Jason Thomas Mraz (/məˈræz/; born June 23, 1977) is an American singer-songwriter who first came to prominence on the San Diego coffee house scene in 2000. At one of these coffee houses, Mraz met percussionist Toca Rivera and released Live at Java Joe's. He released his debut album, Waiting for My Rocket to Come, which contained the hit single "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)", in 2002, but it was not until the release of his second album, Mr. A-Z, in 2005, that Mraz achieved major commercial success. The album peaked at number five on the Billboard 200 and sold over 100,000 copies in the US. In 2008, Mraz released his third studio album, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and was a commercial success worldwide, peaking in the top ten of many international charts.
Mraz's international breakthrough came with the release of the single "I'm Yours" from the album We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. The single peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Mraz his first top ten single. The song was on the Hot 100 for 76 weeks, beating the previous record of 69 weeks held by LeAnn Rimes' "How Do I Live". The song was a commercial success in the US, receiving a 5x platinum certification from the RIAA for sales of over five million. The song was successful internationally, topping the charts in New Zealand and Norway and peaking in the top ten of multiple international charts.
Jason Mraz was born and raised in Mechanicsville, Virginia. He is of Czech descent through his grandfather, who moved to the United States from Austria-Hungary in 1915. His surname is Czech for "frost" (Czech: mráz). His parents, Tom (Tomáš) Mraz and June, divorced when he was four years old, but he asserts that he had an idyllic childhood, saying, "My hometown of Mechanicsville was very American. There were white picket fences, a church on every street corner, low crime and virtually no drug use. It was a good place to grow up." He went to Lee-Davis High School and The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York.
Live at Java Joe's (2001)
In 2001, Mraz released a live acoustic album, Live at Java Joe's, a coffee house in the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego. Here, Mraz performed with percussionist Noel "Toca" Rivera and bassist Ian Sheridan and felt at home singing and scatting through jazzy-pop songs. He would deliver rapidfire lyrics full of verbal mischief, and he would riff off the crowd like a stand-up comic. The album featured Mraz's free-lancing vocal style and songs he later re-released, including "1000 Things", "You and I Both", and "Halfway Home."
The album was made available to download on iTunes on March 11, 2008, under the title Jason Mraz: Live & Acoustic 2001.
Waiting for My Rocket to Come (2002–2003)
In 2002, Mraz signed a recording contract with Elektra Records. He recorded his first album with the Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer producer John Alagía, and Virginia-based roots rock band the Agents Of Good Root. Mraz then released his first major-label debut album, Waiting for My Rocket to Come. The album was a relative commercial success, peaking at number 55 on the Billboard 200. The lead single from the album, "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)" was co-written by music production team The Matrix and it was Mraz's first top 20 single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 15.
Mraz's friend and former roommate Billy "Bushwalla" Galewood collaborated on the album, co-writing "Curbside Prophet" and the album's third single, and "I'll Do Anything".
Tonight, Not Again: Jason Mraz Live at the Eagles Ballroom (2004)
In 2004, while touring, Mraz released a live album and accompanying DVD,Tonight, Not Again: Jason Mraz Live at the Eagles Ballroom, a special two-disc set including an audio CD of his concert from Milwaukee's Eagles Ballroom, plus a video DVD of the concert plus tons of backstage footage. Mraz performed with his touring band including drummer Adam King, percussionist Noel "Toca" Rivera and bassist Ian Sheridan and keyboardist Eric Hinojosa along with a guest appearance from Blues Traveler lead John Popper. The Eagles Ballroom (part of The Rave complex) has a capacity of only about 3,200 making it possible for Mraz to have significant interaction with the audience, bridging his earlier coffeeshop performances to his later much larger venue concerts.
