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Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.
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Are John Mayer and Jason Mraz the same person?

November 13th, 2008 by travis hay

Okay, so it’s likely that John Mayer and Jason Mraz are not the same person, I know that. I also know I am not the first person to point out the similarities between the two. However, after checking out Jason Mraz Monday night at the Paramount I see now why the comparisons are made.

I’ve gotta preface this post by saying that I am a fan of Jason Mraz and John Mayer. That doesn’t mean I listen to their records nonstop, that just means I enjoy their music. As I critic I find myself enjoying all types of music I wouldn’t normally listen to and Mayer and Mraz both fall into that category.

I’ve reviewed Mraz four times and seen him live five times (see exhibits A, B, C and D.) I remember his early Seattle shows when he was goofy and interacted with the crowd. He’s a pretty funny guy.

Monday night Mraz was more into the quiet, soft and sappy side of his music, which was really pretty boring for me. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he put on a bad show, quite the opposite. His voice sounded better than ever and the crowd ate up all the rarities he sang. Just because it wasn’t my cup of tea doesn’t make it a bad show.

Anyway, here’s where my comparison between Mayer and Mraz comes into play.

I once called John Mayer a musical schizophrenic because he is an amazing blues guitarist, but he knows his bread is buttered by sappy pop like “Your Body Is A Wonderland” so he sticks to playing and writing songs like that because it is what his fans want.

Monday I realized Mraz sort of falls into that same category. He’s a funny guy and he is a great entertainer, but he too knows where his bread is buttered. While he doesn’t have as much of a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde thing going as Mayer does, he decided to stick to his sappy and sweet stuff Monday and deny his inner showman because that’s what his fans want, or at least that was my perception of what was going on at the show.

Now, is a musician who denies part of himself just to please a crowd or sell records a sell out? No. Did Mraz’s decision to go with the slower “You And I Both,” “The Boy’s Gone” and other ballady songs from his catalog Monday night instead of play the poppier “Curbside Prophet” “Geek In Pinl” and others make for a bad show? Not really. I just wanted to share my thoughts on the Mraz/Mayer conundrum and thought I would do so here.

Feel free to discuss.

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5 Responses to “Are John Mayer and Jason Mraz the same person?”

  1. rikki Says:

    I understand completely where you are coming from, and I comprehend the comparisons. But I’m not sure if you knew, but the Monday night show was billed as a ‘special acoustic show’. The Sunday show previous, was full of energy and the ‘poppier’ hits were played. So I think if you wanted something more upbeat and a more entertainer Jason mraz sunday night was the show for you. If you wanted something that showed you what the diehards know and love, the acoustic monday was the show.

    thanks!

  2. Stephanie Says:

    This comparison has often come to my mind too. It’s a shame that they have to play to the mainstream pop audience, but hopefully those listeners will one day be mature enough to appreciate the other stuff too!

  3. Lynda Says:

    I think it would’ve been a great service to your article had you been at the Sunday show as Rikki mentioned above. He’s a true entertainer and you get a full 360 of the guy. Compare it with the Monday show then you really get to know what the rest of us diehards know. We kind of cringe at the fact our quiet little secret is being leaked out but it’s a good secret to pass on.

  4. Clay Says:

    JM & JM is the the only thing that they have in common.

    Jasons music is in his voice, Johns is the guitar. I have never considered John to be a singer but a very good guitar player and Jason is a very good singer and not a “shredder on the AXE” In my opinion they are both good in their own right.

    I have seen them both and cant really compare…

  5. Wiwik Says:

    That’s funny. I especially love the sentence: “Okay, so it’s likely that John Mayer and Jason Mraz are not the same person…”

    No shit, Sherlock!

    I can see what you mean and I agree on some level. I don’t really see it in the music though. All the rest of their lifes is privat, so I’m not going there.

    One thing should be said for both though: “Go see them live”. But you did, so consider this not said.

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Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.