John Clayton Mayer (/ˈmeɪ.ər/) (born October 16, 1977) is an American singer-songwriter and producer. He was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and raised in Fairfield. Mayer attended Berklee College of Music in Boston and moved to Atlanta in 1997, where he refined his skills and gained a following, and he now lives in Montana. His first two studio albums, Room for Squares (2001) and Heavier Things (2003), did well commercially, achieving multi-platinum status. In 2003, he won a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Your Body Is a Wonderland."
Mayer began his career performing mainly acoustic rock, but gradually began a transition towards the blues genre in 2005 by collaborating with renowned blues artists such as B. B. King, Buddy Guy, and Eric Clapton, and by forming the John Mayer Trio. The blues influence can be heard throughout his 2005 live album Try! with the John Mayer Trio and his third studio album Continuum, released in September 2006. At the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in 2007, Mayer won Best Pop Vocal Album for Continuum and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Waiting on the World to Change". He released his fourth studio album, Battle Studies, in November 2009. His fifth album, Born and Raised, which saw another musical style shift, was released in May 2012, followed by his sixth album Paradise Valley in August 2013. He has sold over 14.8 million albums in the U.S. and over 20 million albums worldwide.
Mayer's career pursuits have extended to comedy, graphic design, television hosting, and writing; he has written pieces for magazines, most notably for Esquire. He has performed at charity organizations and participates in various environmental causes.
John Clayton Mayer was born on October 16, 1977 in Bridgeport, Connecticut to Richard and Margaret Mayer, and grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut. Mayer has a younger brother named Ben and an older brother named Carl. His father is Jewish; Mayer has identified himself as "half-Jewish", and has said that he finds himself "relating to Judaism". He attended the Center for Global Studies at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk for his junior year (then known as the Center for Japanese Studies Abroad; it is a magnet program for students wanting to learn Japanese).
After watching Michael J. Fox's guitar performance as Marty McFly in Back to the Future, Mayer became fascinated with the instrument, and when he turned 13, his father rented one for him. A neighbor gave Mayer a Stevie Ray Vaughan cassette, which cultivated Mayer's love of blues music. Mayer started taking lessons from a local guitar-shop owner, Al Ferrante, and soon became consumed with playing the instrument. His singular focus concerned his parents, and they took him twice to see a psychiatrist—but Mayer was determined to be fine. Mayer says that the contentious nature of his parents' marriage led him to "disappear and create my own world I could believe in". After two years of practice, he started playing at blues bars and other venues in the area, while he was still in high school. In addition to performing solo, he was a member of a band called Villanova Junction (named for a Jimi Hendrix song) with Tim Procaccini, Joe Beleznay, and Rich Wolf. Mayer considered skipping college to pursue his music, but the disapproval of his parents dissuaded him from doing so.
When Mayer was seventeen, he was stricken with cardiac dysrhythmia and was hospitalized for a weekend. Reflecting on the incident, Mayer said, "That was the moment the songwriter in me was born," and he penned his first lyrics the night he got home from the hospital. Shortly thereafter, he began suffering from panic attacks, and lived with the fear of having to enter a mental institution. He continues to manage such episodes with Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug.
Early career (1996–1999)
Mayer enrolled in the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, aged 19. However, at the urging of his college friend an Atlanta, Georgia native, Clay Cook, he left school after two semesters and moved with Cook to Atlanta. In Atlanta, they formed a two-man band called LoFi Masters and began performing in local coffee houses and club venues such as Eddie's Attic. According to Cook, they began to experience musical differences due to Mayer's desire to move more towards pop music. As a result, 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 co-wrote many of the songs from the EP including Mayer's first commercial single release, "No Such Thing". The EP includes eight songs with Mayer on lead vocals and guitars. However, Cook's only contribution was backing vocals on the song "Comfortable". 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 perform throughout Georgia and nearby states.
Major label and commercial success (2000–2004)
Mayer's reputation began to build, and a March 2000 appearance at South by Southwest brought him to the attention of "launch" label, Aware Records. After including him in the Aware Festival concerts and having his songs included on Aware compilations, in early 2001, Aware released Mayer's internet-only album titled, Room for Squares. During this 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". 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 titled Any Given Thursday. The concert featured songs previously not recorded, such as "Man on the Side" (co-written with Cook) and "Something's Missing (John Mayer song)", 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 Allmusic) 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, Allmusic and Blender all gave positive, although reserved, feedback. 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. On February 9, 2009, Mayer told Ellen DeGeneres that he thought he should not have won the Grammy for Song of the year because he thought that Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You" was the better song. Because of this, he removed the top half of the Grammy and gave it to Keys, and kept the bottom part for himself. 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 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 Apple's annual keynote address at the Macworld Conference & Expo in January 2004 as Jobs introduced the music production software 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. Mayer has also done endorsements, such as a Volkswagen commercial for the Beetle's guitar outlet and for the BlackBerry Curve.
