Interviews Q&A

Top 25 Interviews of 2014: No. 19 Jason Mraz

If you told me back in high school that one day I would sit down with Jason Mraz for an interview I would have never believed it. But that actually happened this year. Looking back on it, Jason Mraz was also the soundtrack of my college years. My roommate had “I’m Yours” as a ringtone on her phone and even when her phone wasn’t ringing his music could be heard being played throughout our house.

So, I’ll admit when I sat down to chat with Jason Mraz I was nervous. Strangely enough, the most nervous I’ve been in quite some time for an interview. Once I asked the first question those nerves went away thankfully. Throughout our entire 30-minute chat I couldn’t believe how relaxed he was. While he talked, he had this calmness that I couldn’t help but think he would make an excellent yoga instructor. An excerpt from our chat is below and the video above.

Jason Mraz is calling his fifth studio album Yes! his “first acoustic album,” but he promises it packs a pretty big punch with eclectic instrumentation that includes cello, sitar, ukuleles and other small stringed instruments. But even though Jason may have broadened his sound for this new one, he still stays true to the songwriter he’s always been.

“The themes on the album are very much the same themes I’ve written about: optimism, hope, love, joy, healing, faith, acceptance, gratitude,” he explained. “This is a conscious decision because I always feel a song should be an affirmation of some kind. It should get you through the present moment and into a more loving or realized future.”

From “I Won’t Give Up,” off his previous record, 2012’s Love Is A Four Letter Word, to “I’m Yours,” off 2008’s We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things., Mraz has always found his sweet spot writing about love. And his upcoming release is certainly no different.

“I always had this idea that love was this really strong thing and I needed to find exactly what it was. Sometimes I thought I had it and then I’d actually end up screwing someone over and realize, ‘Oh, that’s not it,’” Jason, who broke off his engagement to singer, Tristan Prettyman in 2011, admitted. “Music for me has always been my first love. It’s always been a way for me to shut down the rest of the world, shut down the mental chatter and really connect with one voice. I think I’ve just wanted others to have that same experience where they would lose that mental chatter and they just feel loved.”

And what about that infamous song, “I’m Yours?” When asked if he ever wished he changed lyrics to his songs when he heard them on the radio he admitted he does, specifically with “I’m Yours.”

“There’s a lyric in ‘I’m Yours’ that says, ‘It’s our God forsaken right to be loved.’ That was written very quickly and basically just turning a phrase. Over time, I sing it now and I say, ‘It’s our God-intended right to be loved.’ I’ve been singing it that way for years and years but of course the audience still sings the lyric that’s been recorded.”

For my complete interview with Jason Mraz, visit

Features First Person

You Sing I Write’s May/June Wrap Up

I had the opportunity to tour with my first band back in 2008 when I was an intern at Rolling Stone. It was not as glamorous as I had previously thought, but an experience nonetheless. The band was Army of Me and I was in a tiny van with four guys as they toured with The Used. While it was a rite of passage I’ll never forget, I’ve always wondered what life on a tour bus is really like and I finally got to find out this year when I spent 24 hours on the road with Hunter Hayes as he broke a Guinness World Record for the most shows in 24 hours in multiple cities.

I spent 24 hours en route on a media bus where I tested out the bunks, realized the awkwardness of using the bathroom and had a newfound appreciation for the road life that so many artists deal with every day. You can read my full recap on

While I may not jump at the chance to travel the country on a tour bus myself, I wouldn’t say no to the next band opportunity. What was even more exciting was that that experience presented me with my first ever music plaque. I have a few softball trophies under my belt, but a music plaque is definitely a first.

That Hunter Hayes experience was just one of several that exhilarated me so far this summer and made me stop and cherish this crazy journey of being a music journalist. Last month, I interviewed Jason Mraz who I had grown up listening to. He was pretty much my college roommate’s life soundtrack and whenever I hear “I’m Yours” I’m always reminded of her ringtone.

I have not been that nervous for an interview in a very long time. I usually still get butterflies, but this time it was a huge knot in my stomach. He turned out to be more than cool and just a super chill person. Basically, exactly what you’d think he’d be like in real life. Watch our chat below.



Another highlight was interviewing Miranda Lambert. She just released her new album Platinum and while I only got 15 minutes with her, I was taken aback by how down to earth she was. While she’s married to perhaps the most popular man in country, Blake Shelton, she was so incredibly nice and even gave me some hilarious, yet questionable advice about turning 30 in November. “There’s always Spanx and Botox, you’ll be fine.” Watch my interview with her below.



