Jason Mraz in March 2011
|Birth name||Jason Thomas Mraz|
June 23, 1977 |
Mechanicsville, Virginia, U.S.
|Genres||Pop rock, pop, blue-eyed soul, alternative rock, reggae, acoustic|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano, mandolin, mandola, banjo, ukulele|
|Associated acts||Tristan Prettyman, Bushwalla, Jack Johnson, Colbie Caillat, Christina Perri, Raining Jane|
Jason Thomas Mraz (//; born June 23, 1977) is an American singer-songwriter who first came to prominence on the San Diego coffee house scene in 2000. In 2002, he released his debut studio album, Waiting for My Rocket to Come, which contained the hit single "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)". With the release of his second album, Mr. A-Z, in 2005, 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. It debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and was an international commercial success, thanks in large part to the hit "I'm Yours". The song peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100, giving him his first top ten single, and spent a then-record 76 weeks on the Hot 100. His fourth album, Love Is a Four Letter Word, peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200, his highest-charting album to date.
Mraz has won two Grammy Awards and received two additional nominations, and has also won two Teen Choice Awards, a People's Choice Award and the Hal David Songwriters Hall of Fame Award. He has earned platinum and multi-platinum certifications in over 20 countries, and has toured in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and parts of Africa.
Mraz is a social activist and philanthropist, focused on the environment, human rights, education and LGBT rights. He established the Jason Mraz Foundation in 2011 to assist charities in support of these causes.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Music career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Social activism and philanthropy
- 5 Discography
- 6 Awards
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 Filmography
- 9 Television appearances (selected)
- 10 References
- 11 External links
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 maintains 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." After graduating from Lee-Davis High School, where he was a member of the cheerleading squad, Mraz attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York for about a year and a half, before returning to Mechanicsville and taking on a series of odd jobs. He then enrolled at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, but instead of attending classes, headed west on a road trip that ultimately brought him to San Diego, where he decided to stay.
Coffee house beginnings (2000-01)
Soon after moving to San Diego in 1999, Mraz became a roadie for the band Elgin Park. He met future band member Toca Rivera at the coffee house Java Joe's in the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego, where he performed once a week for nearly three years, building a following in San Diego and online. In 2001, Mraz released the live acoustic album Live at Java Joe's, performing with percussionist Rivera and bassist Ian Sheridan. The album featured Mraz's freelancing vocal style and several songs he would later re-release, 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 (2002–04)
In 2002, Mraz signed a recording contract with Elektra Records. That year saw the release of his first major label debut album, Waiting for My Rocket to Come, which peaked at number 55 on the Billboard 200. The lead single, "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)", was co-written by music production team The Matrix, and became Mraz's first top 20 single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 15. The song was inspired by a high school friend who was diagnosed with cancer.
Mraz opened for Tracy Chapman in 2003 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. In 2004, while on tour, Mraz released a live album with an accompanying DVD, Tonight, Not Again: Jason Mraz Live at the Eagles Ballroom. He performed with his touring band, including drummer Adam King, Rivera, Sheridan and keyboardist Eric Hinojosa, along with a guest appearance from Blues Traveler frontman John Popper.
Mr. A–Z (2005–08)
On July 26, 2005, Mraz released his second major label album, Mr. A–Z, produced by Steve Lillywhite for Atlantic Records. The album's lead single was "Wordplay", which entered the Billboard 200 at number 5. The album earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, while Lillywhite received a nomination for Producer of the Year.
Mraz began a long-running tour in support of Mr. A–Z at the San Diego Music Awards on September 12, 2005. The tour featured several opening acts, including Bushwalla and Tristan Prettyman, with whom he had written the duet "Shy That Way" in 2002. Mraz opened for Alanis Morissette during her 2005 Jagged Little Pill Acoustic tour, and for the Rolling Stones on five dates during their 2005–06 world tour. In March 2006, he performed in Singapore as part of the annual Mosaic Music Festival. That May, he 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 Gateway 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 2005, Mraz was one of many singers featured in the fall advertisement campaign for The Gap entitled "Favorites", singing a cover of Bob Marley's "One Love". 2006 saw the release of Selections for Friends, the live, online-only album recorded during the Songs for Friends Tour. In 2007, "The Beauty in Ugly", an earlier track penned by Mraz originally titled "Plain Jane", was rewritten for the ABC television show Ugly Betty. The song was featured as a part of ABC's "Be Ugly in '07" campaign. Also that year, on American Idol, contestant Chris Richardson performed a cover of Mraz's "Geek in the Pink".
