After being diagnosed with a rare form of terminal cancer at 14, Zach Sobiech turned to music to help him say goodbye to his family. In turn, he touched the hearts of millions, including many celebrities who came together to make a music video for his song “Clouds.” It features Jason Mraz, Rachel Bilson, Rainn Wilson Ed Helms and countless other famous faces. Posted on SoulPancake’s YouTube page, the video shows Zach in his final days with his family and his incredible resilience and bravery during his battle with osteosarcoma. Zach lost his battle with cancer on May 20 at just 17 years of age but his message will surely leave a lasting impression on everyone he touched through his music.
“You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living” is the message Zach opens with and is one everyone should remember.
“Sweet Life” — Frank Ocean
A few days ago, Frank Ocean posted an extremely vulnerable story on his blog about his first time falling in love with a man — an unprecedented step for a newcomer, or really any musician, in the hip hop industry. Since then, there has been a flurry of tweets, statuses, blog posts, and the like, regarding the R&B crooner’s unexpected move. However, Ocean has already moved on, releasing a new track from his upcoming, highly anticipated album Channel Orange, called “Sweet Life.” Produced by Pharell, the retro inspired track lays a jazzy keyboard over a whimsical bassline to complement Ocean’s smooth harmonies. Channel Orange drops on July 17th.
“Cherry Wine” — Nas and Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse fans will be happy to know they can hear a brand new track featuring the songstress who suddenly passed away last year. “Cherry Wine,” off rapper Nas’ upcoming album Life is Good, was recorded in 2008 when Nas and Winehouse were working on a different track, “Like Smoke.” The song stayed hidden for four years and Nas himself wasn’t keen on releasing the record. Thank goodness he decided to go ahead with it, because it really is a gem. The oldschool beat, Winehouse’s laidback vocals, and Nas’ on-par rhymes are beautiful together. The only complaint I have about the record is that Winehouse will never be able to perform it live. A bittersweet release, but a great first posthumous jam for Winehouse. Catch Cherry Wine on Nas’ Life is Good, released on July 17.
“Distance” — Christina Perri ft. Jason Mraz Read more…
The Muppets are back! Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang are ruling the Thanksgiving box-office this weekend and the world is officially in a nostalgic frenzy.
Before Jason Segel revamped the series, the adorable characters were famous in their own right. Their television program (1976-1981) featured a variety of celebrity cameos, from Alice Cooper to 007′s Roger Moore, in the final episode. It’s the family friendly programming that transcended generations. The franchise includes a seemingly endless stream of beloved films such as “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” “Muppet Treasure Island,” “Muppets From Space” and “The Great Muppet Caper.” If this is all breaking news to you, then I highly recommend you check them out – or at least add it to your wish list this year.
Since legendary puppeteer Jim Henson created the Muppets in 1974, there has been an incredible assortment of Muppets appearances, performances and moments. Aside from the hilarious parody trailers and Saturday Night Live appearance recently, it felt appropriate to take a moment to reflect on the classics. We pulled together our favourite ten, let us know yours!
Bohemian Rhapsody (2009)In 2009, the gang released their rendition of Queen’s famous song. This viral video introduced this generation to “Bohemian” just like Mike Myers did with Wayne’s World.
Kermit Cycling (1979)
“Jolson sang, Barrymore spoke, Garbo laughed, and now Kermit the Frog rides a bicycle,” began Roger Ebert’s original 1979 review of “The Muppet Movie”. “If you can figure out how they were able to show Kermit pedaling across the screen, then you are less a romantic than I am: I prefer to believe he did it himself.” Muppet magic.
Larry King Live (1994)
Kermit and Gonzo guest-hosted the show with featured guests including supermodel Carol Alt and Hulk Hogan. Surprising that neither replaced King when he retired last year, but there’s still the hope for Regis-replacement.
(Day O) Banana Boat Song (1978)
Before Lil Wayne and Jason Derulo ruined the song, Harry Belafonte and Fozzie Bear’s collaboration was pure brilliance. Fozzie even asks the question that we all want to know, “What is a “Tally Man”?”
Keep Fishin’ (2002)
Weezer resurrected the Muppets from temporary obscurity for their music video off their fourth album, “Maladroit”.
Bennie And The Jets (1977)
Elton John became a reoccuring character in the late 70s, performing many of his songs including “Crocodile Rock” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. But it is the banter between Elton and Kermit during “Bennie” that defines his involvement. You could also see where Cee-Lo took a few notes.
Alice Cooper (1978)
As Gonzo declares him “the voice of doom,” this episode also guest starred horror film-icon Vincent Price and revolved around the theme of “ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night.”
