Music-mixing Mraz will impress with melodies

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Music-mixing Mraz will impress with melodies

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American singer-songwriter Jason Mraz returns to Korea for a show at Melon-AX tomorrow night. [JoongAng Ilbo]

As he sang on his first album, Jason Mraz is “a down-home brother, redneck undercover.” But Friday night, with his guitar here, he’ll be ready to play.
The genre-bending musician may have begun his career playing acoustic sets in small coffee shops in San Diego, California, and then in college towns across the United States, but he’s since gone global.
Mraz, who performed at Incheon’s Pentaport Rock Festival in 2006, comes back to Korea for one night at Melon-AX, eastern Seoul.
A native of Mechanicsville in Virginia, Mraz often references his Southern roots through his music, whether it be in the twangy banjo featured in his 2004 single “Curbside Prophet” or the backing vocals on his “Song for a Friend,” provided by the choir at his old high school.
However, Mraz is no country artist; his past two studio albums “Waiting for my Rocket to Come” and “Mr. A-Z” reveal a range of influences, from opera, Latin, hip-hop, folk to pop.
Blessed with one of the most dexterous tongues among contemporary artists, Mraz is famous for his ability to spit rhymes at breakneck speed ― there’s a reason why the first single of Mr. A-Z was called “Wordplay.”
While both native English and Korean speakers alike might have trouble following Mraz’s rapid-fire lyrics, they’ll be able to relax with the singer’s slow-tempo tunes. Among such songs will be “I’m Yours,” the first single off his forthcoming album, “We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things.”
The title is derived from a three-EP series of songs that the songster recorded in intimate settings to promote the album itself. The first, “We Sing,” came out March 18; “We Dance” is due April 20 and “We Steal Things” will come with digital downloads of the full album.
Mraz releases this album, his third, May 20, but the single is a longtime fan favorite, thanks to “Extra Credit,” a 2005 EP, and its viral dissemination via the Internet.
On this song, and others, Mraz shows off a lilting, mellifluous purity that adds dimension to achingly romantic lines. But lest the more macho members of the crowd write this crooner off, they’ll be happy to know they can jam with the self-professed “Geek in the Pink” on topics such as sexual frustration, stamina and dumping lovers.
If Mraz’s EPs of past shows are any indication, fans should be prepared for some humor and ad libs during his set. Chances are, those in attendance Friday night will sing, dance and have their hearts stolen by Mraz.


Jason Mraz plays at 8 p.m. tomorrow at Melon-AX, located near Gwangnaru Station, line No. 5, exit 3. Tickets, available at ticket.interpark.com, cost 88,000 won ($87.64).

By Hannah Bae Contributing Writer [hannahbae@gmail.com]

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