Jason Thomas Mraz (born June 23, 1977) is an American singer-songwriter of Czech descent. He first came to prominence on the San Diego coffee house scene in 2000. His international breakthrough came with the release of the single "I'm Yours" in 2008.
Reprinted with permission from the en.wikipedia.org

 

Part 1 - Interview 1: the Story Behind I'm Yours

A. Culturally and contextually dependent vocabulary and phrases:

  Before watching the video clip, familiarize yourself with the following entries. This will help you understand the clip better.
  1. shake the smile off our faces – stop smiling
  2. bonkers – crazy
  3. mental – crazy
  4. freaked us out – surprised us, scared us
  5. oh my gosh – a mild expression of surprise
  6. neat – colloquial for good, excellent; the equivalent of “cool”
  7. in town – in the context of this video, “here”
  8. got to – same as “have to”
  9. groovy – an older slang term from the 1960s and 1970s, associated with words such as excellent, fashionable or amazing; the equivalent of today’s “cool”
  10. filler/ filler word– words that do not really mean anything, often used in everyday speech when you need to pause, or when you’re thinking of what to say next, or as a habit.  Examples include: “Umm”, “Uh”, “Just”, “Yeah”, “You know what I’m saying?”, “You know what I mean?”…etc.


B. Comprehension:

Watch the video clip and answer the following questions:

Click here to watch the video

Video ©youtube.com(Jason Mraz - Official)
1.What festival did Jason Mraz and Crew play at in Borlänge, Sweden, in 2007?
  Love and Peace Festival Incorrect
  Peace and Love Festival Correct
  Peace Festival Incorrect
  Sweden Festival Incorrect
  
2.What was Jason’s initial reaction to Borlänge, and this festival? Why?
  he was freaked out, since the sun was barely going down Incorrect
  he was happy, because he was far away from Stockholm Incorrect
  he was skeptical, since he has never been there, and the streets were deserted Correct
  he was excited, because he has never attended such event Incorrect
  
3. Why was Jason surprised that people knew the lyrics of his songs?
This was because…
  he did not know they released his records in Sweden Incorrect
  he did not think he could hear them up there on the stage Incorrect
  Borlänge looks like a ghost town Correct
  he did not think they could speak English Incorrect
  
4. What did Jason decide to do after realizing the popularity of I’m Yours?
  start to sing and clap Incorrect
  put the record up in Sweden Incorrect
  put I’m yours on the next record Correct
  put his hands up in the air Incorrect
  
5. What did Jason think would be fun to make along with I’m Yours?
  I’m Yours in Swedish Incorrect
  brother and sister songs Correct
  meet his friends in Sweden Incorrect
  play with his Swedish fans Incorrect
  
6. According to Jason I’m Yours is primarily about:
  happiness and love Correct
  love and desire Incorrect
  friendship Incorrect
  romance Incorrect
  
7. What did Jason want for the rest of the songs on his album?
  to be as gloomy and simple, and spread as powerful a message as I’m Yours Incorrect
  to be as groovy and simple, and spread as powerful a message as I’m Yours Correct
  to be as happy and simple, and spread as powerful as message as I’m yours Incorrect
  to be as powerful as I’m yours Incorrect
  
8. What did Jason use in this segment as a filler word?
  like Incorrect
  you know Correct
  absolutely Incorrect
  crazy Incorrect


C. Word choice:

When speaking/writing in an informal setting, an English speaker may choose more informal words/ expressions (e.g. dadvs. father, kid vs. child,  etc.), and use contractions such as don't.

The following sentences/ phrases from the clip are relatively informal. Rewrite the sentences and change the words in bold to a more formal style. The first sentence has been done for you as an example.

1.The singing and clapping just absolutely freaked us out.
 Answer:
The singing and clapping just absolutely surprised/ scared us.
  
2. We couldn’t shake the smiles off our faces.
 


Your answer:

Answer:
We could not stop smiling (suggested answer only).
  
3. But we were desperately trying to sing the song and continue.  And it was just…mental!
 


Your answer:

Answer:
But we were desperately trying to sing the song and continue but it was just impossible (suggested answer only)!
  
4. I’m Yours has been sort of circulating around Sweden…
 


Your answer:

Answer:

I’m Yours has been circulating around Sweden to some extent (suggested answer only)

  
5. I’m Yours has been sort of circulating around Sweden, and around this part of the world for quite some time.
 


Your answer:

Answer:

I’m Yours has been somewhat(suggested answer only) circulating around Sweden, and around this part of the world for a considerable amount of time (suggested answer only).

  
6. This is bonkers!
 


Your answer:

Answer:

This is unpredictable/ crazy (suggested answer only)!

  
7. So it was a pretty neat experience.
 


Your answer:

Answer:

So it was an excellent (suggested answer only) experience.

