Born on June 23, 1977, in Mechanicsville, VA; son of Tom and June Mraz. Addresses: Record company--Elektra Records, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019, website: http://www.elektra.com. Website--Jason Mraz Official Website: http://www.jasonmraz.com.

Jason Mraz has only released two albums, yet he has a large and loyal following of fans who bought almost a million copies of his first record largely on the strength of word-of-mouth marketing. The singer-songwriter combines a smooth voice, meaningful lyrics, and a little hip-hop twist in his singing style. Although he got his start singing in coffeehouses, he has since performed at classical venues and on the PBS network, as well as in popular concert halls.

Mraz, whose name rhymes with "has" and means "frost" in Czechoslovakian, grew up in Mechanicsville, Virginia, the son of Tom Mraz, a local postal worker, and June Mraz. As a child, he heard a great deal of pop music, mostly on the oldies station his father listened to that played 1950s and 1960s soul and Motown. As he grew older he became interested in hip-hop and dance music. When he was in high school he was influenced by singer-songwriter Dave Mathews, and realized he could write songs that told stories, and then sing them. "Through Mathews, I started listening to jazz because suddenly there was a saxophone in my life," he told Fred Shuster in the Los Angeles Daily News. He added, "I really love writing lyrics. I love words and internal rhymes. I think of lyrics as a very rhythmic instrument and to twist a message around in there is fun. That's where I really get the most pleasure."

He starred in school musicals and got his first professional gig when he was 13, playing in a local R&B band called Dressed to Kill. The other members were all in their twenties; Mraz, whose voice had not yet changed, sang all the high parts. He recalled to Marisa Laudadio in People, "My hair was like Jordan Knight from New Kids on the Block, and I wore big shoulder pads in my jacket."

Gained Experience in New York

After graduating from high school, Mraz went to New York City to study musical theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, but his plans changed when someone gave him a guitar. "I dropped out of school and spent my days in Central Park learning to play from whoever was out there," he told Rob Brunner in Entertainment Weekly.

After spending time in New York, Mraz moved to San Diego, where he played in coffeehouses and earned a weekly gig every Thursday night at Java Joe's, the same Ocean Beach coffeehouse that had hosted a young Jewel's early career. After he had sung there for six months, his performances were sold out for the next year and a half. "It got to the point where I was like, "Joe, can I live here?" he told Brunner. He slept in a booth in the back of the store, and spent his free time hanging out at the beach, playing pool, and drinking coffee.

Mraz's demo disc earned airplay on a San Diego radio station, and he was soon being courted by recording companies, signing with Elektra in 2002. The label's vice president of marketing and artist development, Dane Venable, recalled to Fred Shuster in the Los Angeles Daily News that the company held its first showcase for Mraz at the Mercury Lounge in New York City in 2002. "We thought there'd be 50 to 75 company people and that would be it. When we got to the club, the entire front of the stage was filled with college-age fans who knew every single word to every single song." The fans had learned of the performance through e-mail. Venable said this experience taught him how loyal Mraz's fan base was, and how effective word-of-mouth marketing was for him.

Debut Released

Mraz teamed up with Elektra producer John Alagia and released his first album, Waiting for My Rocket to Come, in October of 2003. Mraz backed up the album with relentless touring and an energetic live show. The album soon took off, largely due to his touring efforts and to one track, "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)," which became a top 40 single. He wrote the song after one of his close friends, Charlie Mingroni, was diagnosed with bone cancer. Mingroni told Mraz that he would live through it, and he did go into remission. Mraz later used the money he made from the song to pay the rent on an apartment in Los Angeles that he lent to Mingroni. Another song from that album, "You and I Both," also became a top radio song. By June of 2004, the album had sold almost 800,000 copies.

In the Palm Beach Post Christa Nieminen wrote, "Mraz has a pitch-perfect voice. His voice both soothes and smiles and nicely complements his laid-back guitar playing." In the Florida Times Nick Marino compared him to singer-songwriters John Mayer and Dave Mathews, but noted that "Mraz's twist is his percussive vocal phrasing. When he gets into a groove, his songs traffic between the coffee house rumblings of Ani DiFranco and the white-boy hip-hop of G. Love."

