After dark times, Jason Mraz brings the 'Love'

NEW YORK (AP) — Don't let Jason Mraz's optimistic demeanor fool you: He can be dark, and he's got songs to prove it.

You just may never hear them.

The singer-songwriter, known for feel-good hits like "I'm Yours" and "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)," says he's recorded a ton of heavier tunes that remain on his laptop. He chooses not to share them with fans, partly because he doesn't want to tour a ton of sad songs.

In the process of creating the positive tunes, he says he comes up with the depressing ones first.

"I have to get a lot out of me first before I can get to that place ... where I can choose to celebrate life," he said. "It's those celebrating songs that end up on the album."

Mraz, 33, says he would like to release his melancholy material, but is still searching for the right way to present it.

He has an eight-year-old song that he calls both "beautiful" and "heavy," and he's re-working it so that it may one day see the light of day.

"I'd rather uplift and inspire, and you can also do that in darker tunes," he said. "I have to carefully place those and I feel the fewer, the better."

His new album, "Love Is a Four Letter Word," has its gloomy moments. "I Won't Give Up," the first single and Billboard Top 10 hit, is a searing song about his recent break-up. Mraz announced his split from his ex-fiancée in December 2010. He says he wrote "I Won't Give Up" to help him figure out what was going on in his life.

"I knew there were some things I believed in that I didn't want to give up on, and this song was proof to me that I was working through it," he said. "In my relationship I didn't know the outcome, but that wasn't the point. The point was, no matter what the outcome, I don't have to give up on loving this person, or I don't have to give up on the friendship."

And he says he and his former girlfriend now have "one of the best relationships." He played "I Won't Give Up" for her, and she "thought it was beautiful."

"We butt heads, but we also know how to celebrate each other and be grateful for each other in life and have inspired so much for the other, and have healed so much," he said.

"Love," released this week, is Mraz's fourth album. It follows 2008's Grammy-winning "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things." — a platinum-seller that featured "I'm Yours," which has sold six million tracks and holds the record for the longest-running song on Billboard's Hot 100 chart with 76 weeks.

Mraz started writing material two years ago, and the 12 tracks that made the album emerged toward the end.

"I not only had my heart burst open, but I had the capacity to mend it back together and see what this album was going to be about," said Mraz, who will launch an international tour in June.

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Online:

http://jasonmraz.com/four-letter-word/

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Mesfin Fekadu covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/musicmesfin.

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