Welcome Back, Jason :)

After a few years hiatus – not counting his recent tour – Mr. A-Z is back and better than ever!!  He had a lot to live up to after the incredible success of his last studio album We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things and I’m so stoked to say he doesn’t disappoint with his newest single I Won’t Give Up which released just yesterday to the excitement of all us MRAZians 😀

I first heard this song when he performed it in Auckland and fell in love with it within like 5 seconds!  The tempo is quite “sleepy” and the melody is very simple but as an overall track it works and is just so beautiful.  The lyrics are (mostly) short and succinct – which is an oddity when it comes to his songs! – but so meaningful and heartfelt.

I’ve always enjoyed Jason’s music videos because they are so different from what is out there.  His videos are carefully thought out and just so unique.

I won’t say any more but as always, will let Jason work his magic!

*Cue plug for Jason Mraz (not like he needs it!!)

If you have fallen in love with this song, please purchase it on iTunes so you can listen to it over and over again!

Cannot wait for his new album but this song should tide me over.  On We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things the song I could listen to over and over again was A Beautiful Mess (still is!); I Won’t Give Up is definitely this year’s Beautiful Mess – I can already tell!

Jason Mraz: You Are Loved, November 15th 2011

He sings with so much heart and soul, he scats effortlessly, he plays the guitar like a boss (especially considering he is self-taught!), he writes his own songs, he raps like a pro and even sings opera – is there anything Jason Mraz can’t do?

About 3 weeks ago, I attended his concert – or more appropriately called, his “acoustic evening” – at the Civic and that was easily the BEST thing I did all year.

I have been a fan for a long time (from the beginning), and I had been hoping and waiting for YEARS for him to come this way for a gig.  I was beyond ecstatic when I found out he was coming; I purchased my tickets TWO MONTHS prior on day one of the fan pre-sale – which resulted in (I thought) the best seats in the house 🙂  Not only was I mere feet away from the stage but I was clever and lucky enough to have picked seats that were right smack bang in front of the mic!

I have watched some of his performances online but nothing could honestly prepare me for what I was about to experience on the night.  He is already ‘aMRAZing’ as a recording artist but he is absolutely phenomenal live.  Completely different energy and his voice almost takes on a whole different persona.  One of his trademarks is that he is very improvisational with his performance; he has said many a time in interviews that he rarely performs the same song the same way more than once.  And this is so true.  Even though many of the songs were tracks I had heard a million times, it was like I was listening to them for the first time.

From start to finish, I was completely mesmerized.  What made the experience that much better was how he engaged with the crowd – he is very charming in real life!  He had some really funny stories to tell but also heartfelt words of inspiration to share.  I also loved all the audience participation bits – quite an integral part to the overall evening.  He has said in an interview that when he performs live it’s not about people coming to stare at him for 2 hours but it’s about everyone coming together to enjoy the music and participating in the experience.  To me, that speaks a lot about him as an artist and really just makes me love and respect him even more!  I think it is this perspective that he has that explains why he also incorporates other singer’s songs in his performance which I think is so refreshing.

I definitely, totally fell in love with him even more after watching him live ❤  The only thing I wished was that he wasn’t sporting the long hair and was wearing his trademark fedora!  He’s still incredibly cute though, and just such a down-to-earth and genuine person.

I have been listening to his music non-stop since then and watching countless videos of his other live performances all over the world and I just cannot get enough of him!!  He truly has a remarkable gift – he has such a beautiful character and tone to his voice and I think what’s even more appealing than that is just the way his songs tell a story.  He is such a fantastic lyricist; the way he expresses himself through song is a breath of fresh air – he is so clever and sometimes whimsical with his words.  His songs are all full of meaning, heart and soul and even though he is singing to a crowd of hundreds or thousands he has this uncanny, amazing ability to perform as if he was singing to only you.  And I have to say he has some crazy breathing skills; how he gets out so many words in one breath (and so succintly too!) is beyond me.