Change in musical direction and John Mayer trio (2005)
Mayer began to collaborate extensively, often working with artists outside of his own genre. He appeared on Common's song "Go!" and on Kanye West's "Bittersweet Poetry". Following these collaborations, Mayer received praise from rap heavyweights Jay-Z and Nelly. 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 jazz artist John Scofield. He also went on tour 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 Eric Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, 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.
Mayer's third studio album, titled Continuum, was released on September 12, 2006, and was produced by Mayer 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!—"Vultures" and "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 Store following its release on July 11, 2006, and debuted at No. 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: Crime Scene Investigation, 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 "Cane & Able", and Numb3rs. He recorded a session for the British program Live from Abbey Road at Abbey Road Studios on October 22, 2006.
On December 7, 2006, Mayer was nominated for five 2007 Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. The 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 was featured on 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 November 20, 2007, the re-issue of Continuum became available online and in stores. The release contains a bonus disc of six live songs from his 2007 tour: five from Continuum and a cover of the Ray Charles song "I Don't Need No Doctor". His new single, "Say", also became available through iTunes. On December 6, 2007, "Belief" was nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal for the 50th Annual Grammy Awards. He accompanied Alicia Keys on guitar on her song "No One" at the ceremony.
In February 2008, Mayer hosted a three-day Caribbean cruise event that included performances with various musicians including David Ryan Harris, Brett Dennen, Colbie Caillat, and Dave Barnes, among others. The event was called "The Mayercraft Carrier" and was held aboard the cruise ship known as the Carnival Victory. A follow up cruise titled "Mayercraft Carrier 2" set sail from Los Angeles from March 27–31, 2009 on the Carnival Splendor.
On July 1, 2008, Mayer released Where the Light Is, a live concert film of Mayer's performance at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on December 8, 2007. The film was directed by Danny Clinch. It features an acoustic set and a set with the John Mayer Trio, followed by a set with John's band from the Continuum album.
Battle Studies and Born and Raised (2009–2012)
Australian artist Guy Sebastian invited Mayer to collaborate on three songs from his 2009 album Like It Like That. Mayer also played guitar on the title track of Crosby Loggins' debut LP, Time to Move, released on July 10, 2009.
On July 7, 2009, Mayer performed an instrumental guitar version of Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" at Jackson's televised memorial service.
On November 17, 2009, Mayer's fourth studio album, Battle Studies, was released and debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart. The album consists of 11 tracks with a total time of 45 minutes. The first single from the album, "Who Says", was released on September 24, 2009 in advance of album, and was followed on October 19 by the single "Heartbreak Warfare" and the single "Half of My Heart" released on June 21, 2010. Despite the album's commercial success, critics were mixed with their praise; while some reviews were glowing, calling it his "most adventurous", others called the album "safe" and noted that "Mayer the singer-songwriter and Mayer the man about town sometimes seem disconnected, like they don't even belong in the same body." Mayer admitted to Rolling Stone that he thought Battle Studies was not his best album.
Following his controversial interviews to Playboy and Rolling Stone about Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Aniston, Mayer withdrew from public life. He later explained on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, "I lost my head for a little while and I did a couple of dumb interviews and it kind of woke me up. It was a very strange time and it sort of rocketed me into adulthood. It was a violent crash into being an adult. For a couple of years, it was just figuring it all out, and I'm glad I actually stayed out of the spotlight."
Early reports indicated that the follow-up to Battle Studies would be called Born and Raised, and would be released in October 2011.
On September 16, 2011, Mayer posted on his blog that his new record, Born and Raised, was being delayed due to granulomas discovered in his throat. The granulomas were found next to the vocal cords and were said to be treatable. Mayer described this as a "temporary setback" and added that recording and mixing of Born and Raised was entirely finished except for a few remaining vocal tracks. He told, "I did a lot of therapy, like anti-acid reflux, and it didn’t work, then I went on vocal rest. No alcohol. No spicy food. No talking. Most of September I wasn’t talking at all. I’d have a Bluetooth keyboard, and someone would have an iPad to read what I type. I had to point to menus at restaurants. People look at me like I’m crazy." On October 20, 2011, Mayer updated his fans about the treatment of his throat granuloma, announcing that he "had surgery this afternoon to remove it and am now on complete vocal rest for a month or more", during which he plans to "travel the country, look, and listen."
The first single from Born and Raised, called "Shadow Days" was released on February 27, 2012. On February 28, 2012, John Mayer released the track listing for the album and announced that Born and Raised would be released on May 22, 2012. He described it as his "most honest" album.
