Jason Mraz

The last time Mraz played in the US he was introduced by none other than Britney Spears. When he performed in the UK he covered Christina's "Beautiful". While it may be hard to ascertain if Mraz likes his women virginal or just plain dirrty, there's no doubting that Jason Mraz is going to escape the restriction which come with the singer songwriter tag and break through to being a international star. Designer Magazine caught up with Marazzi on his first headline tour of Britain and talked about his journey through musical theatre, to coffee shop and then onto international stages

Q: First UK tour and even though you'd played Manchester and London previously with Tracy Chapman, you're getting a fanatical response out in the provinces.
A: We've been having a hell of a lot of students who became aware of us over the internet. An American kid would go over to study at St Andrews up in Scotland and they'd turn the whole campus onto our website. It's mad because in the old days I'd save up money for years to make a trip over to England and now it's like I can just book a gig and i'm there.

Q: Most singer songwriters start playing their melancholic folk songs because they can't find a band to play with. You got into music through a totally different route didn't you?
A: I got into it through musical theatre because that's all I knew growing up. In High School I sang in Choirs quite a bit and was in all the plays so when I got out of school that's all I knew was connected to singing.

I didn't play guitar so I went to the School For Musical Theatre. It was actually the only college I could get into first of all and secondly it was based in New York. When I got there I had some room mates who playing guitar, dropped out of school and figured I'd write my own musical one day rather than sing these songs that had been written for 50 or 100 years.

Q: So how was it going from singing in Les Miserables to writing your own songs. Was a smooth transition?
A: I didn't know how to perform other people's songs. So someone would teach me E minor and then taught me A minor - so i'd write a song and annoy everybody till I learnt a 3rd chord. I couldn't play anybody else's songs so the only way for me to play was to write songs.

After I got a little better I taught myself a couple of Dave Matthew's songs, but I vowed never to cover them. I didn't want to be a covers guy or for people to be able to point out my influences directly.

Q: After getting the confidence to play in public you started on the whole coffee shop scene. Could you explain that for us because over in the UK there's nothing like it?
A: I guess it's just the same as smaller pubs here. Over there it's a place for people who can't play clubs or for people who can't get into clubs to go and see live music. I moved up to California because it seemed nice and I found San Diego had a huge variety of coffee shops and venues. Within those coffee shops were just a huge variety of musicians and songwriters and I felt that I could only learn from them.

Q: The singer songwriter tag can sometimes be quite restrictive and limiting. But listening to your debut album and even just the four songs in the sound check you do escape by covering lost of different styles.
A: I listen to all kinds of music and I can't attach myself to one particular artist otherwise i'd quit. It's weird because we've only just been getting radio play in the States and last weekend we played a festival with Michelle Branch and Jewel with Britney Spears as the host. Everyone has there pop thing with their  look and their glamorous outfits and we walk out with our guitars and scruffy t-shirts.

The album "Waiting For My Rocket To Come" is out now
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