Take it SLO is a 16-person student led a cappella group from Cal Poly. On March 19, they had the opportunity to sing with Grammy award-winning artist Jason Mraz. Today, they share this experience with us.
Imagine waking up on the Tuesday morning of finals week and reading a message from your a cappella group’s president that says: “ATTENTION. Incredibly exciting news- Jason Mraz’s manager has been emailing me this morning and there is about a 95% chance we will be performing WITH JASON MRAZ tomorrow evening.”
Our initial thoughts were of disbelief; we all had mini heart attacks as we read that message. By the afternoon, confirmation was made that we would in fact be singing with the one and only Jason Mraz the following night (in less than 36 hours!). Our president, Spencer Johnson, frantically began to plan how and when to practice, so we met that evening for rehearsal.
Here’s What Happened…
Let’s rewind a little bit. A few months prior to the notice, Take it SLO had been invited to perform on Adam Monteil’s morning radio show in San Luis Obispo. We woke up before the sun and sleepily walked into his studio.
Adam had requested we sing the song “Live High” by Jason Mraz, as he had heard us sing it before and wanted to hear it live in the studio. As we sang on-air, he recorded a video of us on his iPad. Little did we know, that video would be the reason we meet Jason Mraz.
While chatting after the show, Adam brought up the subject of Jason Mraz. He reminded us that Jason would be performing at Cal Poly in a couple weeks, but of course everyone already knew that! He literally said, “You guys should try to perform with him.” We all laughed because obviously that would never happen in a million years…wow, were we wrong!
The Day Before
Now fast forward to the day before we were to sing with him. That day we learned Adam had sent our video of “Live High” to his publicist. His publicist then sent the video to Jason’s manager, and Jason’s manager then sent it to Jason himself, who apparently loved it! His manager then contacted our president and the ball started rolling.
Adam’s publicist later told us that when he was asked to send the video to Jason’s “people,” he thought Adam was crazy. He said he didn’t even expect a response, let alone a positive one! He’d never seen this happen before.
When the group practiced on Tuesday night, we were all on our toes. We had finals to be studying for, but those were the last things on our minds. How could anyone think about finals when they’re about to sing with Jason Mraz?! We worked hard and focused like we never had before.
We honestly had no idea what was going on or how many songs we would be asked to sing…so we did the best we could. The songs “Live High” and “I’m Yours” were the only two Jason Mraz songs already in our repertoire, so we rehearsed those. We actually only knew the beginning of “I’m Yours,” so we had to learn the rest of it literally 24 hours before we performed it!
Meeting Jason Mraz
On the day of the performance, we were told to meet at 2pm for a sound check. We walked backstage as giddy as fan girls and were sent to the green room to wait. In the green room, we all relaxed on the couches and tried to guess when we would finally get to meet Jason Mraz. As we were relaxing and applying last-minute makeup, we heard the door open. We looked up to see Jason Mraz himself strolling in!
We all jumped up like soldiers in the military and tried to hide our excitement. He then went around and shook every single one of our hands, asking our names and introducing himself to each of us. We were all thinking “DUH YOU’RE JASON…YOU’RE JASON MRAZ!” He actually remembered our names, too. The rest of the day, he called multiple people in the group by their names.
Then we discussed what we wanted to do. He asked Eli Habeeb and Maddy Frey, the soloists from our video of “Live High,” to sing the song with him during the concert. And we were all to come out and sing “I’m Yours” for the encore. Jason then invited our soloist Kelli Norman to sing it as a duet with him upon hearing she was eliminated from American Idol after singing “I’m Yours.” She later said singing a duet with Jason Mraz was the ultimate Idol redemption.
Next, onstage we met Raining Jane, the band on tour with Jason. For the next hour, we had a jam session with Jason Mraz, onstage facing an empty auditorium, trying new things and adding fun twists as we combined all of our versions of the songs into one for the show…and we couldn’t have had more fun!
Standing onstage with the famous Jason Mraz and looking out at a sea of hundreds of smiling faces is a feeling none of us will ever forget. He had us center-stage, right next to him, and made us feel so welcome. During the performance, whenever he was ever offstage, he would hang out with us in the green room.
Jason was the coolest person. He was so relaxed and chill. He was real! He didn’t act like a celebrity or as if we were just some measly college a cappella group. He got to know us, asked us questions, and answered ours. We all took “selfies” with him, which were instantly posted to all forms of social media sites.
For that night, we were on cloud nine. Jason Mraz gave us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and made us feel like we were celebrities, which is something we will always remember and be so thankful for. All 36 hours are now a blur, from receiving that incredible message to singing with a legend. We look back now and think, “Did that really happen?”
Written by Guest Blogger Leah Horner,
Take it SLO
For More about Take it SLO:
You can also watch The Tribune’s video of the performance.
Do you like what you see? Take it SLO can be booked for performances by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take it SLO recently recorded an album, which will be released at their concerts on June 1st.
(Photo Credits: Mustang News and Justin Ruhl)
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