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Jason Mraz in Korea with new songs, new sound and new band

U.S. singer-songwriter Jason Mraz is planning to perform new songs and a new sound with his new band for his “special Korean fans” at his upcoming concerts in Korea this weekend. He has chosen Korea to kick off his world tour this year.

“I always tell people that for some reason, audiences in Korea are the most insane, they go absolutely bananas. I don’t know what that is. I hope to find it out on this trip,” Mraz said at a press conference held at a caf on Namsan in Seoul.

“We brought new songs, meaningful melodies and messages just to continue to spread the love for music,” he added.

The artist made his public appearance in Seoul on Thursday with bare feet, wearing a pair of plain jeans and a T-shirt with a print of his poem about what he loves about himself. At the press conference, Mraz sang “I Won’t Give Up” from his new album “Love is a Four Letter Word” released in April, to an acoustic guitar accompaniment.

The singer’s concerts on the weekend ― in Busan on Friday and at the Rainbow Festival on Nami Island on Saturday ― are part of his fifth visit to Korea.

“I would like to think that I’m a more seasoned performer. I came with a new band, new songs and big sound.”
Jason Mraz smiles at a press conference in Seoul on Thursday. (Warner Music Korea)
Jason Mraz smiles at a press conference in Seoul on Thursday. (Warner Music Korea)

Mraz is one of the best-selling foreign artists in the Korean music market dominated by K-pop stars. More than 110,000 copies of his third album “We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things” have been sold since its release four years ago. His latest album has sold more than 20,000 copies so far in the market where album sales of more than 10,000 copies is considered a great success. Tickets for his concert in Busan, sponsored by Hyundai Card, were sold out in less than 15 minutes.

Mraz said he believes that music can change one’s life and this is what keeps him singing and writing music.

“When someone says something or speaks a word or a phrase that is intended to change or inspire, it might possibly be forgotten, whereas when that phrase or word applies to music or melody, it is not only heard but felt. And when something is felt I believe it changes your DNA and changes your attitude in life,” he said.

“When I was a young man I used the music as my companion. Whenever I was sad I listened to sad songs and I knew that I wasn’t alone. I knew that in those experiences I was being changed. Music can change you,” he added.

When asked about his Jason Mraz Foundation, he said it is simply to help others like he was helped by others in the past.

“When I was a struggling artist, it was the generosity of others that gave me a quality of life. They took me to dinner and cinema and kept me uplifted,” Mraz, who is also an environmental and human rights activist, said.

“And now that I have the opportunity and ability to help others, I want to do the same. I want to make sure that people are fed and projects are funded.”

The organization aims to benefit human equality organizations, as well as those that are involved in the arts, education and environmental preservation. Funds raised by the foundation will go toward charities including Free The Slaves, True Colors Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The proceeds from the sales of 20 tickets at each one of his concerts have been donated to the foundation.

By Cho Chung-un (