Childhood & Early Life
John Clayton Mayer was born on October 16, 1977, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA. He grew up in Fairfield. His father Richard was a high school principal, and his mother Margaret Mayer was a middle school English teacher. He has two brothers.
For his junior year, he attended the ‘Center for Global Studies at Brien McMahon High School’ in Norwalk.
He became fascinated with the guitar after watching Michael J. Fox's performance in a movie. He then fell in love with blues music after hearing to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s music.
When he was 13, his father rented a guitar for him. He started taking lessons, and became so engrossed in it that his concerned parents took him to a psychiatrist, who declared him healthy. Later, he said that his parents' troubled marriage often forced him to "disappear in his own world.”
While he was in high school, he started playing guitar at bars and other venues. He also joined a band called ‘Villanova Junction’ and played with Tim Procaccini, Rich Wolf, and Joe Beleznay.
When he was 17, he was diagnosed with cardiac dysrhythmia, and was hospitalized. He said that during that period, he realized that he had a penchant for songwriting too. He also suffered from panic attacks, and is still on anti-anxiety medication.
He wanted to skip college to pursue a career in music, but his parents persuaded him to enroll at the ‘Berklee College of Music’ in 1997, at the age of 19. However, he left ‘Berklee’ after two semesters and moved to Atlanta with his college friend Clay Cook. They formed a two-man band called ‘Lo-Fi Masters’ and began performing at local clubs and other places. Soon, they parted ways and Mayer started a solo career.
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John Mayer released his debut EP ‘Inside Wants Out’ on September 24, 1999. The album was re-released by ‘Columbia Records’ in 2002. Some of the songs, such as ‘Back to You,’ ‘My Stupid Mouth,’ and ‘No Such Thing’ were recorded again for his debut album ‘Room for Squares.’
His debut studio album ‘Room for Squares’ was released on June 5, 2001. The album peaked at No. 8 on ‘US Billboard 200’ chart. It is his best-selling album to date, having sold over 4,484,000 copies in the US.
His second studio album ‘Heavier Things’ was released on September 9, 2003. Although his songwriting received negative criticism, the album generated positive reviews.
In 2005, he formed a rock band called ‘The John Mayer Trio’ with bassist Pino Palladino and drummer Steve Jordan. The band, in which he served as the guitarist, released a live album titled ‘Try!’ in 2005.
His third studio album ‘Continuum’ was released on September 12, 2006. The album incorporated elements of blues, marking a change in Mayer's musical style. Music critics praised the album, and Mayer received several accolades.
His fourth studio album ‘Battle Studies’ was released on November 17, 2009. It enjoyed commercial success, not only in the US but also in several other countries. Two of its singles received chart success. The album also received praises from the music critics, and was certified platinum by RIAA.
His fifth studio album ‘Born and Raised’ was released on May 22, 2012. Its first single ‘Shadow Days’ was released on Mayer's blog before the release of the album. The second single ‘Queen of California’ was released on ‘Hot AC’ radio on August 13, 2012, and its official video was released on July 30, 2012.
‘Something Like Olivia,’ the third single from the album ‘Born and Raised,’ incorporated musical elements of folk and Americana, marking another change in Mayer's musical style. Critics praised his technical skills.
Mayer’s sixth studio album ‘Paradise Valley’ was released on August 20, 2013. The album features break and instrumentals, and consists of electric guitars instead of harmonica.
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Its first single ‘Paper Doll’ was released on June 18, 2013, followed by its second single ‘Wildfire’ on July 16, 2013. The third single ‘Who You Love’ was released on ‘Hot AC’ radio on August 12, 2013.
On April 15, 2014, Mayer covered ‘XO’ at a concert in Australia. His version features stripped-down rendition with guitar, piano, and harmonica. MTV praised his version for its simplicity. It debuted at No. 90 on the ‘US Billboard Hot 100’ chart, and sold 46,000 copies.
‘Columbia’ and ‘Sony Music’ released his seventh studio album ‘The Search for Everything’ on April 14, 2017.
John Mayer also performed with ‘Dead & Company,’ a band consisting of Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti. The band embarked on a tour on May 27, 2017, which ended on July 1. The tour was well received by the audience.
He released a single titled ‘New Light’ in May 2018. In 2019, he released two singles, namely ‘I Guess I Just Feel Like’ and ‘Carry Me Away.’
John Mayer’s debut album ‘Room for Squares’ received positive reviews from music critics. His second studio album ‘Heavier Things’ debuted at No. 1 on ‘US Billboard 200’ chart, and sold 317,000 copies in the first week.
His album ‘Continuum’ debuted at No 2 on the ‘US Billboard 200’ chart, and sold 300,186 copies in the first week. Eventually, it sold over five million copies worldwide. The album ‘Battle Studies’ debuted at No. 1 on ‘US Billboard 200’ chart, and sold over a million copies in the US.
Awards & Achievements
John Mayer has won seven ‘Grammy Awards’ from 19 nominations. He collected a ‘Grammy Award’ for ‘Best Male Pop Vocal Performance’ for his single ‘Your Body Is a Wonderland’ from the album ‘Room for Squares’ in 2003.
His album ‘Continuum’ also earned him a ‘Grammy Award’ for ‘Best Pop Vocal Album.’ He received two ‘Grammy Awards’ for ‘Daughters’ under the ‘Song of the Year’ and ‘Best Male Pop Vocal Performance’ categories in 2005.
Some of the other awards received by him include ‘MTV Video Music Awards,’ ‘ASCAP Award,’ and ‘American Music Award.’
John Mayer has dated actress Jennifer Love Hewitt, singer Jessica Simpson, singer Taylor Swift, and actress Minka Kelly among other prominent showbiz personalities.
In 2002, he formed an NGO called ‘Back to You Fund’ which raises money for healthcare, education, arts, and talent development.
He supports campaigns that create awareness about climate change. He has performed a number of times for charity. He also supports ‘Elton John AIDS Foundation.’
Despite resolving to avoid drugs early in his career, he admitted in 2006 that he used marijuana. He was also involved in a serious controversy for making “racist” comments in an interview, for which he later apologized.
He is an avid collector of watches. In March 2014, he sued watch dealer Robert Maron for $656,000, saying that seven of the watches that he bought from Maron contained counterfeit parts. However, the next year, Mayer released a statement saying that the dealer never sold him any counterfeit watch.