Jason Mraz on Returning to Stage with a Twist and What It's Like to Sing with Tiffany Haddish
With Jason Mraz, it's easy to Look For the Good.
PEOPLE caught up with the guitarist and singer-songwriter about his return to the stage, working with Tiffany Haddish on his last album and his favorite pastime during the pandemic. (Hint: it's roller skating!)
"I am thrilled to be in a room with other people, playing music and having the language of music shared amongst musicians and crew members, but also with an audience," the 43-year-old tells PEOPLE about his upcoming live stream concert with Moment House on May 20 and 21. "I put an album out about a year ago, and I've not had the experience of knowing whether or not fans like it. Do they know the lyrics? Did they want to hear the new songs? Or did they want to just hear old songs?"
"One of the greatest forms of feedback that you can get is when you see an audience member singing a new song, singing songs off your new album. It breathes life into it in a way that's beyond me," he adds.
Like a lot of us, Mraz has spent a good chunk of his time on TikTok, specifically on its live video format serenading fans with performance inside his bedroom.
"I like to go on at midnight and do an hour set on TikTok, just as a way to practice and engage with fans and be weird. And it has this feeling of you had to be there because it's TikTok," he said. "So for me, that's just where I've been going to practice and engage with fans. And it's fun, but the reality is that it's me alone in my room, which is also sad."
Fans seem to love it. Inching close to half a million followers on the app, his TikTok comments are filled with positive words for the star that fans fell in love with hits such as "I'm Yours" and "I Won't Give Up."
As he continues his new music era, he's still giving fans a taste of the older music, but with a twist.
"A lot of my old songs have now been rearranged for a reggae format," he says. "We're getting to breathe new life into old songs, and fans will hear all the songs performed in a new way."
"Popular songs, like 'Lucky' and 'I'm Yours,' that you could say almost are played out, have completely new interpretations now. 'Lucky' is going to be ska this summer," he reveals. "It sounds like it's from the 1960s now, which is very exciting. And you can dance to it in a whole new way. And then we took 'I'm Yours,' and we've completely turned it inside out. And now it's more of a soul lounge, sexy version."
Along with keeping up with his farm during the pandemic, Mraz spent a lot of time roller skating.
"So I got some roller skates, and I just started skating in my driveway, skating down at the beach, just anywhere where there weren't too many people. And it put a different energy in my body, which was very similar to live performance, which is a full-body sport because you're on your feet, you're dancing, you're singing," he says. "And roller skating feels the same. It's like surfing and tap dancing combined to have this artful expression on wheels. It became a new love for me. It was something I did as a kid. And I was happy to discover it in my adult life."
Along with roller skates, he's also gotten a chance to make new music, some of which he'll debut during his upcoming livestream, where he'll also perform his Look For the Good album in its entriety.
A fan favorite on his new album? "You Do You" — an empowering track about being yourself — featuring a rap verse from comedian Tiffany Haddish, whom Mraz said filled the room with "so much laughter and lightness."
"She is the hardest working person in show business right now. She's doing music, television, film, stand-up. She's producing. She has a nonprofit," Mraz says. "All of that energy was so inspiring, and I had a chance to see her and meet her. And it just felt like the right fit."
"I said, 'Do you rap by any chance? Because I've got this song, and I think it'd be super fun. Could you be on it?' She was a yes, immediately. And within days, we were in a studio cutting that together, and it was so amazing," he adds. "And her generosity and grace, it made it great. I've worked with some artists that show up late, or they show up with an entourage. Or they give you the runaround. And she had none of that. She didn't have an entourage. She wasn't late. She was just on. And it was awesome."
Tickets for Jason Mraz: Look For the Good Live! on May 20 and 21 go on sale Tuesday.
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