News & Reviews


Billboard - Jason Mraz Joins Joel Rafael on 'Strong': Exclusive Premiere

Joel Rafael partners with Jason Mraz on a repurposing of his song "Strong," premiering exclusively below, as part of his upcoming album Rose Avenue.


"The veteran singer-songwriter, Mraz and Michael Natter originally composed the track for a performance at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota, as part of the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests. 'Jackson Browne was invited to Standing Rock and invited me to go with John Trudell's band,' Rafael tells Billboard. He and Mraz, who live 15 minutes apart near San Diego, had previously worked together to help defeat a proposed real estate development in their hometown. 'Jason heard about (the Standing Rock concert) and was really anxious to help in any way he could. We only had about two weeks but we said, "Let's write a song."'"

""We wrote it for the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, people who risked all they risked to make an issue visible to other people who weren't aware of it," says Rafael, who co-wrote another Rose Avenue track, "Under Our Skin," with Mraz. "I put it on the record because clean water is an issue now. We all need clean water.""

"Rafael reflects on how Rose Avenue "'is very much motivated by the times we're going through right now ... so the songs that I wrote and put together kind of reflect my general feeling about that, on a few different levels. It wasn't something planned -- "Oh, I'm gonna make social commentary in my songs." I just kind of ended up going down that road because of who I am as a person, and probably because of people that inspired me.""

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