Mraz has continued to tour and promote his work to an exhausting degree. His father, Tom, observed to Rob Brunner of Entertainment Weekly, "He got into this business because he didn't want to have a day job. But now he's working night and day." On a visit to New York City, Mraz chatted with the cast of the show Rent, who were fans of his work. According to Brunner, Mraz asked them, "You guys do the same show every night. How do you re-create that passion?" He listened gratefully to their advice: "Some days it sucks and you just want to cry. But there are so many people who are watching it for the first time. Even though it's old to us, it's new to them. You have to honor that."

"Jason's Doing a Lot of Things Right"

Mraz's folky, easygoing style led him to cross over to unexpected venues and audiences, and in the summer of 2004 he took off on a solo acoustic tour, along with blind guitarist Raul Midon and Hawaiian slack-key guitarist Makana. He was the first pop artist to perform at Disney Hall, a classical music venue in Los Angeles. Shuster commented, "Mraz's tuneful, syncopated delivery and slyly autobiographical songs fit the bill." For the event Mraz performed without his band, using just a singer and his guitar. He told Shuster, "I'll have the freedom to tell stories and talk to the audience. It'll be a complete change of pace."

Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the music industry publication Pollstar, told Shuster, "Jason's doing a lot of things right. He developed organically before radio started playing him so he wasn't rammed down everyone's throats." For his second album Mraz took the bold step of releasing a recording of a live performance. Tonight---Not Again: Jazon Mraz Live at the Eagle Ballroom was recorded at a show in October of 2003 at a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, venue, with guest appearances by Blues Traveler frontman John Popper. The CD came with a DVD showing interviews and backstage action, as well as the concert itself. Mraz told Gary Graff of the Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, "I'm really proud of it. It was probably one of the most nerve-wracking nights on the tour; we tried to make it just like any other normal day, but it wasn't, with the audience all lit up and the cameras coming from all angles. We were all sweating and nervous, but it came out great. It's a great representation of what we did last year and earlier this year."

Mraz is notably modest and low-key, and has not adopted a big-star persona. While on tour, Mraz brings a stuffed animal named Foster along for good luck. Foster, a chicken, was tossed up onto the stage during a concert, and Mraz noticed that he looked almost exactly like "Binky," his childhood security toy. "I honestly believe Foster is a reincarnation of Binky," Mraz told Laudadio. He told Doreen Arriaga in Teen People, "My dad told me it's important to love what you do. I feel like my wish is granted." Of his chance to live a wild, rock-star life, he said he wasn't interested: "My dream is to live in a house by the sea with a cat."

by Kelly Winters

Jason Mraz's Career

Began singing as a young teen in a local band, Dressed to Kill; sang on the street in New York City; earned permanent gig at Java Joe's coffeehouse in San Diego, California; signed with Elektra Records, 2002; released debut album, Waiting for My Rocket to Come, 2003; released Tonight, Not Again---Jason Mraz Live at the Eagles Ballroom, 2004.