We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. (2008–09)
On May 13, 2008, Mraz released his third studio album, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, giving Mraz his highest charting album to date. It broke into the top 10 of many international music charts, and reached number 3 in the US and Australia. Mraz has said that the album title was taken from the work of Scottish artist David Shrigley. Prior to its release, Mraz released three EPs, each with acoustic versions of songs from the album.
The lead single, "I'm Yours", was written in August 2004 and originally released as a free acoustic B-side when Mr. A-Z came out. Through Mraz's live performances of the song, it gained in popularity with fans. When he played it at a festival in Sweden in 2007, the fans were ecstatic and singing along, after which Mraz realized the song's popularity and decided to make it the centerpiece of his next album. "I'm Yours" became Mraz's first Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #6 on September 20, 2008. It ultimately spent 76 weeks on the Hot 100, longer than any other song in the magazine's 51-year history (a record since broken by Imagine Dragons with "Radioactive" in 2014). It was a major commercial success in the US, receiving a 5x multi-Platinum certification from the RIAA for digital sales of over five million. The song was also successful internationally, topping the charts in New Zealand, Norway, Portugal and Sweden, and peaking in the top ten on the charts in 11 other countries. As of May 2012, it has gained over 125,000,000 hits on YouTube.
Mraz won his first two Grammy Awards in 2010, for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance ("Make It Mine") and Best Pop Collaboration ("Lucky" with Colbie Caillat). At the 2009 Grammy Awards, "I'm Yours" was nominated for Song of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, and We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. was nominated for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. "I'm Yours" was also named ASCAP's 2010 Song of the Year.
Mraz’s 2008 world tour took him all over the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia. His personal photo travelogue from the world tour was published as a book, titled A Thousand Things (2008). The book contains Polaroids from his time touring and backpacking around Europe, and was launched with a photo exhibition at Charles Cowles Gallery in New York City at the end of 2008. Also in 2008, Mraz played with Eric Clapton to a crowd of 45,000 in London's Hyde Park, and sold out London's Royal Albert Hall. That year also marked his Music, Magic & Make Peace Tour with Bushwalla, The Makepeace Brothers, and magician Justin Willman. Mraz brought along the magician after picking up magic as a hobby during recording sessions for We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. On January 31, 2009, Mraz was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, performing "I'm Yours" and "Lucky", which peaked on the Hot 100 at number 82.
Love Is a Four Letter Word (2010–13)
In 2009, while preparing for his new album, Mraz recorded "The Way Is Love", an unreleased Roy Orbison song, as a duet with Willie Nelson. In November 2009, he released the live CD/DVD Jason Mraz's Beautiful Mess: Live on Earth, recorded in Chicago during the Gratitude Café tour. The following year, he went to Brazil to record "Simplesmente Todo" with Milton Nascimento, who sings in Portuguese while Mraz sings in English. He also did some writing with Dido, and recorded new material with producer Martin Terefe. Mraz then released two live EPs: the Life Is Good EP on October 5, 2010, and the Live Is A Four Letter Word EP on February 28, 2012.
Love Is a Four Letter Word was released on April 13, 2012. It reached number 2 on the Billboard 200, and the top 20 in 10 other countries. The lead single, "I Won't Give Up", debuted at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number 1 on the Digital Songs chart. It charted in 15 countries in total. Mraz premiered the track live during his 2011 tour, before an official version had been released. It began to receive a lot of attention through live performances, as well as online. The official lyric video gained over 2.5 million views in its first 10 days on YouTube.
Love Is a Four Letter Word was nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. Mraz won a 2013 People's Choice Award for Favorite Male Artist. He performed at Farm Aid 2011 in Kansas City, and at President Barack Obama and family's lighting of the national Christmas tree at the White House in 2012.
Mraz is currently working on a fifth studio album, with pop-rock all-girl band Raining Jane, tentatively titled Yes!, to be released on July 15, 2014. The 14-track album is said to have a more acoustic, intimate sound. The lead single, "Love Someone", was released on May 19, 2014, with Mraz performing an acoustic version of the song for Time.
Mraz lives a health-conscious lifestyle and has said that he eats mostly raw vegan foods. He owns a five-and-a-half acre avocado farm in Bonsall, California. He is an investor at Café Gratitude, a vegan restaurant in Los Angeles, and named his 2011 tour Gratitude Café in its honor. His hobbies include surfing, yoga and photography.
Social activism and philanthropy
Mraz is a social activist whose philanthropic efforts span wide-ranging issues, including the environment, human rights and LGBT equality. In 2009, he participated in a rescue mission to Ghana with members of Free the Slaves, an international nonprofit working to liberate children sold into slavery. In 2012, he was featured as the first-ever straight man on the cover of Instinct magazine in recognition of his efforts in support of LGBT rights.
