John Mayer's Biography, straight from his official site
Enthusiasm is contagious and that's why songwriters with a genuine, obvious passion for their craft can't help but attract an audience. John Mayer has earned a legion of devoted fans in and around his adopted hometown of Atlanta, where he moved in 1998 after a stint at Boston's Berklee College of Music. His creative songwriting and warm stage presence establish him as a formidable musical force, and the smoky swagger of his voice at once evokes Sting, Dave Matthews and Jakob Dylan.
Mayer grew up in Connecticut listening to pop radio until, at age 13, he discovered blues music when a neighbor gave him a Stevie Ray Vaughan tape. Mayer picked up a guitar, and within two years he was performing at local blues bars stunning audiences with his mature playing. But he soon realized that the world of guitar virtuosity was not for him.
"There's this really distracting glory in wanting to be the best guitar player because all that really is, is copying somebody, seeing who can play 'Sky Is Crying' better than the next guy," Mayer says. "I wanted to be listenable and play tunes that other people could play but not the way I play them."
Mayer dedicated himself to developing his songwriting skills, toning down the guitar pyrotechnics in favor of memorable melodies and distinctive rhythmic textures. At 19 he enrolled at Berklee but realized in a matter of months that he was more interested in playing music than studying it. "It was a great learning experience, but not because of class," he laughs. A friend from Atlanta convinced him to head south, and Mayer soon became a regular at such Atlanta songwriters' nightspots as Eddie's Attic. In 1999 he released Inside Wants Out, an album consisting mostly of solo acoustic renditions of his energetic, earnest songs, as well as several tracks recorded with a full band.
The local press soon discovered Mayer and sang his praises. "This young man knows how to captivate a crowd with his six-string guitar and honest lyrics," wrote Atlanta CitySearch. The Atlanta Journal Constitution saw all the makings of a star as they described Mayer's qualities, "sophisticated, accessible folk rock sound dominated by striking acoustic guitar playing, video-ready looks and a sizable grass-roots following born in clubs across the South."
Mayer's passion for songwriting is immediately evident. "The very nature of standing in front of a mic with a guitar that's in tune, the millions of songs that could happen at that moment - I love that!" he says. "The best feeling that I will ever have in my life is just walking, just being, the night that I finish a song."
In March 2000 Mayer headed to Austin, Texas, to perform at the prestigious South By Southwest music conference and afterwards was courted by several record labels, eventually signing with Aware/Columbia Records. He began recording his major label debut in the fall with producer John Alagia (Dave Matthews Band, Ben Folds Five). The new album, entitled Room For Squares, is a full-band electric effort. Mayer was joined in the studio by bassist David LaBruyere, (who also accompanies him on the road), as well as drummer Nir Zidkiyahu (Genesis, Alana Davis). Mayer recently met with legendary producer Jack Joseph Puig (Eric Clapton, Weezer, The Black Crowes) at Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles. They remixed seven songs, including the single, "No Such Thing." Also included on the re-released CD is a brand new track which was recorded with producer John Alagia entitled "3 x 5."
It's the dedication to his songs that inspires Mayer to keep writing. "When you hear a great song, you trace it back to who the singer is," he says. "When you can offer people that piece of you, that's what keeps them listening to you."