Interview with Jason Mraz
To make a play on words, to be exact, the title of Jason Mraz's brand new album Waiting For My Rocket To Come, it appears as if the rocket is already here. Jason is fast becoming one of the most popular singer/songwriters in the United States, gaining legions of fans along the way as he brings his acoustic shows to town after town. Anybody who has seen Jason play live will tell you that his songs are filled with a warmth and sincerity that makes you feel like a lifelong friend, and a wicked humor that is sure to break the ice with even the most hardened of people. Oh, did we mention that Jason has opened for the likes of Bob Dylan and Jewel? Yeah, he's that good! Jason's legend is sure to grow based on the power of his new album, and he is going to be hitting the road starting in January 2003 to promote the album and to entertain a whole new crop of fans. Jason was kind enough to take a few moments out of tour preparations to talk about his album, life on the road, Jewel's Soul City Cafe, and his thoughts on a fistfight between Bob Dylan and Sir Mix A Lot. Trust me, just read on!
[Billy Donald] Jason, thank you very much for taking the time for this interview! You have really hit a big stride lately, and everybody is talking about You. Let's talk a little bit about your new album, Waiting For My Rocket To Come. How long did it take you to record, and how do you feel about the results?
Jason Mraz We made that album in three two-week periods. First mapping out which songs we wanted to record, then laying down drums and bass. Then we moved into tracking instruments and vocals. Finally we went back and adjusted vocals and I filled in any words that had yet to be written and off it went to mastering. It was a very building block, non-stop effort. Quite a thrill knowing nothing of the process before I got there. I had no idea how much the songs would grow though. I told everyone to just go with it. I don't dictate in the studio nor with my band on the road how to play. I encourage the players to simply feel what they feel and relay that on tape. The outcome is usually more joyous, I've discovered, when I listen back to the album. Behind the words of an excited and vulnerable little boy, I hear the smiles of the summer turning knobs and twisting dials. The outcome was brighter than I could have ever imagined.
[Billy Donald] A lot of people agree that coming out to see you perform live is in fact a very entertaining experiece, in many ways. For those who haven't seen you live, can you take us through a brief description of what they are in store for?
Jason Mraz First thing, they are in for entertainment. Our shows are packed with laughter and light-hearted song to lift the listener from their everyday they might be used to. We encourage the audience to participate in any way, Be it singing along, dancing, or just thinking to themselves some new creative thoughts, hopefully to inspire so that when they leave, they feel refreshed and enlightened. My goal is to show everyone that they too can do what they love to do.
[Billy Donald] You have a wide range of musical influences, everybody from Bob Dylan, to Sir Mix-a-Lot! So, hypothetically, if Bob Dylan and Sir Mix-A-Lot got into a fistfight, who would you help out?
Jason Mraz In the words of Michael Jackson: I'm a lover, not a fighter. I don't see myself lifting a finger to assist either of those silly boys caught in a tiff. I would, however, pay top dollar to see the bout. It would make for a great song, that's for sure.
[Billy Donald] OK, getting back on track here! I wanted to ask you about your involvement in Jewel's program, Soul City Cafe. She started this program with the hopes of giving great songwriters and musicians like yourself the right exposure, and a venue to get your music out there a bit. How has Soul City Cafe helped you, and how do you think it will continue to help others?
Jason Mraz At the shows, I would tell the audience how Jewel and the SCC put us on the map. Literally. She handed us the map and said, "Here you go. I'll see you in New England." I've met a number of good folks at other shows who came because they read about us on the SCC website. I think anyone who uses the web is smart and will profit. It's so easy to use proved by millions. Jewel's site especially because she shares her fame with others like me. I know other acts will get the same reaction as I have.
[Billy Donald] What do you think is the easiest kind of song to write?
Jason Mraz The easiest songs to write are pure fiction. There is no limit to how you can tell the story. I find it difficult when I'm replaying an event or sending a secret message to someone through a song. I want it to be felt by many, not just the specific subject. I think that's a real challenge.
[Billy Donald] Jason, I want to thank you a lot for this fun little chat here! I want to let everybody here know that your new album is available now, and you are hitting the road in January. Anything else you would like to say to our readers to wrap up here?
Jason Mraz Just that I thank them for taking interest in my life project. I'm continuously humbled by the experience and look forward to a great deal more. I hope more and more come to discover the fun we've been having on the road and behind the music as well. Big love to everyone.
A very special thanks to David Zeisler of Bill Silva Management for his help to coordinate this interview! Visit Jason Mraz’s website at www.jasonmraz.com/.
Reprinted with permission from Billy Donald’s Rock Interviews