The album is a collaboration between Jason Mraz and the members of indie-rock-folk band Raining Jane: Mai Bloomfield, Becky Gebhardt, Chaska Potter and Mona Tavakoli, with whom Mraz has been working since 2007, and who are his backing band on the record, as well as co-writers of majority of the songs.
It has been certified Gold in Brazil.
It was nominated by the Recording Academy, for Best engineered album, and producer Steve Lillywhite, who previously worked with U2, The Dave Matthews Band and The Rolling Stones, won for Producer of the Year, but not for his work on Mr. A–Z. The name of the album is a play on the artist's surname, "Mraz".
An opera solo performed by Mraz himself can be found on the track "Mr. Curiosity". In March 2010 this song charted in Germany after it had been performed by Lena Meyer-Landrut in the talent show contest Unser Star für Oslo, reaching a peak position of #44.
The first song "Welcome to Schubas" is actually the song "Running" followed by the entire The E Minor EP in F with the song "Eyes Open" mixed into the set.
"The Beauty in Ugly" is the Jason Mraz song "Plain Jane" which was reworked by Mraz for the TV show Ugly Betty.
Johnson is also known for organizing an annual event, the Kōkua Festival. Notable songs from Johnson's repertoire include "Upside Down"; "Flake"; "I Got You"; "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing"; "If I Had Eyes"; "You and Your Heart"; "Taylor"; "Better Together; "Good People"; and "Breakdown."
In 2009, Degraw released his third album Free. His fourth album Sweeter spawned hit single "Not Over You", as well as "Soldier" and "Sweeter". His fifth album Make a Move was released in 2013. DeGraw has sold more than a million records in the US. His duet with Colbie Caillat on "We Both Know" for the film Safe Haven received a Grammy Award nomination.
Songs About Jane propelled the band into the mainstream, but the album was not an immediate hit. Octone Records had signed the newly christened Maroon 5 in 2001, and the debut album Jane received a lukewarm response upon its release in June 2002. "Harder to Breathe" became a radio staple 17 months later and was soon followed by the omnipresent "This Love," whose steamy video (featuring frontman Levine and a barely clothed girlfriend) wooed the TV-watching crowds at MTV. Songs About Jane finally entered the Billboard Top Ten in August 2004, more than two years after the album's release, and follow-up singles like "She Will Be Loved" and "Sunday Morning" helped the album move over 2.7 million copies by year's end.
Maroon 5 toured exhaustively in support of Jane's slow-burning success, issuing two stopgap recordings -- 2004's 1.22.03.Acoustic and 2005's Live Friday the 13th -- while traveling the world alongside groups like the Rolling Stones and John Mayer. Their schedule was especially trying on percussionist Dusick, who sustained wrist and shoulder injuries and was often unable to play. By fall 2006, Dusick had been officially replaced by Matt Flynn (the former drummer for Gavin DeGraw), and the revised band released its sophomore effort in May 2007. It Won't Be Soon Before Long proved to be less popular than its predecessor (which had sold more than four million copies in the U.S. alone), but it still enjoyed double-platinum certification while spinning off the chart-topping single "Makes Me Wonder."
Maroon 5 had cemented their status as pop/rock heavyweights, and they now had the connections to prove it. Released in late 2008, Call and Response: The Remix Album reinterpreted the band's catalog with remixes by influential producers like Mary J. Blige, Mark Ronson, and Pharrell Williams. Meanwhile, the band worked with a different producer -- veteran rock/country architect Robert John "Mutt" Lange -- on a third studio album, Hands All Over, which was released in September 2010. The following year, Levine appeared as a judge on the NBC reality television talent competition "The Voice". That same year, Hands All Over was re-released with the single "Moves Like Jagger," featuring Levine's "The Voice" co-judge Christina Aguilera. In 2012, Carmichael revealed that he was taking time off from performing with Maroon 5 and would be replaced by touring keyboardist PJ Morton. Also in 2012, the band released its fourth studio album, Overexposed. Featuring production from a bevy of name producers including Ryan Tedder, Max Martin, Benny Blanco, and more, the album included the leadoff single "Payphone."
Caillat has sold over 6 million albums worldwide and over 10 million singles. In 2009, she was named Billboard magazine's 94th-best-selling music artist of the 2000–2009 decade. In 2011, she released her third studio album, All of You. On October 23, 2012 she released her first Christmas album, Christmas in the Sand.
With a lineup that included original members Monahan, Stafford, Scott Underwood, Rob Hotchkiss and Charlie Colin, the band achieved mainstream success with their debut album Train, which was released in 1998 with the hit "Meet Virginia". Train's 2001 album, Drops of Jupiter contained the lead single "Drops of Jupiter", which won two Grammy Awards in 2002. The album was certified double platinum in the United States and Canada and remains the band's best-selling album to date.