Buddy Rich VS. Animal (1981)
Two of the greatest drummers of all time face-off in this classic skit from the Muppet Show. Who won? You be the judge.
‘Treasure Island’ Roll Call (1996)
Directed by his son, Brian, this post-Jim Henson film is not the same – but it has it’s moments, like this one. Kermit’s Captain Abraham Smollet is introduced to his crew of “cutthroats, villains and scoundrels.”
The Rainbow Connection
Perhaps the greatest Muppets moment of all-time, the opening banjo strum is guaranteed to cause a lump in the throat. Covered by many, including Willie Nelson, Sarah McLachlan and Jason Mraz – enjoy!
Singer/songwriter Jason Mraz has called off his engagement to fiancee Tristan Prettyman, reports Canoe Jam.
Mraz proposed to Prettyman just last December, but the couple has now split due to Mraz’s heavy workload.
The couple was waiting to walk down the aisle until gay marriage is legalized in the U.S., but now Mraz confirms that the engagement is off.
Telling The Daily Beast, Mraz says, “My greatest mistake right now is, I’ve been clinging to my art. In that, I have victory for my art and a great loss for my heart. At the moment, my beautiful fiancee is no longer my beautiful fiancee.”
“Two halves don’t make a whole. Two wholes make a whole. In my relationship, I was giving myself away to make the relationship better, but in actuality, wasn’t doing better by doing that. I became less of a man.”
He insists the two are still friends, though, and hang out together all the time.
“We are still super friends, we go to yoga together, we surf together. We acknowledge the journey that each of us is on. We certainly want each of us to feel whole and complete. And it’s when you’re whole and complete that that attraction exists and it really thrives.”
Mraz makes plenty of women swoon over his lyrics and music, so I’m sure he will find someone in no time. Maybe he should take a break and reconnect with his old flame.
“We both feel that in our engagement, we have a union that’s really special and can’t be broken. It’s a sacred bond,” Mraz told Us Weekly. “The wedding would be nice for our family, our friends, our community — our moms especially — and so it puts us in the fight.”
They refuse to get married until marriage is legal for everyone.
“We can’t get married until [gay] marriage is legal and equal,” the ‘I’m Yours’ singer continued. “I think giving people the right to marry will be a huge movement in civil rights.”
Could this be an excuse for Mraz to delay the marriage? Or is this a genuine stance for human rights?
Mraz took to Twitter to announce the news, saying “SHE SAID YES. For once, I am speechless.”
Tristan, a singer/songwriter, was even more enthused. “Holy Crap! Man of my dreams!!!” she Tweeted back. “For the rest of my life!!!”
We expect to see some very musical offspring from the happy couple.
Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones used the Grammys to recruit more stars to their project of remaking “We are the World,” reports E! News. Bono and Lady Gaga are the latest to sign on. They will join Usher, Jason Mraz, Akon, Jennifer Hudson, Carlos Santana, Enrique Iglesias and Toni Braxton at the recording Monday in Los Angeles. There may be up to 100 singers.
Colbie Caillat deserves a ton of respect as a musician. The fact that she was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album at this year’s Grammys must mean something. And she is a very nice girl as well. But man oh man she is beautiful! Like wow! Even the camera man got a little shaky (just look at the snapshot). Enough said – check out the interview.
If any of you reading this are high school boys who are considered “nerds”, andPOP has some good news for you. It turns out that Jason Mraz in high school was a music nerd, but guess what, now he is a sex symbol. This was confirmed by many people, including Jenn and her friend. We spoke to Jason about his sex symbol reputation, charity, and what its like to be Jason Mraz. This was our third interview with Mraz and he never disappoints as being a friendly and interesting dude.
Having just hosted a Jazz and Comedy festival only a few weeks ago, Montreal was once again the pearl of Canada this past weekend with the undeniable success of the Osheaga Music and Arts festival- a two day event filled with performances beginning at 1:00pm all the way until 11:00pm.
As Saturday would feature notable acts such as Jason Mraz, The Roots, K’naan, The Stills, Girltalk and above all, the grandmaster Coldplay, andPOP decided to venture down to La Belle Province for day no. 1.
But something funny happened by the end of our trip. Not only did we go from being pale skinned to maple brown sunburned, but we also went from being a concert reviewer to a behind-the-scenes explorer.
With four different stages and acts scheduled at similar time slots, we had to pick and choose which musical path our day would lead towards.
This is our story.
