So in this article, I’m going to describe how to sing like Jason Mraz in his song “I Won’t Give Up.” This song to me is not only a sweet song, but it’s a great example of vocal control and release.
In the first verse, he starts by singing with a very light coordination in the voice that’s both legato, but also very light and fluid… really more spoken than sung. This to me creates more of a genuine sound because it sounds like he’s having a sincere conversation more so than singing at someone.
Now, listen specifically to the ends of the phrase and how they all end with a continued flow of air. Some singers utilize a “glottal stop,” which basically means that they close the cord when they stop singing. Jason Mraz, however, takes this to the other extreme, continuing the flow of air after he’s completed the phrases. To me, this helps create a gentleness to the sound, which adds to the whole sweetness factor of the song.
The first chorus is down the octave, giving plenty of room to grow in intensity.
The second verse grows slightly in intensity, but it’s not until we get to “cause even the stars they burn…” that we start seeing something really different.
At this point, he starts varying the phrasing of the song. He goes from a smooth and connected phrasing to a more staccato phrasing. This along with the jump up the octave helps grow the intensity of the song very quickly.
For variety, we go to the bridge. This brings the melody line down slightly, but keeps a driving beat with a smooth melody line on top of it. Here, the music is creating more of the build, while the singer is speaking with emphasis, but still staying connected (I’d argue the legato sound is equally created by holding the consonants here as much as it is extending the vowels).
Finally, the song erupts back into the chorus, which jumps up higher AND gets more staccato, which we already discussed helps build intensity. After he completes this, he brings the music back down at the end to go back to that sweet, gentle sound. To me, this is almost the after glow after the climax, reminding the listener of more of a sensitive side. Lol… if that makes sense.
All in all, I think this song paints a wonderful picture of a gentle, sweet and sincere love song. Hopefully some of the ideas in this article help you understand just how he’s able to create that feeling so effectively.
If you hear anything else that I may have missed, or you simply want to share a thought, feel free to do so in the comment field below.
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Vocal Coach Ken Taylor