With an interest in both music and drama, budding singer/songwriter Jason Mraz initially intended to follow a career in musical theatre and after graduating from his local high school he enrolled at New York's American Musical and Dramatic Academy but dropped out after eighteen months and returned home. Inspired to travel to music rich California he based himself in San Diego where he met Michael Andrews (who would later achieve global success with his interpretation of the Tears For Fears song 'Mad World' for the film 'Donnie Darko'.) Mraz became a roadie for Andrews' band Elgin Park and also started playing gigs and open mic nights in the city's fertile coffee house music scene where he recorded 2001's independently released Live At Java Joe's. Following the release of a second live album; Sold Out (In Stereo) he inked a record deal with Elektra Records and started work on his studio debut proper Waiting For My Rocket To Come. It featured friends including Michael Andrews, longtime band member Noel 'Toca' Rivera, Agents Of Good Roots rhythm section Stewart Myers and Brian Jones (bass and drums respectively, plus seasoned Dave Matthews Band and John Mayer producer John Alagia and former Geggy Tah singer (and future successful songwriter, session musician and producer) Greg Kurstin. Released in October 2002 the album received a huge boost when its first single 'The Remedy (I Won't Worry)' (co-written by Mraz with the songwriting/production team The Matrix) reached No 15 in the US charts. Capitalising on the record's success he toured constantly during 2003, supporting Tracy Chapman at London's Royal Albert Hall while the following year saw the release of his third live album Tonight, Not Again: Jason Mraz Live At The Eagles Ballroom recorded in Milwaukee.
With veteran producer Steve Lillywhite at the helm, his 2005 second studio album Mr. A-Z earned a Grammy nomination and reached No 5 in the US charts, although the singles 'Wordplay', 'Did You Get My Message' and 'Geek In The Park' all failed to chart. Three years later and preceded by three four track acoustic EP's Mraz released his breakthrough album, the multi-platinum We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things which shot into the Top 3 in the USA and the Top 10 in the UK. The record also saw the wonderfully syncopated pop/reggae acoustic track 'I'm Yours' becoming a huge international hit and being awarded ASCAP's Song Of The Year. Even though the subsequent 'Make It Mine' and 'Lucky' failed to make an impact on the charts, the former won a 2010 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance while the latter, a duet with Colbie Caillat won Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. A keen Polaroid photographer for some time, Mraz's 2008 world tour allowed him the opportunity to use the material he had shot to publish the book A Thousand Things which featured some of the simple 'life as it happens snaps' he had collected.
Prior to the release of his next studio album he embarked on several other projects; a duet with Willie Nelson on 'The Way Is Love' and yet another live recording Jason Mraz's Beautiful Mess: Live On Earth. April 2012 found Love Is A Four Letter Word hitting the shops and quickly confirmed as his highest charting release with a peak position of No 2 on both sides of the Atlantic. The record also yielded the multi-platinum single 'I Won't Give Up', an acoustic yet powerful song of positivity, which hit the higher, reaches of charts around the World and sold more than two million copies in the USA alone.
A hugely prolific artist Jason Mraz has issued five studio albums (his fifth Yes! which features the female group Raining Jane was released in July 2014), five live albums to date and numerous EP's. Similarly he has a busy touring schedule in place and has supported numerous artists including the Rolling Stones, Alanis Morissette, Eric Clapton and Rob Thomas. A committed advocate of social and environmental issues Mraz has been an outspoken critic of political inaction both in his homeland and in the global village, and has lent his name and time on behalf of causes including combating climate change, slavery and human trafficking. In 2010 he founded the Jason Mraz Foundation, an organisation with a mission to 'invoke and inspire change in the human experience' and 'seeks to meet it's mission through advancing equality, promoting the arts, empowering through education and preserving the environment'. A gifted singer and musician Mraz is an ebullient and natural live performer whose early experiences playing in coffee houses and small venues helped him hone his stagecraft. While his records have benefited from contemporary production courtesy of experienced producers including John Alagia, Steve Lillywhite, Martin Terefe, Joe Chiccarelli and Rick Nowels, Mraz remains at heart an old school singer/songwriter and acoustic guitarist whose clever lyrical wordplay is at the core of his songs. Despite some critics labelling his writing as naive and simplistic there's no doubt that the directness of his personal songs connect with a large and appreciative audience.
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