John Mayer



John Clayton Mayer (born October 16, 1977) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Originally from Connecticut, he briefly attended Berklee College of Music before moving to Atlanta, Georgia in 1998, where he refined his skills and began gaining a following. His first two studio albums, Room for Squares and Heavier Things, did well commercially, achieving multi-platinum status. In 2003, he won a Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Grammy for his signature song, "Your Body Is a Wonderland".

Mayer began his career performing mainly acoustic rock, but gradually made a transition towards the blues genre in 2005 (including collaborations with renowned blues artists such as BB King) and formed the John Mayer Trio. The blues influence can be seen on his album Continuum, released in September 2006. Mayer won Best Pop Vocal Album for Continuum and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Waiting on the World to Change" at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in 2007.

Mayer's career pursuits have extended to stand-up comedy, design, and writing; he has written pieces for magazines, most notably for Esquire. He is also involved in charity through his "Back to You" fund and his efforts in reversing global warming.

Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Mayer grew up in nearby Fairfield, the second of three sons. There, he became friends with future tennis star James Blake. Mayer mostly attended the former Fairfield High School, although he was enrolled in the Center for Global Studies at Brien McMahon High School (in Norwalk, Connecticut) for his junior year. Then known as the Center for Japanese Studies Abroad, it is a magnet program for students wanting to learn Japanese. Mayer listened to pop music as a child. During an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, he said that he had played the clarinet for a while in middle school, with minor success. After watching the Marty McFly character (Michael J. Fox) guitar performance in Back to The Future, he became fascinated with the instrument. Subsequently, at the age of thirteen, his father rented one for him.

Soon after getting his guitar, his neighbor gave him a Stevie Ray Vaughan cassette, which began Mayer's intense love of the blues. Despite the reservations of his parents, Mayer became consumed with playing the guitar, and after two years of practice, he started playing at blues bars and other venues in the area, while in high school. In addition to performing alone, he was in a band called Villanova Junction with Joe Beleznay, Tim Procaccini, and Rich Wolf.

When Mayer was seventeen, he was stricken with a cardiac arrhythmia that sent him to the hospital for a weekend. The trauma of the incident sparked his songwriting, and he penned his first lyrics the night he got home. Shortly thereafter, he began suffering from crippling panic attacks and even now he keeps Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug, with him.

Mayer played the guitar for several years before enrolling in the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts at the age of nineteen. After two semesters, he chose to cut his studies short, and at the urging of his college friend and Atlanta native, Clay Cook, the two moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Quickly making a name for their two-man band, LoFi Masters, they began their career in earnest there, frequenting the local coffee house and club circuit in venues like Eddie's Attic. Cook has said, however, that they began to experience musical differences due to Mayer's desire to take the duo in more of a pop direction. The two parted ways and Mayer embarked on a solo career.

With the help of local producer and engineer Glenn Matullo, Mayer recorded the independent EP Inside Wants Out. Cook is also cited as the co-writer of many of the songs from the EP, most notably, Mayer's first commercial single release "No Such Thing". The EP includes only eight songs, all with Mayer on lead vocals and guitars. For the opening track, "Back To You", a full band was enlisted, including the EP's co-producer David "DeLa" LaBruyere on bass guitars. Mayer and LaBruyere then began to tour throughout Georgia and the surrounding states.

Mayer's reputation began to build, and a March 2000 appearance at the South by Southwest Music Festival brought him to the attention of "launch" label Aware Records. After touring in the Aware Festival concerts and having his songs included on Aware compilations, in early 2001, Aware released Mayer's internet-only album entitled Room for Squares. During that time, Aware inked a deal with Columbia Records that gave Columbia first pick in signing Aware artists, and so in September of the same year, Columbia remixed and re-released Room for Squares. As part of the major label "debut", the album's artwork was updated, and the track "3X5" was added. The re-release also included reworked studio versions of the first four songs from his indie album, Inside Wants Out.

By the end of 2002, Room for Squares had spawned several radio hits, including "No Such Thing", "Your Body Is a Wonderland", and ultimately "Why Georgia" (a radio-only single). In 2003, Mayer won a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Your Body Is a Wonderland". In his acceptance speech he remarked, "This is very, very fast, and I promise to catch up." He also figuratively referred to himself as being sixteen, a remark that many mistook to mean that he was only sixteen years old at the time.