I was lucky to spend some time chatting with the guys of The Wild Feathers over beers and found a new favorite band in married duo Johnnyswim during an interview. Also, Naughty Boy told me my interview with him was like therapy, which reaffirmed my decision to major in journalism and not psychology. Now I have the best of both worlds!

Stay tuned for more adventures next month. I promise to update more often! In the meantime, follow me on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with my day-to-day.

Features Q&A

Relationship Advice From Colbie Caillat

Because sometimes you have relationship questions and why not ask someone who writes about them for a living?

Much of Colbie Caillat’s music details the ups and downs a relationship can bring. “Lucky” was written with Jason Mraz and tells the story of falling in love with your best friend. Colbie has told me in the past that it’s a song she relates to.

“When I wrote that with Jason Mraz, I hadn’t been in love with my best friend before. It’s just a song that I knew other people could relate to. But now when I sing it, I’m like ‘Oh my God, this is really weird. I’m relating to my song right now.’ It makes me happy knowing that I can relate to it.”

So of course I had to go straight to the source and ask her: do you tell your guy friend when you’re crushing on him?

“It depends how the other person is interacting with them. If they think there are signs that the person feels that way,” she said. “I think anyone would be flattered to know that the other person either has a crush on them or is in love with them. I don’t think it should really affect the friendship. I think everyone would want to know that. I think you should tell him.”

Video –

For my complete article, visit CBS.


Artist to Watch: Tristan Prettyman

(credit: Lauren Ross)


I’ve been lucky to interview some of my favorite bands over the years and with that, get introduced to many new artists who I’m now a fan of. Most recently, Tristan Prettyman.


Last month, I wrote about my time interviewing her for CBS Local. I’ve stumbled on her music in the past and even interviewed some of her friends and tourmates like Anya Marina and Joshua Radin but for some reason never gave her a good listen. When I received an advanced copy of her upcoming album Cedar + Gold at work I was floored. It’s very rare that an album hits you so immediately but hers did just that.


In preparing for my interview I had her album on repeat at work and my subway rides to and from home and the emotion showcased throughout is undeniable. Possibly a lofty comparison, I can’t help but liken her release to Adele’s 21. The heartache showcased throughout is evident on each of the album’s 12 tracks.


Songs like “I Was Gonna Marry You” call out her ex fiance (Jason Mraz) in vivid detail while the hilarious “The Rebound” closes the album on a high note. She recently filled me in on the story behind her first single “My Oh My.” Detailing the cat and mouse game some relationships can be, Prettyman said:


“The whole song is this journey through your first love and breaking up and thinking you’ll never see him again and there’s no chance and then they come back into your life. And you’re like, ‘Oh man, I still like you. What’s the deal with that?’”


For my complete interview, visit CBS. Stay tuned for more from my chat with Tristan and be sure to pick up a copy of her album Cedar + Gold due in stores September 25.



You Sing I Write’s June Wrap-Up


Photo Credit: Jeffrey Staab


While being a music journalist certainly sounds like a glamorous job to many, it’s also a lot of work. Many times bands are scheduled for numerous interviews and performances in one day and with that, undoubtedly asked the same questions. My goal as an interviewer has always been to ask the artist a question they’ve never been asked before.


I still remember stumping Lady Antebellum during an interview in 2010. Their nearly minute of silence was instant success to me. To be able to ask the country trio a question they were never asked before during the height of their “Need You Now” popularity put a big smile on my face. It meant that I did my job and accomplished my goal after hours of research.


When I first started my job at CBS I was still new at video interviews. To have a crew of video staff and publicists watching your interview as it happened is intimidating and having an artist connect with you in a room full of people is not an easy task.


One of the video producers saw my nerves and offered some advice: just make it a conversation. For some reason I let my nerves get the best of me and forgot that eased conversations often make the best interviews. I told my boss that my goal for myself at the company was to have great interviews that make the artist want to come back and chat with us again.



My first interview this month was with Colbie Caillat. An artist I’ve already interviewed twice, she was the first interview in a long time that I wasn’t nervous about. The beach beauty felt like an old friend and she filled me in on surviving a bug attack onstage, how she makes touring feel like home and her friendship with Gavin DeGraw.


Last week, I found out that I’d be interviewing Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine. After joking with my co-workers about trying to recall the last time we used a payphone when listening to their hit single “Payphone,” I knew I had to ask him the same question.


Still trying to implement the idea of making my interviews more like a conversation with a friend, I was a bit nervous but determined to make it work. Having seen Maroon 5 perform the night before I at least had a few good conversation starters. As the interview went on I found my questions fitting seamlessly into the interview with no internal dialogue of “what am I going to ask next?”



By far my favorite interview to date, James Valentine took me behind-the-scenes of his writing process with Adam Levine, how he came to join the band, and of course the last time he used a payphone. This was the first interview I’ve had in a long time that really felt like a conversation with distinct connection.