Famous Works

Further Reading

Sources

PeriodicalsOnline

Visitor Comments Add a comment…

about 5 years ago

Hello Jason: A couple of months I met you at the Crab Cooker in Newport Beach Ca. Funny story how I got to love you for what you stand for and your music. I had parked my car in front of a swimming suit shop where I saw 2 men sitting on a bench waiting for their wives to come out. One of the gentlemen was holding a cute white dog on a leash. When I walked to the meter one of the men said where are you two going? I responded the Crab Cooker I expected him to say they had eaten their and it was terrific. Instead he tells me when you go in there have them seat you inside the little room, because there's a rock star in there and you have to see his watch. It's huge and completely filled with diamonds. So when I went into the restaurant I asked to sit in the room but, was told it was filled. So after we were seated I got up to peek in the room and I picked you out immediately from just looking at your back side. Also at the table was a young lady and another gentlemen that looked like an agent. So I questioned my waitress on giving me information as to who you were and she said she didn't know. She said you were a friend of another waitress in there. So when you were leaving she had you stop at my table to say hi! I was caught off guard because anytime I meet a Celebrity I always get their autograph on a $100 Bill and stick it in my safe deposit box. But that day my hundred was in my glove box since I knew it wasn't my day to pay as my friend and I alternate. You would of been in good company with Carl and Carol Lewis's signature on a 100 I got at a track meet. Also got Ann Meyers sports commentator wife of the late Don Drysdale Baseball star's signature coming out of Nordstrom with their 2 Son's who were around 8 or 10 at the time. When I asked for her autograph she said wait till I get home and tell Don someone wanted my autograph and not his. Shortly after that they found him Dead in his hotel room. Such an unexpected loss for the entire family and baseball world. I told my friend that I had to see what you were driving since I'm into cars. I could see the street from where I was sitting as you got into the drivers seat of your white Cadillac Escalade and drive off. Then on saturday morning at my house I was listening to the top 20 music count down and there you were number 7. Lucky 7. I recognized you immediately but hadn't heard you sing, didn't know what kind of music you sang. So I listened and you had me hooked from that moment on. Now each Saturday I wait for the countdown, I look to see where your touring, and I look to see if you'll be interviewed on any show like you were this week on Access Hollywood. Needless to say that first Saturday I heard you on the count down I ran out to my local Best Buy store to purchase every CD you ever made. Bought them with a $75.00 gift card I had gotten from my friend last Xmas. I still hadn't used any of it. I was waiting for that special reason, and your that reason. I believe in timing is everything. By the way I just read your Bio and I see your father was postal worker and so am I still (28yrs and 14 military) = 42 years this August 2012 . That's our Connection music, postal and good food. Keep the CD's coming. Your so great at it. And just think you could be working the night shift as a mail processor or days as a carrier. You have a god gifted talent Keep up the great music. Kathleen

about 5 years ago

Jason has inspired me to love the life I live and enjoy every second of it. To forgive and forget my faults and those of other people. I feel that without him and his music I wouldn't being living such a full life. Thank you Mr A-Z for what you do is so much more than song writing its inspiration.

about 5 years ago

hi everybody!I'm from Slovakia,Europe.I just want to say that Jason Mraz is a great singer and I guess he can be a very honest, pure man.I wish all the best for him.

about 5 years ago

Jason is a very inspirational singer. My best friend got me hooked on him. At first I thought his music was kind of wierd. But we started hanging out more and he listens to his music a lot! Then she told me "he sings I'm yours, but personally of all o his songs it's my least favorite" then I got Ito his music, and I agree with her. Right now I'm obsessed with him, and Love For a Child is my favorite. You should all look up the meaning behind it. His childhood was horrible, but now look at him!!!! Amazing.

over 5 years ago

Hi, Jason, I like your style and way of singing. though I am in my mid age but I can connect with your songs especially the way your interpretation with the old songs. You are blessed. Keep up the good work and God bless you.

almost 6 years ago

i love u all thank you thank you luke benward is awesome

about 6 years ago

Love the way you sound like paul McCarthy, beatles in there somehow. you're music is awesome. We love you.

about 6 years ago

JASON JASON JASON, WE ARE FROM SAN DIEGO IN OUR 50's AND YOU MADE US GET UP AND DANCE LIKE THERE WAS NO TOMORROW! WE ARE CURRENTY LIVING IN HEMET, CA AND WE JUST WATCHED YOUR CHICAGO CONCERT IN 2009 ON PALLADIA. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE BEAUTIFUL MUSIC!!!

over 6 years ago

My dream is to also live in a house by the sea with a cat, hmmm!

over 6 years ago

I love you Mr. A to the Z!!!!!!!!!!!! Your style is refreshingly smooth. I first heard your song Mr. A to the Z on a "muziak" CD at work and instantly fell in love with the lyrical content as well as your delivery. I told my husband whose a hardcore " hip-hop-o-logist" about you and with the song " I'm Yours" he was hooked....line and sinker... I am curious to know where you get all of that caribean soul. I mean,where did that caribean influence come from? Much love, from one artist to another. Keep making music that calms the soul and soothes the spirit....

over 6 years ago

Jason Mraz is one of the best singers in the world...He had that voice that could melt everyone else..His voice is clear inspite of the tongue twisting lyrics and its quality is superb.In short he is an angel from heaven sent here on earth with his guitar and bring good music for mankind!

almost 7 years ago

Your songs and lyrics just make me feel happy. I see a lot of Paul MacCartney in you...even in your face and mannerisms. Hmmm, who was your father really? Sorry just kidding! But man, you got talent. Thanks for doing music and lyrics that I can listen to all day...

