When John Mayer came out of the shadow
For over a year now, musician John Mayer has been battling with granuloma in his throat and has yet managed to release a successful album, Born And Raised. Mayer gets talking about his album and experiencing happiness akin to that of releasing his very first album
You’ve had a tough year. How have you managed to cope with your physical and emotional stress and come up with an album? Is that why your recent album took some time to come out?
I was frustrated for a few days. I would lie in bed all day, listening to Bob Dylan’s Freewheelin’ or Times They Are a-Changin’; I would find happiness in finding such great music. I was in a weird phase, because I used to get excited and upset with myself because I heard someone do something that I would love to have come out of me. I had really started wondering if I could find the excitement that usually accompanies someone’s first record. Somewhere inside me, there was something that I had found, similar to discovering music back in High school. Now, I had this kind of fresh download, not just musically but also lifestyle wise — I wanted to give it all back to music again. So, I went into Electric Lady Studios and it became a safe place.
How are you doing these days?
I am up and running and living my life with the flow. I am waiting for surprises that will be thrown up on me.
Born and Raised has several different (there’s Soul, a lot of Country) and new sounds. What were your inspirations for this album?
I wasn’t writing for Born and Raised with the anticipation that it was going to be adored by just Australia but world over. It was about going back to the process of having a great idea that you could play on the piano or a guitar, and those are just really hard to write. The process, if you don’t hit it, is terrible. The process of... when you’re in a studio and you got other people listening to you, you can’t help but have a performance mentality. I think, many times, people want to have a loop going, and a drum machine going, so that people get satisfied around you. What I would do is go behind the microphone and say hey, could you turn me down in there? So, I was the only person hearing it. But what wasn’t there was discouragement about other people worrying that other people would like to be somewhere else. And then, I’d text and say turn me up and I’d have the chorus to “Shadow Days,” and then, I would work from there. But, this is not about will anyone like this? I feel like it’s an old record in a sense that it’s what you get if you only focus on writing a record. And again, I don’t think I’ll ever do it differently. If you write without worrying about what it is you got, you really can plum some depths.
You have included some of personal memoirs (your childhood and love life too) with your song writing for this album. What led to that?
This time I had made my music because it made me contented. I heard the tunes repeatedly. I didn’t pay attention to the groove or the sound of it, just made sure that they were pure at the core of the composition of lyric and melody. Born and Raised was the song that showed me that if you’re honest, if you’re a little braver than you want to be, it can pay off.
Till date, who has been the most interesting person you have collaborated with? Any plans to work with an Indian artist or come to India?
I loved working with everybody associated with this record. It’s always a pleasure to play for fans. I have heard that music scene is huge in India, would love to perform for the music soiree here.
Born and Raised, John Mayer, Sony Music, `499. Available at leading music stores.