Mraz returns with cosmic sounds, new friends

( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-03-30 07:45:10

Mraz returns with cosmic sounds, new friends

Jason Mraz will visit Chengdu and Shanghai as part of his world tour. Photo provided to China Daily

Jason Mraz is returning to China with a show he promises will be "very cosmic".

The American singer-songwriter will perform in Chengdu and Shanghai as part of his world tour, An Acoustic Evening with Jason Mraz and Raining Jane, supporting his latest album, Yes.

He says audiences can expect "a lot of conversation, fun, laughter, harmony and all of our favorite songs".

"Thank you guys for bringing us great energy and gratitude. We can see how happy you are," says Mraz, 37, recalling his debut performances in China as part of his A Four Letter Word tour in 2012.

"This time, we will be bringing the new album to life as well as taking that song landscape and applying it to old songs from my previous records," he says.

His fifth album, Yes, was released last July. It is Mraz's first acoustic album and was created in cooperation with Los Angeles-based rock-folk band Raining Jane. Mraz started touring with Raining Jane as soon as the album was released and he says that the band has added rich dimension to his shows.

"They've been a band for 15 years. They self-manage, they control all their media, they're artists. The beauty of their vocals and what they're doing can't be replicated," he says of Raining Jane, which is composed of vocalist-guitarist-cellist Mai Bloomfield, vocalist-guitarist Chaska Potter, drummer-vocalist Mona Tavakoli and bassist-vocalist Becky Gebhardt. "They have a super specific sound so some of my older songs can now run through the filter of that unique sound."

The Grammy award winner first met Raining Jane about eight years ago and they wrote the song A Beautiful Mess together for Mraz's 2008 album We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. After that initial collaboration the friends would get together to write music for fun.

Mraz says the music they were making in 2014 was so good that he demanded it be the next Jason Mraz record.

"Most of the album was written before we knew we were writing an album, so it's really organic," the singer-songwriter says. "It doesn't matter who starts on what instrument or who's singing. I pitched the idea of releasing the album as a side project but people who heard it agreed that it was strong enough to be its own album. And that's how it came to be."

Mraz says his studio sits in the middle of avocado trees and gardens and he and the band like to sit in a circle and create music.

"Being out in nature inspires me as a writer, which is why songs like Back to the Earth will end up on the album," he says.

Ever since Mraz made the "coffee house scene" in San Diego around 15 years ago, he has been captivating audiences with his soulful, folk-pop and positive, joyful messages.

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