Jason Mraz says he has "tons and tons of material" for his next album -- and may, in fact, be working on two.
"I've got two very different-sounding albums," Mraz, who won two Grammy awards for 2008's platinum "We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things," tells Billboard.com. "If I cut all of the material in half, I've got something that's fresh for the summer, ready for people to dance to, and I've got something else that's a little different, a little more lush and tender. "I kinda hope that I do [have two albums] because I've been doing three years between each album now...But I've got so much stuff right now that it hurts my feelings to leave some of it off one album, and I would like to know that I'll have a follow-up album all ready to go."
Mraz's new work -- which he describes as "just all varieties of pop, really" -- is marked by a number of interesting collaborations as well. Last November he and Willie Nelson got together to record "The Way is Love," an unreleased Roy Orbison song that was demoed about six months before his death in 1988. "He recorded it just on a hand-held dictaphone," Mraz says, "and his wife [Barbara Orbison] sent us a copy. No one's ever recorded it or released it, so we're gonna give it a shot."
Meanwhile, Mraz went to Brazil in May to record a love song called "Simplesmente Todo (Simply All)" with Milton Nascimiento, who sings in Portuguese while Mraz performs in English. "I was always a fan of his music," Mraz says. "I never understood a word he was saying, but something about the tone and the sounds... in his music was definitely resonating with me." Mraz also did some writing with Dido, which he expects to be "the first of a few sessions...that could be a really beautiful pairing."
Mraz has already recorded some of the new material with "We Sing"'s U.K.-based producer Martin Terefe. "If I had to hang my hat up today, I'd definitely be happy about the record I could put out," he reports. But Mraz is using a four-week North American tour that begins Sept. 11 -- and includes an appearance at Farm Aid on Oct. 2 in Milwaukee -- to road test some of the new songs, including "Sandiscoreggaefornia," "In Your Hands" and "Disco DIY," before returning to the studio in mid-October.
"We're giving ourselves this opportunity to tour and see what else gets added or tweaked before we kind of do the final mixes in October-November," Mraz explains. "My goal is to have everything wrapped up in early November and at the early part of 2011 hit the road and start visiting all the countries again."