Touring and Mr. A–Z (2003–2008)
Mraz opened for Tracy Chapman in March 2003 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. In July 2005, Mraz opened for Alanis Morissette during her Jagged Little Pill Acoustic Tour. On July 26, 2005, he released his second major-label album, Mr. A–Z, for Atlantic Records. It entered the Billboard 200 album chart at number 5. In December, the album earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, while its producer, the prolific Steve Lillywhite, received a nomination for Producer of the Year. In 2006 "Life is Wonderful" the first track of the album was featured in the Hilton Journeys Hotel commercial"
Mraz began his long-running tour in support of Mr. A–Z at the San Diego Music Awards on September 12. The tour featured several opening acts, including Bushwalla and Tristan Prettyman, with whom he had co-written the duet "Shy That Way" in 2002. Mraz and Prettyman dated, ending their relationship in 2006. They also co-wrote the song "All I Want For Christmas is Us". In November 2005, Mraz opened for the Rolling Stones on five dates during their 2005–2006 world tour. Also in 2005, Mraz was one of many singers featured in the fall advertisement campaign for The Gap entitled "Favorites". The music-themed campaign also featured other singers including Tristan Prettyman, Michelle Branch, Joss Stone, Keith Urban, Alanis Morissette, Brandon Boyd, and Michelle Williams. In December 2005, Mraz released the first part of his ongoing podcast.
In March 2006, Mraz also performed for the first time at a sold-out performance in Singapore with Noel "Toca" Rivera as part of the annual Mosaic Music Festival. In May 2006, Mraz toured mostly small venues and music festivals in the U.S., along with a few shows in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The tour included a May 6, 2006 acoustic show with P.O.D., Better Than Ezra, Live, and The Presidents of the United States of America. Mraz was featured as a headlining guest of St. Louis's annual Fair St. Louis and performed a free concert at the base of the Arch on July 1, 2006. During this time, Mraz was also the opening act at several dates for Rob Thomas' Something to Be Tour.
In December 2006, Selections for Friends, the live, online-only album recorded during the Songs for Friends Tour, was released. Selections for Friends features Jason's favorite songs from the Schubas Tavern and Villa Montalvo shows he played in July 2006. Jason Mraz began 2007 by debuting his new single "The Beauty in Ugly", an earlier track penned by Mraz entitled "Plain Jane" that he rewrote for the ABC television program Ugly Betty. The song was featured as a part of ABC's "Be Ugly in '07" campaign. He has since released a song in Spanish entitled "La Nueva Belleza (The New Beauty)".
In 2007, American Idol contestant Chris Richardson performed "Geek in the Pink", which subsequently garnered the song mass recognition and increased downloads at the American iTunes Store. "Geek in the Pink" peaked at No. 22 on the U.S. iTunes Store on March 10, 2007, but it was ineligible for the site's Hot 100. The tape-recording of bootlegs during Mraz's shows is explicitly supported by him and his management. In 2007, he also provided background vocals on Mandy Moore's song "Slummin' in Paradise", of her studio album Wild Hope.
We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. (2008–2009)
Mraz released his third studio album, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. on May 13, 2008, following the April 2008 "Music, Magic, Make Peace" Tour with Bushwalla, The Makepeace Brothers, and magician Justin Willman. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, giving Mraz his highest charting album to date. Following the success of its lead single, "I'm Yours", the album broke into the top ten of many international music charts and charted in the top three in Australia and the US.
The first single, "I'm Yours", reached No. 1 on AAA radio charts in the US. The single was a B-side to “Mr. A-Z”, and was made famous by recordings from his live shows. In September 2008, the song became Mraz's first Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #6. As of October 14, 2008, the album has been certified Gold by the RIAA, selling in excess of 500,000 copies in the US. The song was a commercial success worldwide, peaking in the top ten of multiple European charts and topping the charts in New Zealand for six weeks. In 2008, Mraz launched his single "I'm Yours" at the music industry-only event titled Sunset Sessions. Exactly one year later, Jason was nominated for a Grammy on the single.
Mraz and his song "I'm Yours" were nominated for Song of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 2009 51st Grammy Awards. The album We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical in 2009. On January 31, 2009, Mraz was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, performing "I'm Yours" and "Lucky", the latter with Colbie Caillat. "Lucky" peaked on the Hot 100 at 48.