  
8. I’ve got to make sure that I’m Yours is on the next record.
 


Your answer:

Answer:

I have to ensure (suggested answer only) that I’m Yours is on the next record.

  
9. I just want to make sure that the rest of the songs on the album are as groovy and simple, and spread as powerful a message as I’m Yours.
 


Your answer:

Answer:

I just want to make sure that the rest of the songs on the album are as attractive/ highly stimulating (suggested answer only) and simple, and spread as powerful a message as I’m Yours.


Part 2 - Interview 2: In Sweden

A. Culturally and contextually dependent vocabulary and phrases:

  Familiarize yourself with the following entries before watching the video.
  1. B Side -the secondary side of 7 inch vinyl record on which singles were released beginning in the 1950s, which contained a secondary song that often did not appear on the artist's LP
  2. it’s out there – “it is present”, “it exists”, or it is circulating out there
  3. I bet – same as “I am sure”
  4. beat-box – to make percussive sounds vocally, often done to simulate drum beats. Professionals can even sing while beat boxing at the same time
  5. groove – rhythm, pattern or drum beat
  6. Toca – Jason Mraz’s friend who is in charge of playing percussion in his band
  7. spontaneous – impromptu, spur of the moment, unplanned


B. Comprehension:

Watch the video clip and answer the following questions:

Click here to watch the video

Video ©youtube.com(Jason Mraz - Official)
1.Why was Jason surprised that the song was so well known?
Because…
  Jason played the song at a lot of shows Incorrect
  the song was the most popular song in Europe Incorrect
  the song was never properly released Correct
  
2.What did people think of I’m Yours in Europe?
  they loved it Correct
  they thought it’s popular Incorrect
  they found it uninteresting
Incorrect
  
3. I’m Yours was in fact released in Scandinavia along with its own…
  CD box set Incorrect
  karaoke Correct
  A – side record Incorrect
  special little tune Incorrect
  
4. Where did Jason write I’m Yours?
  in his bedroom Correct
  in his band room Incorrect
  in his studio Incorrect
  
5. What nationality is Cheryl Van Tricht?
  British Incorrect
  Dutch Correct
  Finnish Incorrect
  Swedish Incorrect
  
6. Jason thinks that most of his songs would sound better with:
  Toca Incorrect
  a groove Incorrect
  a microphone Correct
  a drum Incorrect
  
7. When Jason said “She didn’t care, man.” What did he mean?
  Cheryl did not want to perform with Jason at first. Incorrect
  Cheryl was not afraid to perform with Jason. Correct
  Cheryl was not aware of what Jason wanted her to do. Incorrect
  
8. What did Jason use repeatedly in this segment as a filler word?
  like Incorrect
  you know Correct
  absolutely Incorrect
  crazy Incorrect
  

Part 3 – Song: I’m yours
Jason Mras’s I’m yours is a complicated song covering a lot of different ideas and feelings with no clear audience in mind. For the sake of this exercise, let us assume that it is about Jason fancying a girl.

A. Pre-listening:

  Before listening to the song, familiarize yourself with the following culturally and contextually dependent vocabulary and phrases:
  1. done –finished.  In this context, the two consecutive “dones” borrows from the phrase “done did” which also means finished; so “done done me” means you definitely, already, finished/destroyed me
  2. you bet – definitely. Absolutely
  3. chill – relaxed, cool.  A play on words in this context, juxtaposing “hot”
  4. fell through the cracks – going unnoticed or neglected
  5. best-est – slang/expression for “the most best,” like “quickest” or “slowest.” This does not make sense logically, but works as an expression
  6. win some or learn some – the traditional saying goes like, “You win some, and you lose some”. Jason Mraz is being positive in saying that you learn from your mistakes, or you learn when you lose
  7. god-forsaken – usually means desolate, wretched, despairing. But in this case it means neglected – a neglected right
  8. scooch (over/closer) – an endearing or childlike way to say “move;” usually told to a child or a loved one to make space so that you can sit down next to them, or used in this case to ask them to come closer
  9. checking your tongue in the mirror – is something you do to make sure your tongue looks nice and clean before you meet a girl on a date, because you are expecting to kiss someone soon.  It could mean that he is too self-absorbed in this context
  10. bend over backwards – try very hard, usually to please someone else
  11. drew a new face – could mean drawing on the fogged up glass or himself taking on a new face, a new attitude
  12. I guess what I'm be saying is there ain't no better reason – a grammatically incorrect sentence by traditional standards.  Often used in slang or other dialects such as Jamaican, Pidgin, Ebonics, Hawaiian…etc.  The proper sentence being: I guess what I am saying is that there is not a better reason
  13. vanity - the quality or condition of being vain/ conceited