On March 9, 2012, Mayer announced on his blog that due to the return of a serious throat condition, he had been forced to cancel his tour and refrain from all singing indefinitely. Because the surgery he had in October 2011 did not work as expected, Mayer said he would have to undergo the surgery again. He had the surgery in late August 2012 and later posted a message on his Tumblr account explaining that he would not sing for several months. Despite not being able to sing, Mayer played the guitar with other artists. He appeared in September 2012 on Saturday Night Live where he played the guitar while Frank Ocean was singing. He also played with the Rolling Stones during the band's gig in New Jersey in December 2012. In January 2013, Mayer recovered sufficiently and returned to the stage during a benefit concert in Bozeman, Montana after almost two years of absence. In April 2013, he performed at the Crossroads Guitar Festival and at the 28th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, where he inducted Albert King. He was also among the lineup of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which took place later that month.
Paradise Valley (2013–present)
Following his recovery from vocal surgery, Mayer returned to the studio. On June 18, 2013, Mayer announced from his Facebook page that his sixth album, Paradise Valley, would be released on August 13, 2013. On the same day, he released a lyric video for the new album's first single, "Paper Doll", on his YouTube page. The release date was later changed to August 20, 2013. "Who You Love" featuring Katy Perry followed as the album's third single and a music video was released on December 17, 2013 for the song. The album, which also includes a collaboration with Frank Ocean, was met with positive reviews from music critics. Mayer embarked on a tour, his first in three years, in support of Born and Raised and Paradise Valley. The American leg of the tour ran from July to December 2013 with Interscope recording artist Phillip Phillips serving as support act. The tour will visit Australia in April 2014.
In 2002, Mayer began the "Back to You" Fund, a nonprofit 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 guitar picks, T-shirts, and signed CDs, made available on Mayer's auction site. The auctions have been successful, with some tickets selling for more than seventeen times their face value.
Mayer participated at the East Rutherford, New Jersey location of the Live Earth project, a musical rally to support awareness for global warming held July 7, 2007.
Mayer has performed at a number of benefits and telethons for charity throughout his career. In response to the Virginia Tech massacre, Mayer (along with Dave Matthews Band, Phil Vassar, and Nas) performed a free concert at Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium on September 6, 2007. On December 8, 2007, Mayer hosted the first annual Charity Revue, a tradition he has continued each year. Charities who have benefited from the concerts include Toys for Tots, Inner City Arts, and the Los Angeles Mission. CDs and DVDs of the first concert were released under the title Where the Light Is in July 2008. Mayer appeared on Songs for Tibet: The Art of Peace, a celebrity initiative to support Tibet and the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. In January 2013, Mayer participated with Zac Brown in a benefit concert in Bozeman, Montana where they raised more than $100,000 for firefighters who battled a wildfire in the summer of 2012 in Paradise Valley that destroyed 12,000 acres.
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. 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, an Atlanta 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 January 2006, Martin Guitars released the Martin OMJM John Mayer acoustic guitar. The guitar was intended to have many of the attributes of the Martin OM-28 John Mayer but with a more affordable price tag. In August 2006, Fender started manufacturing SERIES II John Mayer Stratocasters.
In January 2007, Two Rock collaborated with Mayer on custom-designed amps. Only 25 (all signed by Mayer himself) were made available to the public along with a 500-run John Mayer signature Fender Stratocaster in Cypress-Mica, including the limited Cypress-Mica model was the INCSvsJM gig bag on which Mayer collaborated with Incase designs. In 2006, Mayer was estimated to have more than 200 guitars in his personal collection. In 2010, Fender announced a production model of Mayer's "The Black One" guitar.
With the June 1, 2004, issue of Esquire, Mayer began a column called "Music Lessons with John Mayer". Each article featured a lesson and his views 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 has been active online, and has maintained four blogs: a Myspace page, a blog at his official site, another at Honeyee.com, one at Tumblr.com, and a photoblog at StunningNikon.com. He also is one of the most-followed persons on the micro-blogging site Twitter, reaching 3 million followers in January 2010. Although his posts often deal with career-related matters, they also contain jokes, videos, photos, his convictions, and his personal activities; they sometimes overlap in content. He is noted for writing the blogs himself, and not through a publicist. On January 23, 2008, he posted a graphic that read, "Done & Dusted & Self Conscious & Back to Work." on his official blog, followed by the quote "There is danger in theoretical speculation of battle, in prejudice, in false reasoning, in pride, in braggadocio. There is one safe resource, the return to nature.."; all the previous blog entries were deleted.
In the mid-2000s he did comedy sporadically making random appearances at the famed Comedy Cellar in New York and at other venues. He stated that it helped him write better but that increased media attention made him too careful in his technique.
He co-wrote "Worlds of Chance" with Demi Lovato for her second album Here We Go Again (2009).