With "Make It Mine" and "Lucky", Mraz won two awards for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals, respectively, at the 2010 52nd Grammy Awards.
On June 20, 2009, Mraz was awarded the Hal David Starlight award from the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.
Love Is a Four Letter Word (2009–present)
In early 2009, a song titled "Try Try Try" was leaked onto the Internet. The song was later released in 2010 by Michael Squire. New songs have been performed in his recent concerts, some of which have been uploaded onto YouTube. Earlier this year, Jason Mraz spent time in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil working with Milton Nascimento. Mraz also recently met and worked with Willie Nelson, whose 'style' is fondly referenced in one of Mraz's early hits "Curbside Prophet."
In November 2009, Mraz posted on his MySpace page plans for a new album to be recorded starting in December, stating "In 2 weeks time I will enter the studio and begin recording the next album. Only a handful of songs are written and slated but the momentum of love is with me. Every day new verses get added on. The songs are coming together piece by piece. The process is unlike any of the other records before this. It's like I'm being gifted the album without having to do the work. I'm creating that in 6 months the project will be complete and then we'll hit the road again with new sounds and new musicians."
In 2010 Mraz spent time in London, where he worked on songs for his new album with producer Martin Terefe and wrote with British singer-songwriter Dido.
Mraz contributed vocals for The Grooveline Horns' eponymous EP on the track "Fun", a cover of the Con Funk Shun song, released March 2, 2010.
In August 2010, Mraz had a Q&A interview with Spin magazine. In the interview, he stated the current possible titles for his fourth album are Peace Canoe or The Love Album.
On September 13, 2010, Mraz was featured on the single "Love, Love, Love" by Hope.
On September 28, 2010, Mraz announced the upcoming release of the new "Life Is Good" EP consisting of recordings from his concerts from Maine to the Life is Good Festival in Canton, Massachusetts which will include live recordings of "Coyotes" and multiple new songs, "San Disco Reggaefornia", "Up", "What Mama Say", and "The Freedom Song". The EP was released on October 5, 2010. On the same tour, Mraz also showcased other new songs, such as "Thinking About You", "Love Looks Like" and "In Your Hands".
From December 26, 2010, the official website was updated with a series of images, the first seemingly a sequence of blocks separated by points to indicate a date, and the second image containing a rectangle, circle, triangle and a square, which appear to spell out the word "love." This image was also trademarked. Popular belief was that the "love" image was the beginning of a marketing campaign for a new record.
Appearing on VH1 Top 20 Countdown on March 5, 2011, Jason Mraz noted that he had 12 songs ready to go for the album but then decided they weren't good enough. In July 2011, his team's Twitter feed (@theRKOP) confirmed that his album will be released in early 2012.
JasonMraz.com relaunched in July 2011 with a new design and a message informing fans that a special announcement was imminent. A few days later, it was announced that Mraz would embark on a mini-global tour in September to November 2011, with occasional full band shows, but mostly as an acoustic duo with long time performing partner and friend, Noel "Toca" Rivera. The special shows marked the ten-year anniversary of the independently released Live at Java Joe's album. Mraz played in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Berlin and Prague, and was due to make a festival appearance in Hossegor, France before the festival was cancelled.
On September 19, 2011, Jason Mraz announced via his Facebook page the release of a new single titled "The World as I See It", which is intended to be the theme of the "In Search of Incredible" campaign, accompanied by the song being embedded via YouTube. On September 20, 2011, the single was released on the iTunes music store.
During the fall/winter tour, many songs old and new were showcased. Towards the end of the tour, Mraz announced that 'I Never Knew You' would not be featuring on the new album, suggesting that the final tracklist has been decided on and that the album is on course for release around February 2012.