In 2003, Mayer released a live CD and DVD of a concert in Birmingham, Alabama entitled Any Given Thursday. The concert featured songs previously not recorded, such as "Man on the Side" (co-written with Cook) and "Something's Missing", which later appeared on Heavier Things. The concert also included "Covered In Rain". According to the accompanying DVD documentary this song is "part two" of the song "City Love", which features the line "covered in rain". Commercially, the album quickly peaked at number seventeen on the Billboard 200 chart. The CD/DVD received conservative, although consistent, praise, with critics torn between his pop-idol image, and (at the time) emerging guitar prowess. Erik Crawford (of All Music Guide) asked "Is he the consummate guitar hero exemplified when he plays a cover of Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'Lenny', or is he the teen idol that the pubescent girls shriek for after he plays 'Your Body Is a Wonderland?'"

Heavier Things, Mayer's second album, was released in 2003 to generally favorable reviews. Rolling Stone, All Music Guide and Blender all gave positive, although reserved, feedback, with PopMatters describing the album as "a sophomore effort that doesn't have as many drawbacks as one might assume". The album was commercially successful, and while it did not sell as well as Room for Squares, it peaked at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart. Mayer earned his first number one single with the song "Daughters", as well as a 2005 Grammy for Song of the Year, beating out fellow contenders Alicia Keys and Kanye West. He dedicated the award to his grandmother, Annie Hoffman, who died in May 2004. He also won Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, beating Elvis Costello, Prince, and Seal for the award. At the 37th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in 2006, Mayer was honored with the Hal David Starlight Award.

Mayer again recorded live concerts across seven nights of his U.S. tour in 2004. These recordings were released to the iTunes music store under the title as/is, indicating that the errors were included along with the good moments. A few months later, a "best of" CD was compiled from the as/is nights. The album included a previously unreleased cover of Marvin Gaye's song "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)", featuring a solo from Mayer's support act —- jazz and blues turntablist DJ Logic. All the album covers of the as/is releases feature drawings of anthropomorphic bunnies.

With increased exposure, Mayer's talent came into demand in other areas. Steve Jobs invited Mayer to perform during the keynote address of Apple's annual Macworld Conference & Expo, in January 2004, as Jobs introduced the software application GarageBand. The gig led to Mayer becoming a fixture of the event. He rejoined Jobs on stage for a solo performance at Macworld 2007, following the announcement of the iPhone. Additionally, in 2004, Mayer had one-shot half-hour comedy special on VH1, entitled John Mayer Has a TV Show, with antics including wearing a bear suit and anonymously teasing concertgoers in the parking lot outside one of his concerts. Mayer has also done endorsements, such as a Volkswagen commercial for the Beetle's guitar outlet and for the BlackBerry Curve.

Mayer began to collaborate extensively, often with artists working outside of his own genre. He worked with hip hop artists Kanye West and Common, appearing on Common's song "Go!" and was initially to be included on West's album Late Registration, although their collaboration "Bittersweet" remains unreleased.

Due to these collaborations, Mayer received praise from rap heavyweights like Jay-Z and Nelly. Spoofing his sudden ubiquity, TV comedy Family Guy referenced John Mayer in the 2005 episode Brian the Bachelor. When asked about his presence in the hip hop community, Mayer said, "It's not music out there right now. That's why, to me, hip-hop is where rock used to be."

It was around this time that Mayer began hinting a change in his musical interests, announcing that he was "closing up shop on acoustic sensitivity." In 2005, he began a string of collaborations with various blues artists, including Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, as well as the jazz artist John Scofield. He also toured with legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, which included a show at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. These collaborations led to recordings with several of these artists, namely, Clapton (Back Home, Crossroads Guitar Festival), Guy (Bring 'Em In), Scofield (That's What I Say) and King (80). Although Mayer has maintained a reputation for being a sensitive singer-songwriter, he has also gained distinction as an accomplished guitarist, influenced by the likes of the above artists, as well as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Cray and Freddie King.

In the spring of 2005, Mayer formed the John Mayer Trio with bassist Pino Palladino and drummer Steve Jordan, both of whom he had met through previous studio sessions. The trio played a combination of blues and rock music. In October 2005, the Trio opened for The Rolling Stones during a sold-out club tour of their own, and that November, released a live album called Try! The band took a break in mid-2006. On September 12, Mayer announced plans for the Trio to begin work on a future studio album.

Mayer's latest album, entitled Continuum, was released on September 12, 2006, and was produced by Mayer himself and Steve Jordan. Mayer suggested the album was intended to combine his signature pop music with the feel, sound, groove and sensibilities of the blues. In that vein, two of the tracks from his trio release Try! — the funky "Vultures" and the blues centerpiece "Gravity" — also were included on Continuum.

