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Jason Mraz's Influences

March 21, 2007
By Alyssa Landau

Jason Mraz has been moderately popular since the 2003 release of Waiting For My Rocket To Come. In 2005, he was nominated for a Grammy for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for his album Mr. A-Z. His radio hits “The Remedy”, “You And I Both” and “Wordplay” are known for their catchy lyrics and have earned him the respect of fans all over the world. For those fans, Influences is a great album to understand where Mraz gets his unique sound.

“Respect,” the classic Aretha Franklin song, begins the album off on a familiar beat. Other familiar oldies, such as Bill Withers’ “Use Me” and Seals & Crofts’ “Summer Breeze” are a nice blast to the past. “Rainy Day Bells” by the Globetrotters is not familiar to me but it serves as a nice example of where Mraz gets his old fashioned sound.

Kenny Rankin’s “In The Name Of Love” is the song that has most obviously influenced Mraz’s sound. The song has a jazz feel to it and Rankin scats during the song just as Mraz has done on occasion. Jeff Buckley’s hauntingly beautiful song “Morning Theft” and Soul Coughing’s poetry like “Screenwriter’s Blues” also contribute strongly to his sound.

The final track on Influences is sung by Mraz himself. He sings the classic, and personal favorite of mine, song from The Muppet Movie, Rainbow Connection, which was original sung by Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog. Mraz’s voice compliments the song nicely.

Influences is a nice compilation of pioneering artists of the past. Luckily for artists like Mraz, amazing singers and songwriters have created great unique sounds which future inspiring artists can borrow from.