Jason Mraz feels positive about Yes! acoustic album and tour
“Everything in life boils down to people saying “yes,” reads an excerpt from a news release about Jason Mraz’ new album simply titled, Yes!. The singer-songwriter-guitarist says he believes the word inspires creativity and allows creativity to occur. “’Yes’ is love. ‘Yes’ is what gave us life. We’re all here because two people said ‘yes,’ explains the San Diego artist, who exploded onto the music scene in 2008 with the smash hit ‘I’m Yours.’ Mraz also believes saying “yes” has given him a “life beyond his wildest dreams,” including work as a photographer, filmmaker, and social activist. It’s therefore not surprising the platinum-selling Grammy winner would choose the three-letter affirmation as the title of his fifth album for Atlantic Records—and first-ever acoustic project.
Mraz wrote and recorded Yes! with L.A.-based folk-rock quartet Raining Jane. He first met cellist Mai Bloomfield, guitarist Chaska Potter, percussionist Mona Tavakoli, and bassist Becky Gebhardt in 2006 when the group shared a festival bill with him. “I loved what they did,” recalls Mraz. “I loved their musicianship. I loved their showmanship. Afterwards, I asked them if they would consider recording a demo with me. Their influence has been a part of my work for a long time.”
When Mraz wrapped up a 2012 tour behind his fourth album, Love Is A Four Letter Word, he and the ‘Janes’ got together for an annual writing retreat at the singer’s home. The productive sessions reconvened in 2013 and Mraz went to Atlantic suggesting he record an acoustic-based album with “these four amazing women” as a side project. “Everyone loved it,” he reveals. “We got a green light within 24 hours, but then they said, ‘This is not a side project, this is your next album. It’s that good.’” Mraz and Raining Jane then went to work finalizing Yes! to ensure the album met the artist’s song choice and recording standards.
The 37-year-old Mraz claims he’s always wanted to make an acoustic album, explaining it’s taken him years to develop the right songs, musicians, and arrangements. He enlisted the help of Omaha-based producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley), and spent two weeks with Mogis and Raining Jane recording the bulk of the album in Omaha. Mraz put the finishing touches on the project at his home studio in San Diego. Mixed by Mogis and tracked live, Yes! “glows with Raining Jane’s radiant, lush harmonies backing Mraz’ pure, crystal-cut tenor voice” on songs titled ‘Hello, You Beautiful Thing,’ ‘Long Drive,’ ‘3 Things,’ and ‘Love Someone,’ which is currently No. 45 on the Mediabase Hot AC radio airplay chart. Mraz describes the new single as fitting in “the same family” with his signature hits ‘I’m Yours’ and ‘I Won’t Give Up.’
Mraz adds the songs are about healing. “They’re about love. They’re about faith. They're about our role in the environment,” he says. “They're about acceptance, compassion, and letting go. They’re new tellings on things I’ve written about for a long time.” Jason Mraz is preparing to launch a world tour in support of Yes! with Raining Jane. He also made a conscious decision to play smaller, more intimate venues instead of large amphitheatres and arenas. The tour begins with three nights, Aug. 21-23, at the Civic Theatre in Mraz’ adopted home of San Diego. Other major U.S. city concerts conclude with the Five Boroughs Tour Sept. 18-23 in New York City.
Watch Jason Mraz in a live studio performance of ‘Love Someone,’ a new single release off the singer-songwriter’s latest album, Yes!.
As A Matter of Fact…
* Jason Thomas Mraz was born June 23, 1977, in Mechanicsville, Virginia. He briefly attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York before returning to Mechanicsville and working a series of odd jobs. He enrolled at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., but soon after headed for San Diego to begin his career in music.
* Mraz got his start performing in San Diego coffeehouses. His songs’ positive messages and soulful, folk-pop sound quickly attracted audiences, and in 2002 he signed a recording contract with Elektra Records. His major label debut, Waiting for My Rocket to Comealbum, peaked at No. 55 on the Billboard 200 and featured the Top 20 single ‘The Remedy (I Won't Worry).’
* The breakthrough success that came with 2008’s We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. made Mraz an international star led by the single ‘I’m Yours.’ The song peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent a record-breaking 76 weeks on the chart. ‘I’m Yours’ topped the charts in 11 countries, crossed over to six different charts (topping four), featured an accompanying music video that generated more than 125 million views online, and received Grammy nominations as Song of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. ASCAP named ‘I'm Yours’ the 2010 Song of the Year.
* Jason Mraz has earned platinum or multi-platinum certifications in more than 20 countries for his various releases, selling 48 million singles, while winning the prestigious Hal David Songwriter Hall of Fame Award. He’s performed at indoor and outdoor venues around the world, and sold out iconic locales such as The Hollywood Bowl, Madison Square Garden, and London’s O2 Arena.
* The European leg of the Jason Mraz tour in support of Air!begins Sept. 26 at Royal Albert Hall in London. He makes two more stops in the U.K. before performing in France, Netherlands, and Germany. Mraz returns to North America Oct. 7 for three shows in Canada, followed by concerts in more than a dozen more U.S. cities. He wraps up the year Nov. 11-14 in Japan.
* In 2011, the Jason Mraz Foundation was established by the artist through strategic partnerships and grassroots fundraising efforts in support of various organizations that work to “invoke & inspire change in the human experience.” The foundation’s mission is dedicated to “advancing equality, promoting the arts, empowering through education and preserving the environment.”