John Mayer at 42: looking ahead to what’s next

As the guitarist turns 42, here are four things to keep an eye on for 2020 and beyond

By on October 20, 2019

Pop star, bluesman and Grateful Dead ally John Mayer turns 42 today. A review from the Telegraph of his recent show in London’s O2 Arena summed up his current status with praise, saying he is “Ed Sheeran crossed with Eric Clapton.” Most who have followed Mayer would likely agree with the sentiment, but his harsher critics may beg to differ. Mayer still has a ways to go with the Grateful Dead audience, but that’s a different subject.   

The comparison came after Mayer’s show at the legendary O2, one of the many successful shows from his highly received world tour. As Mayer turns 42 years old and the decades end nears, it’s worth considering his turbulent highs and lows, as well as his positive trajectory. He’s certainly finishing the decade on a high note, consistently selling out stadiums in the United States and around the globe. 

So what will the next decade bring? Here are three things to think about.

New Year, New Material

Perhaps fans can look most forward to Mayer’s next album, whenever it eventually comes out. In a September Instagram Q&A, Mayer casually answered “next year” to the question of when he’d next begin recording sessions. Since 2017’s ‘The Search for Everything,’ Mayer has sporadically released singles, such as “New Light” (2018) and “I Guess I Just Feel Like” (2019). 

His return to the studio should be highly anticipated. Fresh off a world tour and rounds with Dead & Company, his sound could be markedly different. In the time between 2012’s ‘Born & Raised’ and ‘The Search for Everything,’ Mayer returned closer to his roots, distancing himself from the folk/americana feel of the former. His next album could be a blend of the Dead’s exploratory influence, or something completely different. The mystery makes it exciting. 

Touring, and more touring 

Exactly when Mayer reached true superstardom can be debated, but his popularity has clearly grown to wider audiences in recent years. His time with Dead & Company has exposed him to different chapters of an entire subculture and musical lineage, while he’s gained more and more fans of his extensive solo work. Should Mayer indeed release a studio album in the next year or two, expect more tours. It seems he’s enjoyed the road life, evidenced by his latest tour without a supporting album. Despite the lack of a recent record, he’s sold out Madison Square Garden, Los Angeles’ Forum and many more. He’ll likely keep it rolling.

The Unknown

Mayer’s multiple evolutions have been fascinating to watch unfold. Over the last two decades, he’s shifted from pop star, blues frontman and to what he is now – mature and tested. So, perhaps the Telegraph’s comparison to Ed Sheeran and Eric Clapton wasn’t so bold. Mayer has displayed his abilities in a wide variety of musical settings, which makes his future an open one. Some of his latest singles, namely ‘Carry Me Away’ and ‘New Light,’ hint that he’s explored a combination of electronic with his guitar in the forefront. 

A decade ago, no one would have predicted his Grateful Dead association, but many could foresee his eventual collaborative endeavors . At 42 and with a new decade ahead, it looks like he has more options than ever. At 42, it feels like the music world is ready for whatever steps Mayer takes next. 

 

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