about 7 years ago

Just want to say, Glad to see someone make it so big from my hometown! Keep up the good work! Love your music! I lived in Hawaii for several years. The friends I keep in touch with Love ya! I'm in a small town in WI for the past 5 years. On my way back to da East Coast! OBX here I come! I still have family in Mechanicsville, VA... So what sub-division were you raised? Me, Walnut Grove/Aspen Hills off Cold Harbor Rd. It's crazy how built up da Ville has become! I remember the 2 lane road (360) and nothing but tobacco fields! I wish you the best of all!

about 7 years ago

When I'm in the worst mood ever, and nothing anyone does cheers me up, I just slip on my headphones and play 'The Dinamo of Volition' a couple times and feel instantly better. Btw, saw him live, and AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING.

about 7 years ago

I have loved jason mraz since i was 10, so kyle whatever you are saying stop. This man is one of the sole reasons i am still alive. he is an inspiration to me. And i love him. Now i am 17, and i honestly don't think i'll ever stop.

about 7 years ago

Truly, the best thing about your music, Mr. Mraz, is that it can soothe, amuse, and enlighten, all at once. Collage-bound, it is nice to have someone to go to when angst lurks and report cards oscillate. My thanks for who you are and what you can do. Cheers!

about 7 years ago

Czechoslovakian, eh? Too bad all my ancestors Celts...not to fret, we shall compensate. Je t'aime, mon amour, et souvanis toutjour--"Tha thu na's sona na an righ"

about 7 years ago

Love, you compose the soundtrack for absolute Zen. The best part of all this is the bit about being in school musicals...I can relate. Shine on, you crazy, lovely diamond.

about 7 years ago

i have a quetion 4 all mraz haters out there: do u think that it is smart 2 lisen 2 some thing tat u dont like and complain about it? ill anser that 4 u NO. so if u want 2 compain go coplain 2 ur fu**ing mom!

about 7 years ago

I totaly agree with natalia from france if u dont like dont lisen so fu all who dont like jason mraz but still lisen 2 him music and complain u r all stupid azz mraz haters! :-)

about 7 years ago

I want to see Mraz and Mayer in concert together i think that would be incrdeibly epic.

about 7 years ago

when u listen to his music you will picture the beach! just close your eyes.... anyways kyle, if you hate jason why are you on this cite? same with you ed Baron!

over 7 years ago

Kyle is sutpid and doesnt know what he is talking about i love jason his music can touch anybodys heart if they just sit down and listen to it...but what makes me wonder is if Kyle thinks Jason sucks why is he on this site!

over 7 years ago

I wonder what kind of talent Kyle has in order for him to be so judgemental!!

over 7 years ago

Jason is wonderfull .. Thank you 4 coming to the Java Jazz .. Ur voice just .. Great ! And i'm not agreed with Kyle ..!! Whoever u are, u can't talk about HIM like that .! Benar2 gak setujuuu !! _Lia from Indonesia_

over 7 years ago

Saw JM at the State Fairground in Indiana - I think that says alot. Mraz is a "everyman" who does what he loves and does is very well. I love Dave Matthews and John Mayer - I sometimes think that he is such a great mix of them (and others - plus more...)that it makes all of his music twice as good to me. I love listening to singer-songwriters, I love to be told a story. I love that at his concert he had brass - WONDERFUL! We are all entitled to our own opinions there - Kyle - but you are just plain wrong.

over 7 years ago

Jason's music is horrible and he is not talented what so ever! I don't know what these people are sayin how he so good when he's not at all

over 7 years ago

Jason, my man, you have talent! I'm a baby boomer and I love (and play bass/guitar) jazz, latin, and the reggae rhythm but YOUR voice reminds me of a young Paul Simon! I picked up on your 1960's influences in "I'm Yours". I really dig the music/lyrics. I can see why Disney loved you man. You crossed two generations with "I'm Yours". We need a "feel good" song in this trying time we live and you nailed it! Keep going higher in your music career!!

over 7 years ago

I heard Jason sing on FarmAid and he really caught my attention I love his message music and his mix of Marley and Latino songs, he was so enjoyable that I had to look him up on the net. Great job for what appears to be a wonderful young man. Best blessings to him and his future.

almost 8 years ago

I feel so privaleged to have met and sang with Jason Mraz. I had not heard of him prior but trust me I also am a true fan. Jason Mraz is wonderful but as a person he left me speechless. He has a spirit that is uplifting and genuine and given another opportunity I would sing with him again. Hopefully soon. Jason you are the best!!!