In 2004, Mayer hosted a one-shot, half-hour comedy special on VH1 titled John Mayer Has a TV Show, with antics including wearing a bear suit while anonymously teasing concertgoers in the parking lot outside one of his concerts. The American network CBS announced on January 14, 2009 that they were in negotiations with Mayer for a variety show; it may air as a special or as a regular series. In an interview with Rolling Stone, posted online on January 22, 2010, Mayer confirmed that the program, also called John Mayer Has a TV Show, was still in development, and that personnel were being hired. He described the concept as "a high quality music performance show, where I could also steer it a little bit. It's about there being a bastion of artists being made to look good and sound good.".
Mayer has made many appearances on talk shows and other television programs, most notably, on a Chappelle's Show comedy skit, the Late Show with David Letterman and on the final episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Mayer made an appearance with Rob Dyrdek in the MTV show Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory. Mayer wrote the theme song to the OWN network show Rollin' with Zach, which features Zach Anner.
Mayer has toured with many musical groups, including Maroon 5, Guster, Howie Day, Mat Kearney, Counting Crows, Ben Folds, The Wallflowers, Teitur, Brett Dennen, Sheryl Crow, Colbie Caillat, Train, Ellie Goulding, OneRepublic, and Paramore. Crow and Mayer, who had just previously appeared on the Cars Soundtrack together, co-headlined a tour that ran from August to October 2006. In 2007, Mayer toured Europe, hoping to reach the popularity abroad that he enjoys in North America. The initial North American Continuum tour ended on February 28, 2007, with a show at Madison Square Garden, a performance which the New York Post described as "career-defining." In 2010, Mayer and Keith Urban performed at a CMT Crossroads concert which saw Mayer and Urban performing a medley of their own songs together and a rendition of George Michael's single, "Faith". This performance was led to Urban and Mayer teaming up again for future performances, including at the 2010 CMT Music Awards.
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 often shows up at small venues unannounced (or with little advance notice) for surprise concerts—occasionally for free or without accepting the performance fee. He has made appearances throughout the Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York areas, including shows at The Laugh Factory, Eddie's Attic, and the Village Underground. His latest surprise appearance was on January 8, 2011 at Hotel Cafe where he played seven new unreleased songs. In 2004, after being asked for numerous past years, he performed for over 1000 students at the Pennsbury High School Senior Prom. Wonderland: A Year in the Life of an American High School (Grove Press, ISBN 978-0802141972), a book written by Michael Bamberger, describes the world- famous prom and John Mayer's performance.
Mayer's parents concluded an uncontested divorce on May 27, 2009. After the divorce, Mayer moved his (82-year-old) father to an assisted-living facility in Los Angeles.
Following his throat surgery, he moved to Montana where, in May 2012, he purchased a home.
Mayer has dated Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jessica Simpson, Minka Kelly, Jennifer Aniston, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry.
Mayer's relationship with Jessica Simpson coincided with some personal behaviour changes that served to significantly increase his tabloid exposure. Previously, Mayer had expressed his resolve to completely avoid drugs, alcohol, clubbing, "red-carpet" events, dating celebrities and anything else that he felt would detract from his focus on his music. In interviews, however, Mayer has alluded to experiencing an extreme "anxiety bender" episode in his twenties that motivated him to be less reclusive. He later said he realized that, "If I wanted to see Jessica more, I had to grow up," and not be afraid to be without his guitar. He called his relationship with her "sexual napalm" and said she had the power to "change [his] values." He began making appearances at clubs in Los Angeles and New York City (where he would stage pranks for the paparazzi), and in a Rolling Stone interview from 2006, he first mentioned that he had begun using marijuana.
With Taylor Swift, he recorded "Half of My Heart" for his November 2009 album Battle Studies. She reportedly wrote a song about her relationship with him, "Dear John", which appears on her October 2010 Speak Now album. In June 2012, Mayer criticized the song, saying, "I will say as a songwriter that I think it's kind of cheap songwriting." The first single from Mayer's August 2013 album Paradise Valley, "Paper Doll" is thought to be a response to Swift's "Dear John", a claim which Mayer has neither confirmed nor denied.
With Katy Perry, he recorded and co-wrote "Who You Love" for his album Paradise Valley.
In early 2010, Mayer gave a controversial interview to Playboy magazine, in which he revealed sexually explicit details about his former girlfriends Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Aniston, and responded to questions about his interest in dating black women by saying, "My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I've got a Benetton heart and a fuckin' David Duke cock. I'm going to start dating separately from my dick." He also used the word "nigger" in the interview. This set off accusations in the media of him being a misogynist, kiss-and-tell ex-boyfriend, and racist. He apologized via Twitter for his use of the word "nigger", saying, "It was arrogant of me to think I could intellectualize..... a word that is so emotionally charged." He also tearfully apologized to his band and fans at his concert in Nashville later that night. Mayer was dubbed an "accidental racist" by comedian Eugene Mirman.
- Annual John Mayer Holiday Charity Revue