The Jason Mraz Foundation was established in 2011, with a mission to support charities in the areas of human equality, environment preservation and education. Organizations supported by the foundation include VH1's Save The Music Foundation, MusiCares, Surfrider Foundation, Free the Children, Life Rolls On, the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the True Colors Fund, which promotes LGBT equality.
Mraz was named the 2010 Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) Humanitarian of the Year. He also received the Clean Water Award in 2010 from the Surfrider Foundation, for helping to preserve the world's oceans and beaches. That same year, he teamed up with The Nature Conservancy and created a PSA using his song "I'm Yours" to raise awareness about the nonprofit organization's efforts to protect the earth.
On December 16, 2012, Mraz headlined the Milestone Concert in Myanmar to raise awareness about human trafficking, the first international artist to play an open-air concert in Myanmar. The concert was organized by MTV EXIT and held in the People's Square in Yangon, with over 70,000 people in attendance, as part of an initiative to raise awareness about human trafficking in Myanmar. Also in 2012, Mraz spent a week in Antarctica with a group of environmentalists, scientists and researchers on a mission led by Al Gore, to learn about the effects of climate change.
- 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! (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|
|2009||Jason Mraz||Teen Choice Award for Best Male Artist||Won|
|2009||We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.||Teen Choice Award for Best Album (Male Artist)||Won|
|2009||Jason Mraz||American Music Award for Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist||Nominated|
|2009||Jason Mraz||Songwriters Hall of Fame Hal David Starlight Award||Won|
|2010||Jason Mraz||People's Choice Award for Favorite Male Artist||Nominated|
|2010||"I'm Yours"||ASCAP Song of the Year||Won|
|2010||Jason Mraz||Surf Industry Manufacturers Association Humanitarian of the Year||Won|
|2010||Jason Mraz||Surfrider Foundation Clean Water Award||Won|
|2012||"I Won't Give Up"||Teen Choice Award for Best Love Song||Nominated|
|2012||Jason Mraz||ASCAP Foundation Champion Award||Won|
|2013||Jason Mraz||People's Choice Award for Pop Male Artist||Won|
|2013||Jason Mraz||MTV Europe Music Award For Best World Stage||Nominated|
- A Thousand Things (2008, I Love Books)
Mraz served as an associate producer and contributed original music to the 2012 documentary The Big Fix, directed by Josh and Rebecca Tickell. The film examines the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
Television appearances (selected)
- American Music Awards (2003)
- Late Night with Conan O'Brien (2003)
- The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (2003, 2005, 2008)
- New Year's Rockin' Eve (2004)
- The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012)
- Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2004, 2005, 2009, 2012)
- Late Show with David Letterman (2008, 2009, 2012)
- Nobel Peace Prize Concert (2008)
- Rachael Ray (2008)
- American Idol (2009)
- Saturday Night Live (2009)
- The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien (2009)
- Grammy Awards (2009, 2010)
- Family Guy (2010)
- The Jay Leno Show (2010)
- Sesame Street (2010)
- Chelsea Lately (2012)
- Conan (2012)
- Dancing With the Stars (2012)
- The Fresh Beat Band (2012)
- Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2012)
- Opening Act (2012)
- Today (2012)
- VH1 Storytellers (2012)
- Watch What Happens: Live (2012)
- See inogolo:pronunciation of Jason Mraz.
- Keith Bellows, "Traveling Troubadour," National Geographic Traveler, March 2011.
- Blair, Tom (November 2008). "Dialogue: Jason Mraz". San Diego Magazine. Retrieved February 6, 2009.
- Thrills, Adrian (December 25, 2008). "With fans like the Rolling Stones, singer Jason Mraz won't remain a virtual unknown in the UK for long". Daily Mail. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
- Joan Tupponce, “Jason Mraz,” Richmond Magazine, March 24, 2010.
- “’NOW 19’ Still No. 1 On Album Chart,” Billboard. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
- Jason Mraz: Chart History, The Hot 100, Billboard. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
- Paul Woloszyn, “Interview – Jason Mraz,” musicOMH, August 3, 2005.
- Ansell Regalado, “Tonight’s A Treat For Mraz’s Fans,” Sun-Sentinel, December 24, 2004.
- “Mraz Nails Down New Album, Alanis Dates,” Billboard. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
- Keith Caulfield, “Jason Mraz Vs. Lionel Richie For No. 1 Album Next Week,” Billboard, April 19, 2012.
- "Fast Facts: 48th Annual Grammy Nominees". Fox News. December 8, 2005. Retrieved July 1, 2007.
- Jacobs, Jay S (2005). "Tristan Prettyman Rides the Crest". Retrieved July 1, 2007.
- "GAP Favorites Alanis Morissete, Jos Stone, Destiny's Child sing Michelle Williams and Keith Urban". July 31, 2005.