I must also mention the extremely talented Toca Rivera, Jason’s percussionist/right-hand-man who is a star in his own right, in my opinion.  His vocals perfectly complement Jason’s and don’t get me started on how he works his magic with all the percussion instruments he has at his disposal!  During the few times I wasn’t so busy staring at Jason, I was completely sucked in to Toca in action.

I didn’t record any videos myself because I just wanted to fully enjoy the evening without getting distracted, but thanks to Youtube there are quite a number out there and I’m going to share some of them here – because I don’t think my words can really justify how amazing he is!  There were, of course, SO MANY to choose from – I knew I couldn’t put them all here so I’ve picked the better quality ones and (hopefully) a good mix of tunes.  If these whet your Mraz appetite then go check out the other performances on Youtube, they’re not difficult to find.

In this one he talks about why he says “water” the way he does, hehe – he’s so adorable ❤

*Thanks to sienetta for the video

When this happened, I pretty much died of jealousy right there and then – no doubt every girl in the crowd was completely jealous of Esther!  Even now after the fact, every time I watch this video I get so sick to my stomach with jealousy!  I hope I am fortunate enough to get to sing a duet with him one day…a girl can hope!

*Thanks to j9broom for the video

This song leaves me so gobsmacked each time.  His range is mind-blowing – not only can he go really low but to be able to go operatic as he does here is just incredible. I also love the words behind the song too – one of my faves, in terms of the lyrics.

(Whoever keeps laughing in the background is really irritating though!)

*Thanks to sienetta for the video

Some of you may have heard this song on the radio – apart from his “hit singles” this would be another familiar song to the non-Mraz-fan ear because he won a Grammy for this song a couple of years back.  I think it has a very interesting beat to it, always makes me feel happy when I listen to it!

*Thanks to TheFletcherStewart for the video

This is one of my fave up-tempo tracks from him – I can’t get over how dirty the song is though, LOL.  I love the scatting he does in this performance, and the guitar lick at the beginning is freaking wicked!!

*Thanks to GriefHammer for the video

A new track which I hope will make it onto his next album!!  I love the guitar riff in this track and the harmonies between him and Toca are beautiful!  The lyrics are really interesting too if you listen closely.

*Thanks to sienetta for the video

And finally, I will leave you with the song he is best known for, with a little bit extra at the end!

*Thanks to kangta164 for the video

Thank you, Jason Mraz, for coming to New Zealand.  You changed my life that night – something you said near the end really spoke to me and changed my entire perspective on life.  So thank you!!  I can only hope I will be fortunate enough to watch you perform live again.


In the Spirit of Thanksgiving…

A few things I am thankful for…

(in no particular order)

1.  L.A. Noire 😀

Come on, who here is surprised? 😉 I am thankful for L.A. Noire because it significantly peaked my interest in games and also helped improve my gaming skillz (yes skills with a ‘z’ :P); specifically it helped me get over my at-the-time phobia of shooting games.  Turns out I’m not too shabby with a gun 🙂  My driving on the other hand leaves a lot to be desired *shame*

L.A. Noire also led me to be a part of a whole community of like-minded fans via Twitter and Tumblr (shout out to Kelly and Allyson – so thankful to have e-met you guys! :)), and also introduced me to Sean McGowan, the amazing, super talented actor behind Stefan Bekowsky, who also happens to be one of the nicest, sweetest, most down-to-earth people in the business today.  Sean, you are AWESOME, thank you for, well, being you! 🙂

So big thank you to Rockstar Games and Team Bondi!

2. Naughty Dog and Nolan North

The Uncharted series is the perfect game in every way, in my eyes 🙂  It has given me hours and hours of much needed escapism, which I have really craved this year, so thank you to the Dogs!!

Nolan – you brought life to Nathan Drake, possibly one of the most liked video game characters of this generation.  Thank you for giving me a virtual crush, HAHA!

