HITS Daily Double
"This is the artist development story of the year."
——Sylvia Rhone, Elektra Chairman/CEO


Mraz’s Label Debut Still Selling Strong After a Year in Release
Elektra’s been waiting for Jason Mraz’s career Rocket to Come—and that patience is now being rewarded.

A year since his label debut, Waiting for My Rocket to Come, was released last Oct., Mraz is on his way to take his place among the pop-music stars.

Elektra Chairman/CEO Sylvia Rhone said the company was committed from the start. "The challenge facing a record label today is the reality that only 10-15% of new artists released will be successful. The reward comes on a release like Jason’s when you beat those odds. We broke a career artist with a relentless team effort from the staffs at the label and WEA, to international and an outstanding management company, headed by Bill Silva, to Jason himself, who hasn’t stopped working since this album was launched. This is the artist development story of the year."

Mechanicsville, VA, native Mraz moved to San Diego in 1999, where he broke out of the same coffeehouse scene that produced Jewel. That live act would become the basis for the label’s marketing and development strategy.

Elektra and Silva took the long-term approach, concentrating on building his fan base by having the singer-songwriter tour, tour and tour some more—including numerous retail in-stores. The singer-songwriter performed on Kilborn the week of release, with the label sending out tapes of the show to press.

The slow growth included holding off releasing the first single, "The Remedy," co-written with The Matrix, until January of this year, allowing Mraz to build popularity one club audience at a time. A year later, Mraz has a sizable following—thanks to word of mouth spread via the Internet about his amazing performances. The story behind "The Remedy," about a close childhood friend who had a brush with cancer, became one of the main media selling points.

The second (and current) single, "You and I Both," debuted on Fox’s The OC this summer and has been part of AOL’s promotion for the TV series. The song is now at Hot AC, as Mraz and Elektra continue to reap the rewards of steady growth. The album was certified Gold in August and has shipped more than 550k.

Exec VP/GM Greg Thompson added: "I’m proud of the job our staff did. Even with the distractions, we never blinked. We realized we had a special artist when we saw how he connected with the public. In a tough climate, we stayed aggressive on retail pricing, touring, TV, radio, video, the press and the Internet. We knew, no matter how long the road, we had to travel it, because there’s a real long-term career here."

Among some of the other highlights:

* "Remedy" is still receiving MTV and VH1 airplay.
* "Remedy" went Top 10 at Top 40 and #1 at APM, and is still Top 10 at Hot AC.
* VH1 was instrumental in getting behind Mraz at an early stage.
* Launch "Emerging Artist Program" was instrumental in establishing his Internet presence early in the project.
* U.S. tour, including dates with Michelle Branch, through the holidays.
* Has appeared on Conan, Kilborn, Leno, Letterman, PepsiSmash, Good Morning America, The View, and Monday Night Football—performing with Detroit LionsJoey Harrington.
* Upcoming TV appearances include Leno (Nov. 7), presenting at the American Music Awards (Nov. 16), Austin City Limits (Dec. 20), and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rocking Eve.
* Press: People, Teen Vogue, Cosmo Girl, Elle Girl, USA Weekend. Pieces have already run in Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and pretty much everywhere else.