2:30 pm- I begin my journey in Hell’s Kitchen. Beautiful sunny day in Montreal, but sweltering 30 degree Celsius heat. For some reason though, the crowd seems to want to stand through it for acoustic rock performer Donavon Frankenreiter at the Mountain Stage. The musician and also pro surfer gathers a trickling crowd with an immediate groovy set- reminiscent of longtime pal Jack Johnson.
Part of that next batch of sunshine tune-fellows like Johnson, Ben Harper, Matt Costa and G. Love, Frankenreiter ignites the festival’s spirit with his variety of catchy soothing numbers- most notably It Don’t Matter, which leads fans into a massive chant. A laid-back Frankenreiter even lets a lucky fan help him belt out the chorus, sending the crowd into rave cheers.
5. Summer Lovin’ – Grease
Call me nostalgic, but admit that this upbeat shoe-tapper from the epic movie is irreplaceable. I’ve yet to meet a person that doesn’t know the chorus from this song, let along the funky dance actions to accompany the lyrics. This throw-back is guaranteed to get some hips twisting and some put you in the mood to throw on those tight leather pants that used to fit so perfectly.
4. Summer Breeze – Jason Mraz
This representation of Mraz’s remarkable voice is better than Xanax on a particularly tough day. It’s laid back lyrics and acoustic guitar combine to weave a relaxing melody that anyone can enjoy. When it’s time to lay out in the sun with accompanying music, “Summer Breeze” is a quintessential fit.
3. Don’t Trust Me – 3OH!3
Okay, I’ll admit that this seems completely irrelevant to the whole summer thing. Yet, the first time I heard this catchy alternative tune, I happened to be driving down a teeming street in the throes of road rage. As song as I heard “Don’t Trust Me” come on the radio, all anger dissipated, the window rolled down, and the head started bobbing to maximum volume. What better way to introduce summer?
His album “We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things” was a smash hit this year and his single “I’m Yours” became the anthem of Summer 08. andPOP sat down for a follow up interview with Jason where many women would love to go……..his tour bus. Jason spoke to Jordan about his success in 2008, life on the road, and Colbie Caillat.
Jason Mraz has unveiled details of his upcoming North American tour, including three Canadian stops.
The singer-songwriter will kick off the 36-date jaunt on Oct. 8 in Scranton, PA, playing in more than 30 cities across the U.S. and Canada before wrapping up Dec. 5 in Miami, FL.
Among the scheduled stops are Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, as well as a hometown show in San Diego on Halloween and two shows — one an electric set, the other acoustic — in Richmond, VA in late November.
Irish singer Lisa Hannigan, best known for her collaborations with Damien Rice, will be the supporting act for most of the dates.
Mraz is touring in support of his third studio album, “We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.,” which debuted at No. 3 on the SoundScan/Billboard 200 album chart in May.
He is currently playing in Japan and will follow up with several shows in South Korea and Singapore.
Here are Mraz’s upcoming Canadian dates:
- Oct. 13 – Montreal @ Metropolis
- Oct. 15 – Toronto @ Massey Hall
- Nov. 8 – Vancouver @ Centre for Arts
Jason Mraz. Remember that name? Think back. Think hard. No, not John Mayer. Mraz. It’s been a while since anyone has really heard from the singer-songwriter, unless you were listening to his breakout hit “The Remedy” for the umpteenth time on the local adult contemporary station.
But after spending some time away from the spotlight, Mraz is gearing up to get back into the music scene with new songs and a new record. The hiatus, Mraz tells andPOP, has helped shape the album into something he hopes listeners will find quite different from what they might expect from him.
“The last album was very introverted, very personal songs: songs about Jason Mraz or songs from the Jason Mraz perspective,” he says. “Over the last few months, and throughout my travels in the last year, I realized that writing specifically only about my life experiences is limiting, considering there’s so many great stories to be told out there in the world.”
Moving away from writing simply love songs, Mraz plans to address social issues – environmental ones, especially – on his upcoming album, tentatively set for release in the fall.
Already, he’s sung about issues of self-esteem and self-image in a track he contributed to the “Be Ugly” campaign, recently launched by the ABC hit sitcom “Ugly Betty.” “Beauty In The Ugly” is a revamp of an old song that Mraz used to play live but was never formally released. The upbeat anthem tells ordinary girls to “own your name and stand up tall.”
Mraz says he was inspired to write the song after seeing so many girls at concerts and knowing so many women who “leave a trail of beauty magazines everywhere we go” – magazines that promote only one standardized version of what is considered beautiful.
It’s something Mraz himself isn’t immune to either.
