Singer Jason Mraz: Too much political 'combat' in Washington
© ASCAP Foundation, We Write the Songs event

Hit singer-songwriter Jason Mraz says that while he is frustrated by much of what he sees in Washington, he isn't letting that affect his music or storytelling.

“I am more spirit-based, and more human-emotion based,” Mraz told The Hill Wednesday. “And sometimes I feel like that’s absent in our political system. I feel like there’s a lot of combat and harsh words and I prefer kindness and generosity.

“I do write frustrated songs, but those aren’t the songs that I bring to the general public,” he continued. “It’s not what I want to be remembered for, and that’s not the service I want to provide to listeners and especially to today’s youth.”

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Mraz was in the nation's capital on Wednesday night for the tenth annual "We Write the Songs" concert, hosted by the American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers Foundation (ASCAP) at the Library of Congress.

Mraz performed two of his best-known hits, “I’m Yours” and “I Won’t Give Up,” alongside students from the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community (SPARC), which Mraz once attended. Both performances received standing ovations.

Others performers included Mike Love of the Beach Boys, who performed the group's hits "California Girls" and "Good Vibrations," as well as Michael McDonald, Johntá Austin, Brandy Clark and Suzanne Vega, who sang her 1981 hit "Tom's Diner."

The concert is the lead-in to an annual effort coordinated by ASCAP to bring attention to the issues facing songwriters and other music creators.

On Thursday, members will gather on Capitol Hill to encourage senators to pass the Music Modernization Act, which would update music licensing laws. The bill has already passed the House in an overwhelming 415-0 vote.

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ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams was encouraged by the turnout of lawmakers at the event and praised their efforts.

“Everybody gave a little, and this is not a perfect deal for anybody,” the Hall of Fame songwriter told The Hill, praising the negotiations to get the bill. “But everybody followed that rule of like, don’t lose good to perfect; don’t let perfect destroy good.”

Mraz is also optimistic about the bill.

He became emotional on stage while telling the story behind “I Won’t Give Up,” which he wrote with Michael Natter. Mraz said Natter had been struggling his entire life for his big break before the song's release

“Thanks to this song and a few other cuts on that record, my friend Michael Natter, my collaborator, was finally able to retire and call himself a songwriter in dignity,” Mraz said.

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