Singer/songwriter Jason Mraz’s emergence as one of the strongest dancers on “Dancing With the Stars” surprised everyone, including himself. “I didn’t know I had it in me,” he told TheWrap ahead of Week 7 of the ABC competition series, where he’ll be dancing to ’80s hit “Take On Me.”
The Grammy-winning singer said he fully intends to “sprinkle in moments of dance” when he goes out on tour again in 2024. “I think ticket holders are very much expecting me to dance now,” he said.
Learn more about the performer’s journey on the show, how he’s gearing up for the next episode and when he might hit the road with his band next.
TheWrap: I think people were surprised that you’re such a good dancer. Did you have previous dance experience?
Jason Mraz: No, what little experience I had was in high school and college. I was in show choir as a kid so we did kickball changes and box step and step touch, some very basic moves. But that was 25 or 30 years ago. I just didn’t know I had it in me. But this show will bring it out for anyone. You get paired with a world-class, if not world champion, professional who’s going to teach you how to dance at the best level that you can possibly dance.
You and your partner Daniella Karagach earned the first 9 of the season on Week 3’s Motown Night. Are you looking for that next 9 or a 10? Or do you just try to have fun?
Yeah, my approach is to just have fun. Take it one day at a time and one dance at a time. I can’t really look back and assume that my [past] scores are going to help me this week. I just have to keep putting in the hours and dancing to the best of my ability.
How did this offer first come your way?
I put out an album this year with a lead single, “I Feel Like Dancing.” We also did a “Good Morning America” appearance similar to how we did the video, in one take, moving through the venue. It’s very much like what “Dancing with the Stars” is, where you get one take one shot to dance your way through a number on television. I like to think that caught the eye of the producers. I was out there in the world saying I feel like dancing, singing it every night on tour, and the universe heard it. And now I’m on the Olympics of dance.
Is it easier to dance to your own songs, like you did on the first night, or more difficult?
Oh easier. I do enjoy the bonus of getting to dance to my own song or voice. I got to sing “On the Road Again” on My Most Memorable Year Night, I got to sing the cover, which is just wonderful because [touring] is my first love.
Will you be incorporating more dancing in your concerts?
I’m looking forward to getting back on the road with my band next year and I will definitely be sprinkling in moments of dance. Because how can I not? I think ticket holders are very much expecting me to dance now.
What’s been your favorite dance so far?
The jive was a wonderful dance. I always admired swing dancers, the speed and the levitation, and so to tiptoe into that with the jive was quite fun. I love the high-energy, goofy songs because I can go back to my old humor approach. But I’ve of course got a pro to kind of tame and help me present it in a more fun way.
So you have kind of the same issue as Alyson Hannigan, where they kept telling her to not be so goofy?
Definitely. One of the best pieces of advice [Daniella] gave me was to really have fun with it, almost to the point of making fun of it, because some of the moves do feel silly. Like, why am I standing in this position? So rather than feel silly, make fun of it and let your body exaggerate all these expressions. I think that’s probably why I’m doing so well, because I’m allowing myself to not be too stiff and just open up and have fun.
What are you working on for Week 7? Have you started rehearsing that already?
Oh, yeah. There’s no days off. We have multiple rehearsals Friday, Saturday and Sunday because we’re going into two dances this week. I get to dance a jazz this week, which is very exciting because it’s most like the kind of dance that we would do in music videos or we would have done in show choir. It’s very loose, pop hip hop so it’s open to improvisation. We’re dancing to “Take on Me” by A-ha.
Will your dance have a nod to the animation style in the video?
We’re trying to figure that out, both in wardrobe and in the creative, the lights and the images behind us. So we’re still dreaming that up and trying to try to pull that together. But yeah, that’s the goal.
Will there be jazz hands?
Of course. There will definitely be jazz hands.
When do you go back on tour?
We start in July. I’m gonna leave my calendar open. Might just be a fan and follow the “Dancing with the Stars” tour and watch them dance every night. In the spring, I might do some recording and then hit the road in the summertime.
If you make it to the Final Four, there’s a chance you could be part of the touring show, is that right?
I don’t really know what the rules are. But, I’ve fallen in love with these people and I’d love to see what they do on the road. And they’re playing in some of my favorite cities. The tour actually starts in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia. I might be popping in even if I’m just standing in the lobby passing out flyers or brochures or selling merch.
“Dancing With the Stars” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.
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