“Image becomes a pressure on an artist and it certainly has for me,” he admits. “I just want to write songs and tell these stories and I just want to sing… but you have to make appearances and do videos. It’s so weird.”
Getting some time off away from all of that, he says, has not only given him new ideas and new feelings to work with musically; he’s also had the chance to have some time to rediscover who he is.
Mraz hasn’t taken such a long break since he first burst on the scene in 2002 with his debut album “Waiting For My Rocket To Come.” Since then, it had been constant touring and the release of another album, 2005’s “Mr. A-Z,” a critical bomb that saw only mild commercial success.
“I realized I really haven’t just settled down for six years. What does that feel like? Who am I now? What do I do? When I go to the grocery store, what things do I like to buy,” he asks, “cause I’ve been living off of catering and tour bus food and restaurants for so long?”
Now, Mraz is enjoying cooking his own food and laying low at his home in San Diego, where he has built his own personal studio. When he’s not working on the new album (which he’s “super proud of” so far), he’ll break out a book and do some reading or head to the beach with his surfboard. Once in a while, he’ll take his guitar out to a local coffee shop for an impromptu performance to test some of his new songs on fresh ears. No lights, no cameras, not even any bootleg tapers, whom Mraz has always made a point of welcoming at his shows.
It’s a useful and almost therapeutic process, which he likens to test-driving a car for kinks. “You’re like ‘alright, maybe I should go home and make some improvements on it so I can make it work a little smoother around the turns.’ That’s what I do,” he explains.
Perhaps reflecting the organic roots of its conception, the new record will be mostly acoustic: “keeping the sound raw, letting just the voice in the song be heard, trying to do as little electric instruments as possible,” Mraz describes.
Playing acoustic was how Mraz started out and it was important to him to go back to that approach after producing two big pop rock records. It’s why over the course of the last year, Mraz has made an effort to return to some of his old haunts (such as Schuba’s in Chicago and New York City’s Irving Plaza during a four-city “Songs for Friends” Tour last July) to play exclusive acoustic sets. A few select performances made it onto a live acoustic record, released in December and sold exclusively through jasonmraz.com.
So, he says, “it looks like I’ve been out of the music scene but actually I’ve been more involved in my music scene than ever.”
It’s easy to overlook Jason Mraz. The singer-songwriter, originally from the quiet town of Mechanicsville, Va., is remarkably soft-spoken, and his small, skinny frame is usually decked out in everyday, lounging-at-home type of clothes. Most people probably wouldn’t even notice Mraz walking down the street, even though he’s sold close to a million copies of his major-label debut, Waiting for My Rocket To Come.
And then there?s the genre Mraz is labelled under. He broke out in the mainstream market three years ago with his hit single, ?The Remedy,? which came right on the heels of another breakout hit, by that other singer-songwriter (coincidentally with the same initials), called ?No Such Thing.? That would be John Mayer, of course, but he and Mraz are just two of the dozens of acoustic guitar-playing solo singer-songwriters who have recently taken over radio airwaves, some of whom are barely distinguishable from each other.
But none of this seems to bother Mraz. ?I think we?re doing just fine,? he tells andPOP during a recent tour stop in Toronto in support of his new album, Mr. A-Z. ?I can just tell by the amount of people that show up at our shows, and the amount of love that we get. It?s proof that somebody?s listening.?
People are listening alright ? and some very devoted people at that. Fans have been waiting in line to see Mraz at the Kool Haus that night since 6 a.m. in the morning. It?s a reflection of how well Mr. A-Z (which sold a career-best 81,000 copies in its first week) has been doing. Mraz spent about a year working on the record, playing around with various approaches to the songs he wrote while on the road, and his hard work is paying off.
?The first album took us five weeks to record the whole thing,? he says. ?We just did one version of each song and that was that. But this album, we did multiple versions of each song, so by the time we released it, I was more confident with the versions that we were putting out.?
Mraz has had a non-stop schedule since Rocket came out and says that at first, it was hard to find time for his creative side. ?I didn?t write for a year, because I was having to get used to doing the interviews, going to radio stations, traveling, and putting on shows every night,? he says. But once he did grow into the frenetic pace of life on the road, he found that his rise to fame gave him more to sing about. ?I learned how to just pace myself and take more time to meditate and practice gratitude and appreciation,? Mraz explains. ?I feel like [that] enables me to write a variety of things, and experience a broader spectrum of emotions and things to write about.?