Train's third studio album, My Private Nation, released in 2003, was certified platinum in the United States with the hit "Calling All Angels". Following the departures of Hotchkiss and Colin, the band released their fourth album, For Me, It's You in 2006, with Brandon Bush and Johnny Colt. Despite a generally positive reception from critics, the album was commercially unsuccessful. Because of this, Train went on a three-year hiatus.
Morrison released his second album, Songs for You, Truths for Me in 2008, which entered the top five in the UK as well as topping the Irish Albums Chart. Songs for You, Truths for Me featured the top ten singles "You Make It Real" and his critically acclaimed collaboration with Nelly Furtado titled "Broken Strings". He has performed with Jason Mraz, Nelly Furtado, and others in concerts and in songs. Morrison wrote a song for Italian singer Marco Carta entitled "Quello che dai", which debuted at number one in the official chart.
The group's second self-titled album, released in 2009, debuted at number-one on the Billboard charts and was certified gold in the United States, Australia and Canada. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album in 2010. While both the albums were commercially successful, critical reception was mixed. The Fray was ranked No. 84 on Billboard 's "Artists of the Decade" list.
Since that time Lee has recorded five albums on Blue Note Records and has toured as an opening act for Norah Jones, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Paul Simon, Merle Haggard, Van Morrison, John Prine, Dave Matthews Band, Adele, the Zac Brown Band, Jack Johnson, and The Avett Brothers. His music has appeared on the soundtracks of numerous TV shows and movies. He has performed on several late night TV shows and at a voter registration rally for Barack Obama. In 2011, his album Mission Bell debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.
In 2002, Norah Jones launched her solo music career with the release of Come Away with Me, a commercially successful and critically acclaimed album that was a fusion of country music and pop, with elements of jazz. It was certified diamond, selling over 26 million copies. The record earned Jones five Grammy Awards, including the Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist. Her subsequent studio albums Feels Like Home, released in 2004; Not Too Late, released in 2007, the same year she made her film debut in My Blueberry Nights; and 2009's The Fall all gained Platinum status, selling over a million copies each. They were also generally well received by critics. Jones' fifth studio album, Little Broken Hearts, was released on April 27, 2012.
Jones has won nine Grammy Awards and was 60th on Billboard magazine's artists of the 2000–2009 decade chart.
“Bookmarks is certainly a more modern record from a production and melodic standpoint than my last few albums, though, as usual, it contains my lyrical slant. It was wonderful to re-partner with my producer buddy Gregg Wattenberg as we started this Five for Fighting thing together 13 years ago.”
That “thing” happened to be the platinum album America Town featuring the iconic song “Superman,” an album Ondrasik and Wattenberg made on a shoestring budget in 1999. Bookmarks reflects the best of their prior collaboration, along with all that’s transpired in the intervening years. And once again, Ondrasik’s music contains timely cultural introspection as well as an honest look into that which is us.
The inspirational, “What If,” a clarion call to rise above what divides us and asks a simple “What if you were me and what if I were you? Ondrasik remarks, “Americans are immersed in a shallow culture of instantaneous perception and rabid stereotype. What if we could truly understand each other’s experience and point-of-view? Walk in those proverbial shoes? It might not change our ideologies and beliefs, but perhaps we would have a bit more empathy and understanding for one and other…or not…What If?”
Bookmarks opens with “Stand Up,” an anthem for those of us who – all of us, ultimately – who have to bounce back after adversity. Not only to bounce back, but to do so in an intentional, positive way. Ondrasik leads “If you write a tragedy where you can’t be saved…Stand Up, cause you’re falling down.” From the classic “I Don’t Want Your Love” to the haunting “Symphony Lane,” to a taunting “She’s My Girl,” Ondrasik bounces from the serious to the satirical with one of the most unique and recognizable voices of the past decade. On that Ondrasik comments, “As a singer Bookmarks is the most vocally diverse record since The Battle for Everything. It was a blast to let loose on tunes like ‘Road To You’ and ‘Heaven Knows.’ It was time to put some of the rock back into the rock band.”
Add the clarity and cultural currency of “Down” and the traditional Five for Fighting sound on “Your Man” and “You’ll Never Change,” Bookmarks will likely please fans old and new. To close out the set, Ondrasik concludes with the poignant “The Day I Died,” a pure live piano/vocal recording sung through the eyes of a man on his deathbed celebrating “I was alive, the day I died.” A final reminder that with all the commercial success and production bells and whistles, Ondrasik is a simple man at a piano, an Americana singer/songwriter, providing a few bookmarks along the way.