The first single from Continuum was "Waiting on the World to Change," which debuted on The Ron and Fez Show. The song was the third most downloaded song of the week on the iTunes Music Store following its release on July 11, 2006, and debuted at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. On August 23, 2006, Mayer debuted the entire album on the Los Angeles radio station Star 98.7, giving commentary on each track. A subsequent version was released the next day on the Clear Channel Music website as a streaming sneak preview. On September 21, 2006, Mayer appeared on CSI, playing "Waiting on the World to Change" and "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room". The song "Gravity" was featured on the television series House in the episode "Skin Deep". He recorded a session for the British program Live From Abbey Road at Abbey Road Studios on October 22, 2006.

On December 7, 2006, the 2007 Grammy nominees were announced. Mayer was nominated for five Grammys including the prestigious Album of the Year. John Mayer Trio also received a nomination for their album Try!. He won two: Best Pop Song with Vocal for "Waiting on the World to Change" and Best Pop Album for Continuum. Mayer remixed an acoustic version of his single, "Waiting on the World to Change" with vocal additions from fellow musician Ben Harper. In preparation for recording Continuum, Mayer had booked the Village Recorder in Los Angeles to record five demo acoustic versions of his songs with veteran musician Robbie McIntosh. These recordings became The Village Sessions, an EP released on December 12, 2006. As usual, Mayer oversaw the artwork of the release.

Mayer made the cover of Rolling Stone (#1020) in February 2007, along with John Frusciante and Derek Trucks. He was named as one of the "New Guitar Gods" and the cover nicknamed him "Slowhand, Jr.," a reference to Eric Clapton. Additionally, he was selected by the editors of Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2007, and was listed among artists and entertainers. On February 4, 2008, Mayer is due to headline "The Mayercraft Carrier", a three-day Caribbean cruise that will include a dozen other hand-picked artists. The event will be held in conjunction with Sixthman (a music event planner) and Carnival Cruise Lines.

In 2002, Mayer began the "Back To You" Fund, a non-profit organization that focuses on fundraising in the areas of health care, education, the arts, and talent development. The foundation raises funds through the auction of exclusive John Mayer items, such as plectrums, t-shirts, and signed CDs, made available on Mayer's auction site (managed by BusinessHere Inc.). The auctions have been successful, with tickets often selling for over seventeen times over their face value.

In an April 2007 blog entry, Mayer announced a new effort to help reverse global warming, dubbed "Another Kind of Green" (originally "Light Green", but changed because of copyright concerns). Central to Mayer's proposal is a mid-ranged approach to being ecologically aware: neither completely fearful nor completely ambivalent of global warming. In this vein, while generally maintaining his lifestyle, he is gradually designing and implementing "products that are cheap, easy alternatives to cut down on plastics," and encouraging others to do the same through his blog. He has also converted his tour bus to bio-diesel fuel. Mayer is partnering with Incase to produce items such as a reusable grocery bag and water bottles. Mayer also participated at the East Rutherford, New Jersey location of the Live Earth project, a musical rally to support awareness for global warming held on July 7, 2007. Additionally, on the summer leg of his 2007 tour, the evironmental advocacy group Reverb will set up informational booths and help his crew conserve energy.

In response to the Virginia Tech massacre, Mayer (along with Dave Matthews Band, Phil Vassar, and NaS) will perform a free concert at the university on September 6, 2007.

In a Rolling Stone interview, Mayer recalled that after former Columbia Records head, Don Ienner, panned Continuum, he briefly considered quitting music and studying design full time. Mayer's interest in design, however, had long manifested itself in a number of ways. In 2003, Martin Guitars gave Mayer his own signature model acoustic guitar called the OM-28 John Mayer. The guitar was limited to a run of only 404, Atlanta's area code. This model was followed by the release of two Fender signature Stratocaster electric guitars, beginning in 2005. A third Stratocaster, finished in charcoal frost metallic paint with a racing stripe, was also a limited-release, with only 100 guitars made. In August 2006, Fender started manufacturing SERIES II John Mayer Stratocasters. The new Olympic white with mint green pickguard and cream plastics replaced the shoreline gold model. In January 2007, Two Rock collaborated with Mayer on custom-designed amps. Only twenty-five (all signed by Mayer himself) were made available to the public. June 2007 saw the release of the "album art" guitar, with the CONTINUUM motif repeated on the face of the instrument. Not surprisingly, Mayer is a passionate collector of guitars, and in 2006 his collection was estimated at over 200.

In addition to guitars, Mayer's handiwork ranges from T-shirts, guitar totes and, most dear to his heart, sneakers. In August 2006, Mayer started JMltd, a minor clothing line of Mayer-themed merchandise that he has designed. The products are currently available only at his shows, as of his 2007 summer tour, although he has said they will eventually be available online.