I think I will leave it at that since I think I nattered on long enough about Uncharted in my previous blog post…

3. Jason Mraz

I have been a fan of his from the start (before the world took notice!), but I have grown sooo in love with this man ever since I saw him live last week.  I have been listening to his songs non-stop ever since – his songs are truly a work of art; he is an amazing lyricist with such a beautiful and unique style to his sound and his performance.  His improvisational method of performing means he sings a different rendition of the same song each time which is great!  He is even more fantastic live – heartfelt and effortless performance from start to finish…truly magical.  And man, can he rock that guitar!!  It is an experience I will NEVER forget and I can only hope that I get the opportunity to watch him perform again in the future.

To top it off he is just such a wonderful human being – I swear he is the nicest and most genuine person in the music industry (very similar to Sean ;)).  His humility, generosity and selflessness is truly inspirational.  I just love that even though he is this successful singer/songwriter (two time Grammy winner, no less!! :D), he doesn’t let the fame define him; he just wants to make music and share it to the world, he wants to enjoy life and make his mark in this world in his own special way.  I like that he sees his fans as his friends and that he sees the world as one big family.

The fact that he is also incredibly cute and charming is just the cherry on a very yummy cake 😉  He is quite a comedian too which I discovered at his concert.  WOW, he’s like the perfect package *swoon*

But yeah, I’ve been a bit down this week and listening to Jason’s songs have really cheered me up and lifted my spirits.  He also said something during his concert that really moved me and has motivated me to see things from a different perspective.  So muchos gracias, Jason – YOU ARE LOVED 😀

4. Patricia 🙂

I have known Patricia for quite a number of years now.  We’ve had our ups and downs as all good friendships do but we have certainly come a long way and I feel our friendship right now is at it’s best 😀  Patricia, you have been a source of strength and comfort to me this year when I needed it most and I cannot thank you enough for your words of advice, encouragement and support.  I will probably never be able to repay you but I can only hope that I can return the favor one day 😉  I love you, babe – I’m glad to have you (back) in my life xo

On the subject of friendships, I want to take the opportunity to extend some quick shout outs to the following awesome people:

Michelle – I’m thankful for the friendship we developed this year…until you abandoned me, that is! (how rude)  Have an absolute blast in NYC, can’t wait to catch up with you when you’re back 🙂

Jimbo – It’s been really great geeking out *ahem* chatting with you on Facebook these past few months; shame we didn’t get to do this more when you were actually here but oh well…better late than never, as they say!!  Thanks again for being an excellent Uncharted co-op buddy hehe 😀

Louise – We have been on quite a journey together, haven’t we?!  I am so thankful that our lives crossed paths all those years ago, I guess we have Harry to thank for that aye 😉  I’m so chuffed that we have still managed to keep in touch after all this time and that although we have moved on from the VTM days, we have new geeky things to talk about!!  I’m grateful to have you as a friend, in many ways you are like the big sister I never had 🙂

Lavy – The long lost friend from the good ol’ high school days!!  I’m so stoked and thankful that we are in contact again after quite a hiatus – I hope to see you again in the near future as it’s been far too long!!  Love you, babe 😉

Shane – My Irish cutiepie 😉  Like Louise, we have come quite a ways too.  Even though we both at some point have disappeared on the other, I am glad we have found each other again 🙂  I always enjoy our conversations and I’ve always felt we have a special connection – I’m thankful to Harry for bringing us together and to Facebook for helping us always come back 😉

**UPDATE!! November 26th @ 933AM:

2 more quick shout outs to a couple more people I forgot to mention, whoops!!

Chelsea – I’m glad and grateful we’ve had the opportunity to grow closer this year 🙂  Who knew we had such similar dramas and perspectives on things? 😉

Lewis – My fellow Survivor freak – I never thought I would find one and I’m thankful I have!!  I’ve really enjoyed our e-conversations and I think an actual hang out is in order at some point!! 🙂

PHEW that’s a lot of thank you’s aye!!  I actually have a lot of things I am NOT thankful for too but probably better to leave that for another post, or maybe it’s just best to keep to myself 😛  I will say this though: I am NOT thankful to be in New Zealand on Thanksgiving because I don’t get to have turkey 😦  No gobble, gobble for the Whimsical Banana, sigh…