Mraz performing in March 2011
Jason Thomas Mraz
June 23, 1977
|Education||Lee-Davis High School|
Christina Carano (m. 2015)
Jason Thomas Mraz (; born June 23, 1977) is an American singer-songwriter who first came to prominence in the San Diego coffee shop 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 5 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 3 on the Billboard 200 and was an international commercial success primarily due to the hit "I'm Yours". The song peaked at number 6 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. As of July 2014 Mraz has sold over seven million albums, and over 11.5 million downloaded singles. His musical style, from rhythmic feeling to his use of nylon string guitars, has been heavily influenced by Brazilian music.
Mraz was born and raised in Mechanicsville, Virginia. He is of Czech and Slovak descent through his grandfather, who moved to the United States from Austria-Hungary in 1915. His surname is Czech for "frost" (mráz). His parents, Tom (Tomá?) Mraz and June Tomes, divorced when he was five years old. His father is a postal worker, and his mother is vice president at a branch of Bank of America. Mraz has said he had an idyllic childhood: "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."
While attending Lee-Davis High School, Mraz was a member of the cheerleading squad, school chorus, and drama club. He starred as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and as Snoopy in a play about the Peanuts characters. Mraz graduated in 1995.
After high school, Mraz attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City for about a year and a half, originally to work in musical theater. In New York, a friend gave him a guitar that was about to be thrown away, and Mraz learned to play guitar. Guitar allowed him to play music unaccompanied and write his own music. Mraz moved to the Shockoe Bottom neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia, where he took a series of odd jobs, including elementary-school janitor, and joined the Ashland Stage Company. Mraz then enrolled at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, on a scholarship. Instead of attending classes, he headed west on a road trip that ultimately brought him to San Diego, where he decided to stay.
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.
In late 2001, Mraz signed a recording contract with Elektra Records and moved to Los Angeles. In 2002, he opened for Jewel on her tour. On October 15, 2002, Mraz released 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 10 single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 3, becoming one of the biggest songs of 2003. The song was inspired by a high school friend who was diagnosed with cancer. At the time of the album's release, Mraz said that he did not like "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)" and had not wanted it on the album because it had started as a special and experimental song and the record label had "chalked up this chorus". The day after the album's release, Mraz played on "The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn". On May 19, 2005, Waiting for My Rocket to Come was certified Platinum, for selling 1 million units.
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.
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, "Wordplay", was produced by Kevin Kadish, and 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 where he supported James Blunt  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".[unreliable source?]
On May 13, 2008, Mraz released his third studio album, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. The album debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200. It broke into the top 10 of many international music charts, and reached number 3 in the US and Australia. In March 2009, it was certified Platinum for selling 1 million units. 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 7x multi-Platinum certification from the RIAA for digital sales of over seven 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. By May 2012, it had gained over 125,000,000 hits on YouTube. It was the first song to top the charts in four different radio formats: Mainstream Top 40, Adult Contemporary, Adult Top 40 and Triple A. It also made the Latin Pop and Smooth Jazz charts.
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.[unreliable source?] "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 Hyde Park, London, sold out London's Royal Albert Hall and performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo. 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",[unreliable source?] which peaked on the Hot 100 at number 82.
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, and in October 2013 was certified 4x multi-platinum, for selling in excess of 4 million units. 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. In 2012 he played sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles,Madison Square Garden in New York and the O2 Arena in London, and performed at President Barack Obama and family's lighting of the national Christmas tree at the White House; a noted Obama supporter, he has also performed at numerous other events involving Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Also in 2012, he performed "You Did It" at the presentation ceremony for the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, won that year by Ellen DeGeneres.
Mraz's fifth studio album, Yes!, was released on July 15, 2014. It is his first acoustic album, and was recorded with all-female folk rock band Raining Jane. They had previously co-written "A Beautiful Mess" for Mraz's 2008 album We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. Aside from a cover of the Boyz II Men song "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday", every song on Yes! was written by Mraz and Raining Jane. The lead single, "Love Someone", was released on May 19, 2014, with Mraz performing an acoustic version of the song for Time. On June 20, 2014, he released We Can Take the Long Way, a music video trilogy for the first three songs on Yes! - "Love Someone", "Hello, You Beautiful Thing" and "Long Drive". It premiered on the USA Today website.
On September 27, 2017, it was announced that Mraz would make his Broadway debut in the musical Waitress. He took on the role of Dr. Pomatter on November 3, 2017 for a 10-week run. Sara Bareilles re-joined the cast during his run and he extended his time as Dr. Pomatter playing his final show on February 11, 2018. He had previously sung "Bad Idea" and "You Matter to Me" on Sara Bareilles' 2015 album (based on the show's music) What's Inside: Songs From Waitress.
Prior to and following his involvement in Waitress, Mraz began work on a follow-up album to Yes! In June 2018, he announced that his sixth studio album, Know.--a play on the previous album's title--will be released on August 10, 2018. He referred to the new album as "bright and shiny" and a "classic-sounding pop acoustic, vocally driven record with positive lyrics and love songs."
Inspired by a blessing he received from a Buddhist monk during a trip to Myanmar in 2012, Mraz wrote the song "Have It All" with Raining Jane and producers David Hodges, JKash, and Andrew Wells. The song was released as the lead single to the new album on April 27, 2018, and accompanied by a video filmed with performing arts students from his hometown of Richmond. With the announcement of the album in June 2018, Mraz released a second track off of Know. called "Unlonely". In July 2018, Mraz shared the lyric video for the song "More Than Friends", a duet with Meghan Trainor. On August 7, 2018, he partnered with Fathom Events on the one-night-only release of Jason Mraz - Have It All The Movie, a concert film and behind the scenes footage of the making of the "Have It All" video, in 600 movie theaters throughout North America. On August 10, 2018, his 6th album, Know., was released. In 2019, he was featured on the album The Secret by Alan Parsons as lead vocalist of the song "Miracle".
Mraz lives a health-conscious lifestyle and has said that he eats mostly raw vegan foods. His vegan diet has also influenced his music. He owns a five-and-a-half acre avocado farm in Oceanside, 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.
In June 2018, Mraz penned a "love letter" to the LGBT community, as part of a Billboard feature during Gay pride month. A line in the poem had led some media reports to state that the poem may represent Mraz's coming out as bisexual. In an article published on July 19, 2018 by Billboard, Mraz said he has had previous experiences with men, even while dating Carano. Mraz said Carano defined him as a "two-spirit", a description that was criticized by some as misappropriating a word originally designed solely for the native population, and for distorting the term's meaning. In August 2018, Mraz confirmed in an interview with the New York Post that he now identifies as bisexual.
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, a global 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, making him the first foreign 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.
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|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" (with Colbie Caillat)||Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals||Won|
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2002||Jason Mraz||San Diego Music Awards for Best Acoustic||Won|
|San Diego Music Awards for Artist of the Year||Won|
|2004||Pollstar Concert Industry Awards for Best New Touring Artist||Nominated|
|2009||Teen Choice Award for Choice Music - Male Artist||Won|
|We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.||Teen Choice Award for Choice Album (Male Artist)||Won|
|Jason Mraz||American Music Award for Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist||Nominated|
|Songwriters Hall of Fame Hal David Starlight Award||Won|
|2010||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"||Best Love Song||Nominated|
|2012||MVPA Awards for Best Adult Contemporary Video||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|
|2014||Jason Mraz||San Diego Music Awards for Artist of the Year||Won|
|2014||Jason Mraz - "Love Someone"||San Diego Music Awards for Best Music Video by a San Diego Artist||Won|
|2012||The Big Fix||Himself||Produced/Documentary Film|