinds of songs I'll be playing at that show."

___

Online:

http://jasonmraz.com

http://mtvexit.org

___

Follow AP Music Writer Chris Talbott: . http://twitter.com/Chris_Talbott

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Lady Gaga rocked some 80's style while leaving her apartment building in New York City on June 6.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Eva Longoria and Felicity Huffman had a little "Desperate Housewives" reunion at the AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute To Jane Fonda at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on June 5.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Lindsay Lohan was seen at Chiltern Firehouse in London on June 5.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Scott Disick attended the 2014 FIFA World Cup McDonald's launch party at Pillars 38 on June 5 in New York City.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Lena Dunham was seen rocking a "No Comment" sweater while out and about in New York City on June 5.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Hilary Duff was all smiles as she ran errands on June 5 in Beverly Hills, California.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Channing Tatum has some fun at the "22 Jump Street" premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on June 4 in New York City.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban attended the 2014 CMT Music Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on June 4 in Nashville, Tennessee.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Carrie Underwood attended the 2014 CMT Music Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on June 4 in Nashville, Tennessee.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Kendall and Kylie Jenner were seen stepping out in New York City on June 4.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Bradley Cooper got whipped into shape by military personnel while filming scenes for his upcoming movie "American Sniper" in Los Angeles, California on June 4.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Sarah Jessica Parker went for a walk on June 4 in New York City.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Emma Roberts and Evan Peters enjoyed a romantic stroll on the beach together while vacationing in Maui, Hawaii on June 3.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Kim Kardashian stopped by Craig's in West Hollywood, California to have lunch with her mom Kris Jenner on June 3.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Taylor Schilling attended the Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Berkeley Square Gardens on June 3 in London, England.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Miranda Lambert stopped by ABC studios for an appearance on "Good Morning America" in New York Cit on June 3.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Angelina Jolie attended the "Maleficent" photo call at The Bund on June 3 in Shanghai, China.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    John Mayer enjoyed dinner out at Madeo Restaurant on June 2 in West Hollywood, California.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Blake Lively left her hotel with designer Michael Kors and headed to the 2014 CDFA Awards on June 2 in New York City.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Gwen Stefani spotted leaving a skin care clinic while out and about in Beverly Hills, California on June 2.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Katie Holmes spotted picking up Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer in New York City on June 2.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Pete Wentz took a test drive of the new Mario Kart 8 for Wii U in Los Angeles, California on June 2.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Halle Berry attended the Huading Film Awards on June 1 at Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Kim Kardashian was seen at LAX on June 1 in Los Angeles, California.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Shailene Woodley was seen leaving the Bowery Hotel in New York City on June 1.

  • Celebrity Photos: June 2014

    Marion Cotillard spotted out and about with a friend in New York City on June 1.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Khloe Kardashian chatted away on her cell phone as she arrived on a red eye flight at JFK airport in New York on May 31.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Naomi Watts headed to the gym for a morning workout on May 30 in Brentwood, California

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Jane Lynch signed copies of her book "Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean" at the 2014 Bookexpo America at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on May 29 in New York City.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Taylor Schilling, Jason Biggs and Laura Prepon attended a photo call to launch season 2 of Netflix exclusive series "Orange Is The New Black" on May 29 in London.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Peter Facinelli and Jaimie Alexander shared a kiss after their work out at a gym in West Hollywood, California on May 29.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Mariah Carey at the 2014 Fresh Air Fund Honoring Our American Hero at Pier Sixty in New York City on May 29.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Farrah Abraham spotted posing for cameras in New York City on May 29.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Prince William and Kate Middleton visited Strathearn Community Campus in Crieff, Scotland on May 29.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    "The Bachelorette" Season 1 couple Trista and Ryan Sutter stopped to pose for the cameras while out and about in New York City on May 29.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at the Los Angeles premiere of "Maleficent" at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on May 28.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Chris Martin and his band Coldplay perform live at the Casino de Paris on May 28 in Paris.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Hilary Duff stopped by a nail salon in Los Angeles, California on May 28.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Scott Disick spotted out and about with a friend in New York City on May 28.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Emily Blunt attended the premiere of "Edge Of Tomorrow" on May 28 in London.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Nina Dobrev wowed at the World Music Awards 2014 at Sporting Monte-Carlo on May 27.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Kristen Stewart departed on a flight at LAX airport in Los Angeles, California with her bodyguard on May 27.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Amanda Seyfried, Charlize Theron and Seth MacFarlane attended a photo call to promote "A Million Ways To Die In The West" on May 27 in London, England.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Jennifer Garner met a friend for lunch at Larchmont Bungalow in Los Angeles, California on May 27.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Tom Cruise attended "Edge Of Tomorrow" photocall at Terrazza Civita on May 27 in Rome, Italy.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Kaley Cuoco and her husband Ryan Sweeting attended Joel Silver's Annual Memorial Day Party at his home in Malibu, California on May 26.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Kris Jenner and baby North West left Florence Airport after Kim Kardashian And Kanye West's wedding on May 25 in Florence, Italy.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Emma Watson, in a cap and gown, attending Brown University’s 2014 Graduation Ceremony in Providence, Rhode Island on May 25.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Eva Longoria had a busy morning in Los Angeles, California on May 25.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Iggy Azalea arrived at The Bank nightclub at the Bellagio on May 24 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

  • Celebrity Photos: May 2014

    Supermodel Hilary Rhoda and her fiance former "DWTS" contestant Sean Avery celebrated Memorial Day with Tequila Don Julio cocktails from the Airstream speakeasy in the Hampton's on May 24.