He describes the making of Mr. A-Z as a multi-phase process that was really a group effort between himself, his band, and renowned producer Steve Lillywhite, whose past credits include albums by U2 and Dave Matthews Band. The guts of the album were recorded in upstate New York before the music was brought back cross-country to San Diego, Calif., where Mraz now lives, for the final touches.
Not long after, ?Wordplay,? the defiant first single off the album blazed onto the Billboard singles chart. On the song, Mraz sings about avoiding the ?sophomore slump? and dealing with pressure from his record label, something he?s now very familiar with.
?As much as we?d like to think we?re just making a record for us, it?s still being funded by Atlantic Records and there are certain compromises that you have to make,? he says.
But Mraz is quick to point out he wasn?t forced into anything he didn?t believe in, despite the feeling of bitterness some may pick up from listening to ?Wordplay.?
?Atlantic knows I don?t hate them,? Mraz says. ?It?s just me making fun of the business so that I can come to terms with it. I?m still the same person; I just have to jump through different hoops to make albums to get around.?
Diehard fans of Mraz will know he?s always come off as a laidback kind of guy and he isn?t above making fun songs like ?Wordplay? to poke fun at the industry ? and even at himself. His vivacious personality is most evident in the journal entries and quirky videos he posts on his web site, jasonmraz.com. He has created a series of witty videos titled “Invisible Microphone News,” where he poses as a reporter digging up the dirt on his fellow band mates, Lillywhite, and even his gold record for Rocket.
Mraz is looking forward to filming more of the segments while he continues to tour North America this fall, followed by a United Kingdom tour beginning in February. ?There?ll definitely be more,? he promises. ?It?s trying to figure out how we?re going to make time throughout each day so that I can keep doing my own projects, such as ‘Invisible Mircophone News’.? IMN addicts will be happy to know Mraz already has one in the works featuring his new guitar player, Marion Aqualina.
In terms of music, Mraz reveals that he hopes to make an acoustic album, but says it will depend on where his song-writing takes him in the coming year. ?Already there?s quite a few songs that are funky. So who knows ? maybe it?s a double album. Maybe it?s acoustic on one side, and rock on the other,? he contemplates.
No matter what he decides, there is no doubt fans will be ready and waiting. When Mraz takes the Kool Haus stage a few hours later, the energy level in the venue escalates infinitely and the youthful crowd, many decked out in Mraz merchandise, cheer wildly as he belts out songs off Mr. A-Z and Rocket, as well as old favourites from the live records he released independently before he got signed. It?s clear that Mraz knows how to put on a great show, as he spouts off witty banter and hits every note perfectly. So while it may be easy for Mraz to blend into crowds; for those who do notice him, he?s impossible to forget.
Anyone who thinks Eminem is the only white boy who can rap has clearly never listened to Jason Mraz. While the platinum-selling singer-songwriter is by no means a hip hop star, nor a conventional MC, his sophomore effort, “Mr. A-Z,” shows he has no problem wrapping flurries of vowels and consonants around his tongue.
The first single off the album, Worldplay, is a perfect example of this talent: ?I try to keep a jumble and the lyrics never mumble when the music’s making people tongue-tied,? he sings. Wordplay is definitely the standout track on the album, and its catchy tune and tongue-in-cheek lyrics about the pressure that comes from a successful debut album (in Mraz?s case, 2002?s ?Waiting For My Rocket to Come?) makes it no surprise why it’s now such a radio hit.
The rest of the album offers more of the same, especially with Geek In The Pink. It?s another fun track that has Mraz embracing his trademark dorky style, which is to his advantage now that being a geek has never been hotter, thanks to the O.C.?s Seth.
?Mr. A-Z? has a good balance of both up-tempos and profound ballads that further emphasize Mraz?s range as a vocalist and his creativity as a songwriter. Songs like Life is Wonderful and Mr. Curiosity are great to relax to while Plane, Please Don?t Tell Her, and Song For A Friend are all ballads worth checking out.
However, as someone who has seen him perform live, no CD can really do Mraz justice. With Mr. A-Z, as with his first album, listening to him sing live is far more impressive than hearing his voice come out of a speaker. For the most part, it seems that the production doesn?t flatter his songs, which sound better stripped down.
While there are some duds on the album that will have you reaching for the skip button before you start nodding off, there are more than enough inspired tracks in the 12-song collection to ensure Mraz?s prediction from Geek In The Pink will be right on the button: ?geek is the colour for fall.?
Release Date: July 26, 2005
1. Life is Wonderful
3. Geek in the Pink
4. Did You Get My Message?
5. Mr. Curiosity
7. Bella Luna
9. O. Lover
10. Please Don’t Tell Her
12. Song For a Friend