- Kari Livingston, “The Case for American Idol’s Dark Horse, Chris Richardson,” Yahoo! Voices, April 12, 2007.
- "Charts–''We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.''". Acharts.us. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
- “An EP Extravaganza,” Billboard. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
- Silvio Pietroluongo, “Black Eyed Peas, Jason Mraz Streak To Hot 100 Records,” Billboard, August 19, 2009.
- “Jason Mraz: A Breakup Record, Served With A Smile,” NPR, May 6, 2012.
- Daniel Kreps, “Black Eyed Peas, Jason Mraz Make Hot 100 History,” Rolling Stone, August 19, 2009.
- Gary Trust, “Imagine Dragons’ ‘Radioactive’ Breaks Record for Longest Hot 100 Run,” Billboard, February 19, 2014.
- "Charts – "I'm Yours"". Acharts.us. 2008-08-12. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
- “Jason Mraz: ‘It took me 20 minutes to write record-breaking track I’m Yours’,” Metro, May 10, 2012.
- “Grammy Awards: List of Winners,” New York Times, January 31, 2010.
- “Grammy Awards: List of Winners,” New York Times, February 8, 2009.
- Saul Relative, “Jason Mraz, Colbie Caillat and Steve Martin on SNL,” Yahoo! Voices, February 2, 2009.
- “ASCAP Foundation Honors Jason Mraz with Champion Award,” ASCAP, December 10, 2012.
- “Exclusive Interview: Magic Influences Jason Mraz’s Music,” MTV Buzzworthy, May 13, 2008.
- "Jason Mraz to get Hal David Starlight Award". Songhall.org. 2009-04-14. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
- Graff, Gary (September 14, 2009). "Jason Mraz May Turn 'Tons of Material' Into Two New Albums". Billboard. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
- Jason Mraz Chart History, Billboard 200, Billboard. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
- Jason Mraz – Love Is A Four Letter Word, acharts.us. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
- Gary Trust, “Jason Mraz’s ‘I Won’t Give Up’ Storms Hot 100’s Top 10,” Billboard, January 11, 2012.
- Jason Mraz – I Won’t Give Up, acharts.us. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
- Marc Schneider, “People’s Choice 2013: Katy Perry and One Direction Feel the Love,” Billboard, January 10, 2013.
- “Farm Aid Adds More Artists to Acclaimed 2011 Concert Lineup,” farmaid.org, July 7, 2011.
- Matt Compton, “Watch the Lighting of the National Christmas Tree,” whitehouse.gov, December 6, 2012.
- Lily Rothman, “Jason Mraz Announces New Album, With An Exclusive Acoustic Performance,” Time, May 19, 2014.
- Jason Lipshutz, “Jason Mraz Shouts ‘Yes!’ on July Album: Hear The First Single,” Billboard, May 19, 2014.
- “Jason Mraz Splits With Fiancee Tristan Prettyman,” US Weekly, June 8, 2011.
- "Jason Mraz (2)". Vegetarianstar.com. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
- Tracey Pepper, “One-On-One With Jason Mraz,” Vegetarian Times. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
- Deborah Schoeneman, “Power Lunch With a Side of Homilies,” New York Times, July 20, 2011.
- Jeff Katz, “Cover Guy: Jason Mraz,” Instinct, April 2012.
- “Jason Mraz Establishes Jason Mraz Foundation,” Artist Direct, December 5, 2011.
- Celebrity Ambassadors, VH1 Save the Music Foundation. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
- "SPARC alum Jason Mraz performs benefit concert as grand finale of SPARC's 30th Anniversary". sparconline.org. 2012-12-08. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
- “Jason Mraz Named 2010 SIMA Humanitarian Of The Year,” Vegetarian Star, August 18, 2010.
- “Clean Water Awards Announced!” sandiego.surfrider.org. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
- “Jason Mraz PSA for The Nature Conservancy,” The Nature Conservancy. Retrieved Mary 25, 2014.
- “Jason Mraz Tapped for Milestone Concert in Myanmar,” Rolling Stone, November 16, 2012.
- "70,000 Fans Attend MTV EXIT Live in Myanmar Featuring Jason Mraz".
- Jason Mraz, “Global Warming Is No Longer a Future Problem, It’s a Now Event,” Huffington Post, April 28, 2012.
- Daniel Miller, “GoDigital Acquires Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Doc ‘The Big Fix’,” The Hollywood Reporter, May 1, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jason Mraz.|
- Official website
- Jason Mraz at the Internet Movie Database
- Jason Mraz at AllMusic
- Jason Mraz collection at the Internet Archive's live music archive
- Playlist: Jason Mraz – Nightline 07/17/09 – Reggae to rock, Mraz reveals his musical influences.