The first time I saw John Mayer perform was on a PBS special about Blues singers. It was really impressive. He was on the stage with some of the most seasoned blues artists. Their music was gritty and sultry and played from the heart and depth of their experiences.
It was fascinating to toggle between watching the show from two vantage points. One was that of a dorky white kid with such a gifted talent that everything else melted away. He was able to fit in with the gritty musicians in spite of outer cultural differences. There was this incredible bond formed through the Love of the craft.
But I saw John Mayer, not as a white boy but as a seasoned Black Soul Artist who knew the old men when they were starting out in their own careers. He was their mentors from a recent past life. He had reunited with them in a precarious way. The old persona was so strong that I imagined the only way he could deal with being a dorky white guy was to bring back his musical talent so strongly that it made the Blues lifetime more prevalent than the current one.
Even the musicians’ interaction showed an adulation and respect for him beyond his years. It wasn’t a group of talented men just proud of a cute kid. It was a deep reverence for each other’s talents. It was etched in the shared experiences. They were giving him props
It makes perfect sense. All talents that seem effortless to gifted children were hard won in past lives. When I looked at John on stage, I could hardly see the outer white boy aspect of him. I saw the heart, soul and experience of a gritty, compassionate wise old Blues performer.
This dichotomy is reflected perfectly in his current controversial statements. It seems that the gritty Blues player spoke out of the mouth of the awkward white guy. It’s easy to see how two different human experiences are colliding in one human expression. It happens all of the time; to all of us.
It’s evident that sometimes he thinks and speaks from the gritty Soul artist. As clear as his intentions may be, it still can cause problems for him in is present persona. This conflict is just his personal learning curve. It’s no one else’s to judge.
Imagine being a gifted seasoned Black artist of an era where one could speak their mind and no offense was taken. It was all about respect for the music. Imagine containing the intensity of those experiences while being incarnated as a white guy engulfed with media attention and scrutinized at every turn. Imagine that the way to feel comfortable in your own skin is through the fervent application of an incredible past life talent. John is on his own journey, as are we all.
The media in its attempt to “one dimensionalize” and sensationalize, has taken John Mayer’s statements and cut and paste them as a defining way to perceive him. The harsh spotlight can tarnish the purest intent. The media’s concern has little to do with the original thought process that was torqued into harsh words. I think the comments were more a statement about his internal struggle as a human being than anything else.
I like John Mayer’s Energy. He seems like a good man even though I’m not too familiar with his music. I find the person much more interesting than the persona built around him. I wish him well.