The next day I chatted with singer-songwriter Tristan Prettyman whose new album Cedar and Gold drops in September. Formerly engaged to fellow singer Jason Mraz, the album was deemed a breakup album. Reading over all the press material, I wasn’t sure exactly how I’d bring up the elephant in the room, but everything was stated pretty clearly in the press release so I wouldn’t be a good journalist if I didn’t.


I spent the commute to work and my entire morning listening to the album and was struck by Tristan’s honesty. The record was so incredibly emotional and the heartbreak so real that it instantly brought to mind Adele’s ever popular 21.



The more we talked about the album and her relationship, the closer I came to having to bring up his name. So, I asked if she was nervous to have Jason listen to the album and she revealed that she sent him a few tracks and he responded, remarking at the fact that she didn’t hold anything back.


As Tristan continued to talk about the songs and her relationship she started to tear up and while I wasn’t quite sure whether to keep asking questions, I figured if she felt that uncomfortable she’d let me know. We continued the interview and I was so grateful for her honesty. Writing songs is often like writing in one’s diary and she shared so much of her process and the stories behind her songs with me. After our interview, I have no doubt her upcoming release will help a lot of people deal with their own heartbreaks. And that in itself is often the goal for a songwriter.


As far as my future interview goals, while I definitely don’t strive to make anyone cry from the questions I ask them, I hope I do allow them to feel comfortable enough to let their guard down for a moment. I know it’s not always the best idea to be friends with rock stars, but building a 30 minute friendship during our interview can’t hurt, can it?

Q&A Videos

Video Interview with Amber Rubarth

Video Credit: Wendy Hu

Last summer, I chatted with Amber Rubarth after her intimate show at Rockwood Music Hall. A beloved musician to many, she has collaborated with numerous artists including Jason Mraz and Martie Maguire and Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks and Court Yard Hounds, not to mention toured the California coast on a vespa with Jason Reeves.

During our interview, Rubarth filled me in on her journey to following her passion, something her boss engrained in her while she was an apprentice to a chainsaw sculptor in Nevada, her songwriting process and the inspiration by some of her songs.

To find out more, watch the video below and be sure to purchase a copy of her latest album, A Common Case of Disappearing, which features collaborations with Jacquire King, Brad Bivens, Adam Levy, Frank Swart, Marco Giovino, Oliver Kraus, Zac Rae, Jason Reeves and Jason Mraz. Catch Amber Rubarth live tonight at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2.

Song of the Week

Song of the Week: "Winter Wonderland"

Being that many of us have been hit hard recently with nearly a foot of snow, I found it fitting to make this week’s song “Winter Wonderland.” Watch Jason Mraz put his own spin on the classic tune below.

Q&A Videos

Video Interview: Colbie Caillat

I sat down with Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat a few months ago before her performance for VH1 Save the Music. She filled me in on co-writing, dealing with stage fright and her two Grammy wins. For the complete article, visit Hoboken Patch.

Watch the video below.


Video credit: Wendy Hu

Features Videos

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I know I’m a bit late and the day’s almost over but as promised, I thought I’d create a post with some readers favorite Valentine’s Day songs as well as a few of my own. Hope you all spent the day with your loved ones! And to all my fellow singles out there, I have some songs for you too.

Jason Mraz — “I’m Yours”


Mariah Carey — “Always Be My Baby”


Al Green — “Let’s Stay Together”


And, for all my single ladies:

Beyonce’s — “Single Ladies”


For the fellas…

Michael Buble’s — “Haven’t Met You Yet”


And the song I currently can’t get out of my head…

Taylor Swift’s “Today Was A Fairytale”


What do you think of the list? Any songs I missed? I’ll add them to next year’s!

Song of the Week

Song of the Week: “If It Kills Me”

It’s a bit serendipitous when two of your closest friends living in completely different parts of the country recommend the same song within 24 hours. This was the case for this week’s song of the week, “If It Kills Me” by Jason Mraz.

Elaine sent me this imeem link of Jason’s song, stating, “I’m in lovvve with this song. Especially the lyrics…sooo beautiful.”

The next day, Sarah asked me if I watch “So You Think You Can Dance.” I don’t, but she referred me to her personal blog, Picks and Tangencies where she posted a video of two dancers performing to “If It Kills Me.” From watching the episode you really get the history of Mraz’s track and inspiration from the choreography behind the performance. Truly something beautiful and artistic that only adds to the song.

Watch the video of the performance from “So You Think You Can Dance” below.

What do you think? Do the dancers give a good portrayal of the song? Love to know your thoughts!