Edge

The Mayer of Grammy-ville

No stranger to the Grammy’s, singer-songwriter John Mayer is nominated for five awards at the upcoming 49th Grammy Awards. While his previous wins include both Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Song of the Year, Mayer hopes to walk away a winner again.

However, with his third album release, “Continuum,” the success of his John Mayer Trio album “Try!” and his upcoming tour, Mayer already seems like a winner.

“It scares me to think that I could put out an album that I think is my best yet and fans say that it’s a piece of crap, a gag/joke cd before the real one,” Mayer said. “My biggest fear is losing touch; [but]I like the possibility of failure.”

“Continuum” gave Mayer his first experience of producing and marked his transition from a pop/rock artist to the more mellow and mature pop and blues.

“I felt like I was writing my new first record; [the first two]were like a Whitman sample of songwriting. I wanted the core of every song to be tight and compact,” Mayer said. “All the songs play off having a soul music-type vibe. Soul music has never tired on me and I tried to piggyback off their mechanics. I’m experimenting with what makes songs last.”

His first impression of blues music was from Stevie Ray Vaughan – a less traditional blues/pop artist according to Mayer.

“It is very difficult to combines pop and blues, they don’t really get along very well. Hearing it [Stevie Ray Vaughan] at thirteen and fourteen makes you hunger for a new sound,” Mayer said.

Mayer’s third album marks his entrance into maturity. Songs from “Continuum” deal with a range of issues such as relationship to politics and the responsibility of growing older.

Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change” track is up for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at this year’s Grammy’s, and according to Mayer, it describes the center between politics and emotions. Lyrics play with the idea of his generation growing older and restless and wanting to make a change, but not quite sure how to go about it, “it’s not that we don’t care/we just know that the fight ain’t fair/so we keep on waiting/waiting on the world to change.”

Mayer’s tour kicks off this week and visits the BankUnited Center for his second performance on January 26. VH1’s You Oughta Know artist Mat Kearney will be opener for some of Mayer’s tour dates

“What I’ve learned is that I don’t love being home as much as I thought I did,” Mayer said. “[The show] won’t just be a combo of songs; it’ll be a stage with a real show set.”

Before starting his career, Mayer briefly attended Berklee College of Music, and is excited about bringing the tour back to his beginnings.

“That’s where I got my start musically; it’s where I came to life as a musician. I kind of know where they are walking home to after the concert,” Mayer said.

A self-professed blabbermouth, Mayer concentrates on the songwriting process. With the track “Heart of Life” from “Continuum” Mayer said he was “chained to the song” and didn’t leave the house for weeks once he started writing.

“I like to explain everything and I don’t like to hold onto it. It’s like having to get something out and not being able to live with it inside,” Mayer said.

“I follow these moments where you lose focus/track of time. I can’t go to sleep if I’m in the middle of writing.”

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer and . soon to be

stand up comedian? In 2004, Mayer first experimented with comedy in his one-time

half-hour comedy special on VH1 “John Mayer Has a TV Show,” and it’s grown on him since.

“I do it [stand-up comedy] more as a hobby,” Mayer said. “It’s a creative side, an extra curricular pursuit. It’s about focusing a writing and performing skill. And I’m saying this defensively in case people think I’m crazy.”

While fans might be able to catch Mayer on a comedy tour circuit soon, seeing him on the big screen might take a little longer.

“If I’m going to do it [act in movies], it’ll be because I came to as close as climbing the same arc/struggle as anyone else did. I believe in the sanctity of paying your dues,” Mayer said.

Mayer’s biggest fear is losing touch and with his blog and myspace page he seems to be keeping in touch not only with his fans, but with new music and himself. Each month, Mayer is featuring a song from a new, “undiscovered” band on his myspace page.

“[I want to] use my position to find bands that are just starting out. If I can take one sliver of my Myspace page and hand it to another band [to help them out],” Mayer said.

While Mayer will be busy with his upcoming tour, fans can be sure to expect great things from this ever-changing and maturing artist.

“A legendary career has its ups and downs. I’m not sure of my next project but I’ll take it as it comes,” Mayer said.

And while maybe it’s because he collects watches or is a fan of the “Back to the Future” trilogy, Mayer’s fascination with time and his knack for capturing the moment continues with “Continuum.”

Bari Lieberman is the EDGE Editor and can be contacted at b.lieberman@umiami.edu.

January 23, 2007

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