On December 8, 2011, Mraz told Jeff Benjamin of Billboard that the "album is finished" except for one track he was attempting to re-work as an acoustic version. He described the album as, "It's not a departure in the sound of the genre in any way, it's just different tones, different textures. Musically, I think people are going to like it. It's personal. It's melodic. And it's mellow. There's a couple of up-tempo tunes, but mostly the rhythm of the heartbeat kind of takes precedence on this record. Medium-tempo tunes; which I love. It feels more like the pace of life. At least, based on my life and what I've been doing."
On January 20, 2012, during a performance streamed live from the Bing Bar at the Sundance Film Festival, Mraz told the audience that the album's title is Love Is a Four Letter Word. Mraz released a new single from the album, called "I Won't Give Up", and the single has peaked at No. 1 on iTunes.[when?]
During January 2012, the Dutch online retailer bol.com accidentally released a tracklisting for the forthcoming album, which has been dismissed as being incorrect. On February 28, 2012, Jason released an EP entitled Love Is A Four Letter Word. The EP was recorded live in San Diego and contains four tracks (one of which had already been released).
The new album was set to be released on May 8, 2012, however on February 14 it was stated that the new album is set to be released in stores and at all digital retailers on April 17, 2012.
Mraz co-wrote Zac Brown Band's 2013 single "Jump Right In".
He is currently working on a fifth album, Yes, with a rock-folk band Raining Jane. Mraz has been posting short videos on his YouTube channel showing him and the girlband making the studio sessions. The release date has not been confirmed yet.
MTV EXIT: Live in Myanmar Featuring Jason Mraz
On December 16, 2012, Jason Mraz became the first international artist to perform publicly in the country of Myanmar (Burma). The concert was organized by MTV EXIT and held in Yangon's People's Square with over 70,000 people in attendance. The concert was part of a multi-media initiative to raise awareness about human trafficking in Myanmar, and also featured several regional and local artists including Slot Machine, R Zarni, Phyu Phyu Kyaw Thein, Chan Chan, Chit Thu Wai, Lynn Lynn, Phyo Gyi and Sai Sai Kham Leng.
Mraz was engaged to singer/songwriter and long-time close friend Tristan Prettyman. On June 7, 2011, Mraz said in an interview with the Daily Beast that he and Prettyman were no longer engaged.
Mraz lives a health-conscious lifestyle and enjoys eating mostly raw vegan foods. He owns an avocado farm in Bonsall in Northern San Diego County. Mraz is an active supporter of several charities including VH1's Save The Music Foundation, MusiCares, Free the Children, Life Rolls On, the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community (SPARC) and the Human Rights Campaign. He was named the 2010 SIMA Humanitarian of the Year. He also received the Clean Water Award in 2010 from the Surfrider Foundation. The same year, he also teamed up with The Nature Conservancy and created a PSA using his song I'm Yours to raise awareness about the non-profit organization's efforts to protect the earth. Jason performed at Farm Aid 2011 on August 13 in Kansas City. He has also advocated LGBT rights.
In 2011, Mraz appeared in the Visit California promotional film aimed at boosting tourism from the UK.
- Waiting for My Rocket to Come (2002)
- Mr. A–Z (2005)
- We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. (2008)
- Love Is a Four Letter Word (2012)
- YES (with Raining Jane) (2014)
|2009||"I'm Yours"||Song of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Male Pop Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|2010||"Make It Mine"||Best Male Pop Vocal Performance||Won|
|"Lucky" (feat. Colbie Caillat)||Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals||Won|
|2012||"I Won't Give Up"||Teen Choice Award for Best Love Song||Nominated|
|2013||Jason Mraz||People's Choice Award for Pop Male Artist||Won|
|2013||Jason Mraz||MTV Europe Music Awards For Best World Stage||Nominated|
- at the Internet Movie Database
- at AllMusic
- at the Internet Archive's live music archive
- – Nightline 07/17/09 – Reggae to rock, Mraz reveals his musical influences.
- – 09/17/2010, 09/18/2010 – Jason Mraz opens for Dave Matthews Band for two sold out shows at Chicago's Wrigley Field.