Q&A: Mraz humbled by success of "little hippie song"

Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:22pm EDT
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By Silvio Pietroluongo

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Jason Mraz entered the record books this week with his single "I'm Yours," which notched an extraordinary 70th week on the Hot 100.

The track debuted on the May 3, 2008, chart and peaked at No. 6 nearly a year ago, on September 20, 2008. The song has resided within the top 40 of the list in all but the first 12 weeks of its chart life, dropping from No. 23 to No. 29 on the latest tally.

Multiformat airplay is one of the reasons for the staying power of "I'm Yours." It's the only track to reach No. 1 on each of the following four radio-based charts: Mainstream Top 40/Pop Songs, Adult Contemporary, Adult Top 40, and Triple A (adult alternative album). It also has appeared on the Latin Pop and Smooth Jazz lists, and debuted this week on Rhythmic. "I'm Yours" also ranks as the third-best-selling digital song (4.4 million downloads) since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking download sales in 2003.

The single surpassed the record held for nearly 11 years by LeAnn Rimes' signature hit "How Do I Live," which spent 69 weeks on the Hot 100, ending with the October 10, 1998, chart.

Billboard caught up with Mraz to chat about his record-breaking chart success, the inspiration behind "I'm Yours" and why Rimes should do a country remake of it.

Billboard: After enjoying multiformat success with "The Remedy" in 2003, did you feel that "I'm Yours" was the track that was going to not only equal that song's chart performance six years later, but wildly surpass it in so many ways?

Jason Mraz: I had little expectations about "I'm Yours" on the radio. I knew it was going to be great for the album, and I'd watched the song evolve and capture audiences for years. But I honestly thought radio was going to kill the quiet momentum the song already had. I was wrong. People just kept getting on board at both ends of the radio dial. I'm still blown away -- humbled by the success of my happy little hippie song.

Billboard: Were you aware that you were nearing the longevity record on the Hot 100 chart? And now that you've set it, what does it mean to you to hold a mark that no other artist has been able to achieve in the 51-year history of the chart?   Continued...

<p>Singer Jason Mraz performs on NBC's 'Today' show in New York, August 7, 2009. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid</p>