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[Herald Interview] Mraz says ‘Yes!’ to return to Korea

American pop star gears up for nationwide acoustic concert series

After performing in Korea for the first time at the 2006 Incheon Pentaport Rock festival, American folk-pop star Jason Mraz is making his way back to Korea next month, marking the start of his seventh concert performance in the country in eight years.

Mraz is slated to hold his first nationwide acoustic concert tour here, where he will be performing in Daejeon and Daegu for the first time, before concluding his tour with two performances in Seoul.

However, unlike in the past when the singer held large-scale solo performances in venues such as the Jamsil Sports Complex, performing in front of around 18,000 fans last year, this go around Mraz is shooting for a more intimate atmosphere. 
American folk-pop singer Jason Mraz. (9 Entertainment)
American folk-pop singer Jason Mraz. (9 Entertainment)

“Very excited to be going back to Korea,” the singer said in an email interview with the Korea Herald.

“A smaller crowd give us the opportunity to communicate in a more intimate way. In a larger venue it’s like, ‘Hey, how’s everybody doing?’ and that’s the extent of your conversation,” he explained. “But in a smaller venue, it’s like ‘Hey, how are you doing? Looking forward to getting into your heart.’”

The artist is one of the country’s most popular international acts.

To stay connected with his local fan base, the singer has appeared on a number of local TV shows throughout the years, including a guest role on SNL Korea last year. Over the summer he opened his own “Star Music Room on the newly launched KakaoMusic app ― a sister app of the country’s most widely used texting service, KakaoTalk. The app enables Mraz to upload his own personal playlist, letting fans listen to his recommended music for free, as well as allowing him to write translated messages.

In July, the singer released his latest album, “Yes!” ― his first release since “Love is a four letter word” in 2012.

“It’s all about ‘yes’. Yes is a key to open up to possibilities,” Mraz said, referring to the concept of his new album. “To say ‘yes’ to the world shows that you still are alive, you still have hope, you want to live. The word ‘Yes’ is love to show up anywhere either for your own life or for your friends or your family. It’s real love.”

The 14-track album features the lead single “Love Someone” as well as one of the singer’s personal favorites, “Shine.”

“The song ‘Shine’ is about saying ‘yes’ and shining your life on to others so that they can see their own strength, and their own beauty. And if we all shine enough on each other, we can illuminate the world,” he added.

Mraz’s upcoming acoustic concert series will include U.S. indie band Raining Jane as guest performers, with the singer referring to the relatively unknown band as a “phenomenal foursome.”

“They are four women that have been together for 15 years, I’ve been working with them for about eight years,” he explained, noting his excitement to introduce the artists to Korea.

“I love their attitude. I love their music. I love their values. And being able to collaborate with them to create new music has been a joy, one of my proudest achievements.”

Mraz is slated to perform two solo shows in Seoul at the Sejong Center on Nov. 24 and 25.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)
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