With the June 1, 2004 issue of Esquire, Mayer began a column called "Music Lessons with John Mayer". Each article featured a lesson (some more scholarly than others) and his take on various topics, both of personal and popular interest. In the August 2005 issue he invited readers to create music for orphaned lyrics he had written. The winner was Tim Fagan of L.A., as announced in the following January's issue.

Mayer is active online, and maintains four blogs: a MySpace page, a blog at his official site, another at Honeyee.com, as well as a photoblog at StunningNikon.com. Although they primarily deal with career-related matters, they also contain jokes, comic videos, his convictions, and his personal activities; they occasionally overlap in content. He is noted for writing the blogs himself, and not through a publicist.

Stand-up comedy is a growing hobby of Mayer's. He makes regular, although random, appearances at the famed Comedy Cellar when he is in New York. He says that although it is risky, it helps him write better.

Despite being principally a solo musician, Mayer has toured with many groups, including Maroon 5, Guster, Counting Crows, Ben Folds, The Wallflowers, Teitur, and Sheryl Crow. Crow and Mayer, who had just previously appeared on the Cars Soundtrack together, co-headlined a tour that ran from August to October 2006. Shortly thereafter, he began promoting Continuum in Europe with his band, as he has yet to reach the popularity abroad that he enjoys in North America. Beyond this, other international dates that included United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. The initial North American leg wrapped on February 28, 2007 with a show at Madison Square Garden, a performance which the New York Post described as "career-defining." Mayer's current 2007 touring band consists of:

* David Ryan Harris: guitar and backing vocals
* Robbie McIntosh: guitar
* David LaBruyere: bass
* J.J. Johnson: drums
* Bob Reynolds: saxophones and flutes
* Brad Mason: trumpet and flugel horn
* Tim Bradshaw: keyboards, organ, and vocals

Previous members of Mayer's live band include:

* Michael Chaves: guitars, keyboards and backing vocals
* Stephen Chopek: drums and percussion
* Onree Gill: keyboards
* Kevin Lovejoy: keyboards
* Ricky Peterson: keyboards, organ, and vocals
* Chuck McKinnon: trumpet and flugel horn
* Chris Karlic: saxophones and flutes
* Erik Jekabson: trumpet

Mayer allows audio taping at most of his live performances, and he also allows for the non-commercial trading of those recordings. He does this to give fans the opportunity to recreate the live experience, and to encourage fan interaction.

Mayer has a number of tattoos. These include: "Home" and "Life" (from the song title) on the back of his left and right arms respectively, "SRV" (for his idol Stevie Ray Vaughan), "77" (his year of birth) on the left side of his chest, a dragon-like figure on his left inner arm and a koi-like fish on his right shoulder. In 2003, he got a tattoo of three squares on his right forearm, which, he has explained, he will fill in gradually. As of 2007, two are filled.

He is an avid collector of watches, and owns timepieces costing into the tens of thousands of dollars. Mayer also has an extensive collection of sneakers, estimated (in 2006) at over 200 pairs. Although he has never been diagnosed by a medical professional, Mayer claims to experience music → color synesthesia, or the sensation of "hearing colors," which he mentioned in a Rolling Stone interview.

Mayer dated Jennifer Love Hewitt briefly in 2002. In a comedy routine in May 2006, he joked they never consummated their relationship; he later apologized to her for the raunchy routine. Despite rumors to the contrary, Mayer did not date Heidi Klum in 2003. Mayer dated Jessica Simpson for about nine months, beginning in the summer of 2006. Rumors started in August of that year with a People magazine article, but kicked into high gear when Mayer and Simpson spent New Year's holiday together in New York City, both attending Christina Aguilera's New Years Eve party. On the red carpet of the 2007 Grammy Awards, Ryan Seacrest asked Mayer about his relationship with Simpson, but Mayer cryptically responded in Japanese. Despite some initially conflicting translations, he said "Jessica is a lovely woman, and I'm glad to be with her." Simpson also accompanied Mayer for several dates of his 2007 Continuum tour, and the two went on a trip to Rome in March of that year. However, the couple split in May 2007.

Mayer resides in a suburb of Los Angeles with his roommate and sound engineer Chad Franscoviak. He also has an apartment in New York City.

Albums:

* Inside Wants Out (EP), Indie release date: September 24, 1999, Major label release date: August 2, 2002
* Room for Squares, US release date: September 18, 2001
* Any Given Thursday (Live), US release date: February 11, 2003
* Heavier Things, US release date: September 9, 2003
* As/Is (Live), US release date: October 19, 2004
* Continuum, US release date: September 12, 2006
* The Village Sessions (Live EP), US release date: December 12, 2006Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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