B. Listening comprehension:

Listen to the song below and answer the following questions.
Click here to watch the video

Video ©Official Jason Mraz (youtube.com)
1.“I reckon it’s again my turn to win some or learn some.”
To ‘reckon’ means
  to understand, to know Incorrect
  to think, to suppose, to consider Correct
  
2.Scooch on over closer dear, and I will nibble your ear
‘nibble’ =
  bite gently Correct
  twist Incorrect
  
3. “But my breath fogged up the glass. And so I drew a new face and I laughed.”
‘fogged up’ =
  to make blurry or unclear Correct
  to turn it white
Incorrect
  
4. “rid yourself of vanities and just go with the seasons.”
What does ‘go with the seasons’ mean in this context?
  to be natural, un-controlling, relaxed, let things be Correct
  to enjoy the seasons when they come Incorrect
  
5.
 
 

6. Parts of the song are explained/paraphrased below as a-f, some parts of the song have been omitted. Rearrange the letters in their order of appearance by listening to the song. Give yourself a couple of moments to familiarize yourself with the different parts.

 
 

Part 4 – Vocabulary Round-up
Complete the following sentences with the words provided in the box below. Use the appropriate form of the words to make your choice grammatically correct.


Interview 1 - the Story Behind I'm Yours

We went up to Borlänge in mid June of 2007 to the Peace and Love Festival up in Sweden where the sun barely goes down at that time of year. And we arrive into this place, 3 hours north of Stockholm, middle of nowhere. And the streets were deserted; it was this festival spread all over town.  And we thought, “What are we doing here?” You know, like this is absurd – we’ve never been to Scandinavia…you know…well this is…Alright, you know, we’ll play it, you know, and see what happens.  And right before we went on, all of a sudden, the street in front of us, this long dusty road in what looked like a ghost town, just *whooooosh*, filled up with people, and they all seemed very, genuinely excited to see us. You know? We’re like, you know? This is crazy, you know? I don’t know…I didn’t even know that we put out records up there, you know? But they seem to know the words, you know?

But then when we played I’m Yours, the place went even crazier. I could look down this street, what would look like as far as my eyes can see, people coming out of buildings, people coming from around corners, and every which way. Singing and clapping, and just absolutely freaked us out. Like, we couldn’t shake the smiles off of our faces. But we were desperately trying to sing the song and continue.  And it was just…Mental! And uh… But yeah, I had no idea, I had no idea what to expect and the next day in Stockholm, it was almost like after that moment we then began to hear and see it everywhere. And realize that I’m Yours has been sort of circulating around Sweden, and around this part of the world for quite some time, because we shared a cab with someone, couple of days later.  And, you know, they asked us what we were doing in town. I told them who we were. And they were like, “Oh my gosh! I’m Yours! It’s great!” This is, this is bonkers. You know?

So it was a pretty neat experience. You know? And I think that’s what…it was that moment, that I was like, “Man! I’ve got to make sure that I’m Yours is on the next record.” You know? Because, I wasn’t sure if it was even going to make it on a record because it had its own life and it just existed as it was. But I thought, no…you got to, you got to make it available and, I thought it’d be fun too, to have brother and sister songs to I’m Yours.

Really I’m Yours, the feeling of I’m Yours sort of became the foundation for the record. I’m Yours just expresses so much about happiness and love. I just want to make sure that the rest of the songs on the album, you know, are as groovy and simple and spread as powerful a message as I’m Yours.
Interview 2– Sweden

I’m Yours was a big surprise, cause that song was just a… it was like a B side to one of the singles from years ago. And of course I play it at a lot of shows, so it’s out there. It had never been released properly, and that was the most popular song over in Europe, for us. And that was what people really wanted to hear, they were coming up to sing along with it, and it just took us totally by surprise, you know. Especially up in Scandinavia, where we found out later that it had been released. Someone just took it, released it along with its own karaoke B side.

It’s just a special little tune that I wrote in my bed room, that I really never gave much credit to, until I started playing it live.

Cheryl Van Tricht, yeah, beat-box champion. Dutch female beat box champion. She approached me on the walk and she was like, “Hey! I’m Cheryl, I’m the Dutch beat-box champion.”  Like she just said it. And I’m like, “Oh. Go for it.” And she’s like, “ *drum sounds* I was like, “Man, I bet that sounds amazing on the microphone.” And she’s like, “It does!” I was like, “A lot of songs, really do help out when I have a groove,” and I didn’t have Toca with me, so I was like, “Cheryl, do you want to play the jazz festival with me tomorrow?” She said, “Absolutely.”  She didn’t care, man.  She just walked right on stage, and like, “hit it, Cheryl.” *drums sounds* …just going for it, and just set into this little groove. It was just amazing, you know? Again, so spontaneous.
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