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Jason Mraz: The IndieLondon interview

Jason Mraz

Interview by Rob Carnevale

JASON Mraz is a hugely successful American singer-songwriter with and multiple and varied stylistic influences, including pop, rock, folk, jazz, country, and hip hop.

He returns to the UK with the release of his third album We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things on June 9 (through Atlantic Records) and the popular single I’m Yours on June 2 (physical). In this exclusive interview, he talks (or emails!) about the new album, the value of the internet, touring with the Rolling Stones and life beyond work…

Q. It’s great to have you back with We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things. How did you come up with the album’s name?
Jason Mraz: I stole it!

Q. What were the inspirations behind this third album, thematically and instrumentally?
Jason Mraz: It’s a born again hippy album and the message is to live simply.

Q. The single, I’m Yours, is delightfully upbeat and a real anthem for being in love, as well as the newfound positivity that comes with the arrival of summer. What inspired it?
Jason Mraz: Probably the fact that I live in San Diego and it has an endless summer!

Q. The song has become a YouTube phenomenon with over 300 user-generated videos from over 25 different countries. How does that make you feel?
Jason Mraz: It makes me feel warm inside like a soufflé ;)

Q. The internet – good or bad as a tool for musicians? You seem particularly keen to utilise YouTube having documented the creation of the new album on Crazy Man’s Ju-Ju…
Jason Mraz: The internet is awesome and responsible for my success.

Q. What do you think of bands such as Coldplay releasing singles for free online and Radiohead offering free downloads of their new album? Is that something you’d be minded to investigate at some point?
Jason Mraz: It’s something that I already do its just not as publicised and it is the future of music.

Q.Coming back to the album, you also have some interesting collaborations. What appealed to you about working with James Morrison and what did he bring to Details In The Fabric?
Jason Mraz: James Morrison has soul in his spoken word.

Q. Likewise, Colbie Caillat – what appealed and what do you think of the resulting collaboration on Lucky?
Jason Mraz: Her role on this track was like a tropical bird.

Q. Did the success of Mr A-Z (with its Grammy nods and Billboard chart success) add any pressure when it came to creating your third album?
Jason Mraz: It didn’t add any pressure and it taught me to remove myself from the songs, which ultimately makes the songs bigger and better.

Q. You toured extensively following its release, including opening for the Rolling Stones. How was that experience? How were the Stones? And have you seen Shine A Light?
Jason Mraz: It was great to work with The Rolling Stones as its fun to watch a band of old guys make it big in today’s youthful music scene. But no I haven’t seen Shine A Light.

Q. Your touring again – what do you like about being on the road? Do you prefer it to the studio?
Jason Mraz: Going home, but the studio and road both have their charms. The studio allows me to be a mad scientist and the tour lets me feel like James Bond ;)

Q. What do you like about coming to England and, in particular, London?
Jason Mraz: The sunshine, the turquoise water and the parasailing ;)

Q. What are your favourite live moments?
Jason Mraz: I once shared the microphone with Jewel and our tongues were very close. I also once sang My Girl with Smokey Robinson.

Q. Which bands/singers excite you at the moment? Is it a good time for new music?
Jason Mraz: Bush Walla is an unsigned genius. It’s always a good time for new music and as long as the new music isn’t shite.

Q. How do you like to spend your time when not recording music or touring?
Jason Mraz: I like to go surfing and cinematic adventures.

Q. Finally, what are your plans for the remainder of the year?
Jason Mraz: Coming to a city near you!

And yes, you can catch Jason at the following UK venues…

June 2008
30 – Cambrudge Junction

July 2008
1 – Manchester Ritz
2 – Glasgow ABC
5 – Warwick Art Centre
7 – London Shepherd’s Bush Empire
8 – Brighton Corn Exchange

Tickets are priced at £15, except London where they are £17.50. Read our review of the album