Live ’n’ loud: John Mayer’s new outlook on life ...............
John Mayer has new outlook on life, writes Mesfin Fekadu
JOHN Mayer says his new album, Paradise Valley, marks a new chapter in his career.
He’s no longer obsessing about dominating the charts, though his decade-long career has included platinum-plus albums and Top 40 hits.
‘‘I’m getting older and people seem to be staying the same age . . . so at any moment if someone says, ‘It was really nice having you, just if you don’t mind stepping this way?’ I would go, ‘Oh, I get it. I get it’,’’ he says.
This attitude is part of Mayer’s new approach after becoming a changed man. He even checks himself when he sees moments of success, like when the music video of his first single, Paper Doll, earned millions of views in its first days online.
‘‘You think you’re really crushing it and you look at Miley Cyrus’s video and there’s like 46 million,’’ Mayer says, referring to Cyrus’s edgy We Can’t Stop, which has racked up 148 million views.
Mayer is as talkative as ever but seems to have a new sense of calmness as he discussed how his life has shifted in the last three years.
He overcame a throat injury thanks to Botox injections last year but the injury left him on voice rest for months.
‘‘I don’t drink really anymore. I warm up before I sing. I warm down,’’ he says.
‘‘I do whatever I can. I don’t want to lose that part of my life again.’’
His voice isn’t fully recovered but he was able to record Paradise Valley.
The 11-track set, which features girlfriend Katy Perry and Frank Ocean, has a cool, light feel that merges pop, country and blues sounds.
Mayer wrote some of it – like Dear Marie, about his first love – last year. Newer tracks were added months ago, like the confessional duet with Perry.
The new album comes one year after Born and Raised, though he normally takes longer breaks between albums.
‘‘Maybe all the crazy years, the noisy kind of years were just to get to a place where I could have tenure and put a record out,’’ Mayer says, thinking to himself.
The ‘‘crazy years’’ have been welldocumented. They include his famous girlfriends, Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson among them, and infamous breakups.
His overshares on Twitter led him to shut down his account. Some attempts at humour backfired, including an inflammatory Playboy interview that led him to bolt the spotlight that he once craved so badly.
Instead of being known for his Grammy-winning artistry – Rolling Stone crowned him one of the contemporary guitar gods – he was becoming known as an unsavoury tabloid character.
But he knows he was the root of most of the drama that surrounded him, damaged his image and put his singing career in the back seat.
‘‘My pulse beats a whole different way now. It’s like there’s no possible way I could stay the same human being that I was in 2010,’’ he says.
Some people might question how much he has changed given that he hasn’t quit one habit – having a celebrity girlfriend. Perry appears on Who You Love, a raw, acoustic-based tune about innocently falling in love. He’s open when talking about the pop star. He says he loves her nearly a dozen times in this interview.
And while Perry and Mayer broke up a few times during their yearlong courtship, listening to Mayer, he hints that he’s in for the long haul.
‘‘I remember handing a camera off to one of the guys in the studio, like, ‘We need a picture of us at the board so when we get old and grey there’s a picture of us looking cool making music in LA’.’’
John Mayer plays the Byron Bay Bluesfest, at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, from April 17-21.
John Mayer’s new album features collaborations with his girlfriend, Katy Perry, and R’n’B singer Frank Ocean.