Ondrasik began his journey at three-years old. “Johnny,” as he was called back then, could barely span four white keys with his small hands. His mom was a piano teacher and after giving him the basics she allowed him to walk away from formal lessons at thirteen, a freeing moment. From that point on, he was playing because he wanted to play; Writing music because he wanted to write.
He exploded onto the music scene with the release of Superman in 2000 on America Town. Having written those thousands of songs just for fun during first his youth and then his time at UCLA (an Applied Science and Mathematics major), the public adoration of “Superman” stunned his mother – a way to actually make money writing and playing music! Ondrasik’s father, a rocket scientist, was less surprised. As a businessman himself, he appreciated the long hours of dedication Ondrasik had put into honing his craft (45,000 hours, according to math major Ondrasik’s calculations!).
Inspiration plus an intense work ethic, Ondrasik had become an overnight sensation in only twenty years.
Superman continued to embed itself in the nation’s consciousness with the events of 9/11, as Ondrasik joined other superstar musicians for the fundraiser, “The Concert for New York,” a 2001 event dedicated to first responders affected by the events of September 11th.
Fast-forward three years with Ondrasik still searching for that second #1 Billboard hit. Recording in his studio, an 8’ x 4’ closet, and working on his third album, The Battle for Everything. His wife, Carla, had been a music publisher before leaving the business to devote her time to their two children, Johnny and Olivia, but he didn’t ordinarily bounce his songs off of her.
This time he did, and he held his breath as she listened and wept. “I immediately knew that I was either onto something, or my career was over.”
Turns out he was onto something, another #1 Billboard hit, the now-standard 100 Years.
Since, Ondrasik has ranged well beyond work in the studio to the world beyond.
Ondrasik has compiled five albums to give away to United States troops, with over a million distributed containing hit songs and bits from superstar musicians and comedians, in addition to Five for Fighting music.
“The coolest part of the CD for the Troops project was that everyone from Melissa Etheridge to Brooks and Dunn got on board. It’s been an effort where writers from the across the political spectrum have contributed songs to thank our troops.”
Ondrasik is an avid hockey fan – the source of the term for his “band” title, referencing five penalty minutes given to a player guilty of fighting. Further evidence of Ondrasik’s marvelous collision between sports and music is all around: writing for Sports Illustrated and his beloved Los Angeles Kings website, performing at NFL, NHL, NASCAR events, and appearing on ESPN’s flagship show, SportsCenter.
He doesn’t only watch sports, though. As he contemplated Bookmarks he ran a marathon, reconnecting with his musical roots of the 70s as he logged hundreds of training miles.
Another major philanthropic contribution came in the spring of 2007 when Ondrasik broke new ground by creating a video charity website – the first of its kind. Fans could participate in creating videos based around the question from his hit, “World,” namely, “What kind of world do you want?” and watch videos to contribute funds to their favorite causes. Through the site, over a quarter of a million dollars was raised for Augie’s Quest, Autism Speaks, Fisher House Foundation, Save the Children, and Operation Homefront.
Raising money and awareness for those organizations plus many others, Ondrasik finds it easy to get involved in worthwhile causes, often quoting his close friend Augie Nieto, who has ALS: “It’s about significance, not success.” In that vein, he’s also lectured at a TEDx event, spoken at colleges and in other motivational settings and still spends time at the family business, Precision Wire Products, where he worked in college as he began his music career and now working with his father in the business founded by his grandfather, toiling together alongside fellow metalworkers. All of them, making a difference. Significance.
“At the end of the day, it really is about doing your part, each one of us. In whatever area we can. What kind of world do you want?”
So that’s the gist of Ondrasik and his Five for Fighting thing. By now, I’m sure you got the drift.
• Over 2.5 million records sold
• Six major album releases including platinum albums, America Town (2000) and The Battle For Everything (2004), as well as Message for Albert (his first album, 1997), Two Lights (2006), Slice (2009), and Bookmarks (2013)
• Grammy-nominated single “Superman” Platinum, #1 Adult Top 40, #2 Hot AC, Top 10 at Top 40
• “100 Years” single 2x Platinum, spent 12 weeks at #1 at Hot AC
• “Chances” featured in Oscar winning film The Blind Side, Certified Gold, Top 15 at Hot AC & “The Riddle” #4 at Hot AC
• Two Lights debuted at #8 on Billboard Top 200
• Top 10 Hot AC, Top 5 AC radio airplay artist of the 2000’s
• Scored or licensed dozens of songs for film/television