Live ’n’ loud: John Mayer’s new out­look on life ...............

John Mayer has new out­look on life, writes Mes­fin Fekadu

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY CONTENTS -

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.

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