almost 8 years ago

i love his musicand his voice in mr curiosity gives me goose bumps all the time he needs to come to the uk on tour i would sell my left nut to go see him live lol

almost 8 years ago

:D funny... this biographer has developed a new language: Czechoslovakian :D well... 1. it's either Czech or Slovak (not Czechoslovakian) and 2. there is no Czechoslovakia anymore... These two countries were separated more than 16 years ago! Mraz is very good, have to say :)

almost 8 years ago

Saw Mra-z for the first time last night at the CMAC in New York, took my son as a surprise. Had only heard some CD tracks before. WOW !!! One of the best concerts I have ever attended, and I saw the Beatles in Toronto as a kid. A real crowd pleaser, passionate about his work, fresh presentation, terrific range,his band is talented, accompanying bands were great. Oh, my 14 year old son enjoyed the concert too. He is up there with Van, gotta see him on Tour. I will again.

almost 8 years ago

I first heard him on Ameriacn Idol 2009. I love listening to his music and voice they are captivating. If you truely open a coffee shop and sing at it. Let me know. I would love to just drink coffee all day and listen.

almost 8 years ago

I discover him last year (in september) since i can't spend one day without listenning his music. I don't play guitare or sing but when i listen to him i'de like to do so. Went to his concert june 30th it was awesome !!! I felt like the sun will be in my heart forever... love u Jason !!!

almost 8 years ago

I love Jason Mraz so much! He is my FAv artist ever!

almost 8 years ago

I just cannot sit at the computer without his I'M Yours being played and my hearing aids attached to my head. I just love to hear his sons on and on. Do not get tired at all. It helps me to do my work well also.

almost 8 years ago

he's so cute and he really has that wonderful voice that i really love to hear... My gosh! i am so amazed to him..

about 8 years ago

jason mraz has a awsome voice and is also one of my second favorite my frist would have to be jonas brothers what can i say there HOT i love jason mraz song song i'm yours it is a bomb song

about 8 years ago

Jason Mraz is different from anyother he has his originality and his voice and music style is so unique I never get tired of listening to his music. I love him I bought every album of his. Jason Mraz has inspired me in so many ways he has inspired me to pick up my guitar again and think more about life itself. He is totally different from the music I used to listen to. And he has opened up a new variety of music to me Relaxing and peaceful, romantic, and fun, can't help but sing along. I lived California near Santa Monica and his songs definately remind me of the great days surfing and going to the pier. He is funny and extremely talented I'm so glad I lived in the same life time as him to be able to live in the same lifetime and be inspired from him. Jason Mraz I love You. Michiko P.S. message me :D calirocz@hotmail.com peace and love. :D

about 8 years ago

Dave Matthews is one of my favorites as well... sencond to Jason Mraz... I'm just starting the guitar at 15 and I sing as well... one day, I'll be as big as my idols

about 8 years ago

I Love Jason Mraz!!!!!! i wish to see you, music was awesome!hopefully you will be having concert here dubai UAE! :)

about 8 years ago

jason mraz is awsome i love his songs and he will inspire anyone that wants to be a singer

about 8 years ago

Jason Mraz's music has defintely made my life more beautiful. His lyrics are beautiful, but they also make you think. and he has the voice of an angel. Good thing we're getting married. Ha, just kidding. (:

about 8 years ago

i Really Love Mraz And His Music. i Really, Really, REALLY Hope To Meet Him One Day. i <3 You Jason Mraz!(:™

about 8 years ago

i really love jason mraz and we both haved the same birthday, wow! hope to meet him again here in the philippines. i want his concert so much ..tee.cee jason mraz iloveyou!

over 8 years ago

i love jason mraz and his music especially his hit single im yours i think he is an incredible artist and an amazing singer! :)

over 8 years ago

Jason Mraz went to Lee-Davis High School in Mechanicsville, VA. there he met and dated a girl name Kris. Kris now teaches World History II at Godwin High School in Richmond,VA. I had her last year.

over 8 years ago

his first cd was released in 2002, not 2003.

over 8 years ago

he is referring to his heritage when he say Czechoslovakian

over 8 years ago

There is no Czechoslovakian language.... just Czech or Slovak. In both of them mraz means frost.