John Mayer the sage?…

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19/07/2011 by Sarah Ritchie

I never thought I would be repeating words of wisdom from John Mayer! I don’t know the guy, I barely know his music and I have let the media sway me into reducing his intelligence to a 4 minute love song or a long series of loaded tweets. Nevertheless, here goes…

I read an interesting blog today, from by Elisa at Berklee Blogs, writing about John Mayer’s 2011 Clinic held at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, USA. Speaking from his own experiences, Mayer’s 3 hour clinic highlighted many of the pitfalls that all artists (musicians and others) can fall into in their quest for fame and fortune.

Two statements stood out as particularly relevant to me and my journey in art. The first related to the tyranny of social media and the amount of time that it can suck out of your life at the same rate at which it is sucking out your creativity. King of the Tweeters, Mayer deleted his Twitter account, stopped blogging and started creating again. He said:

Here are the rules for recording this record… no drum machines,
no loops, no keyboards to start out with, no excuses, no breaks,
no laptops, no nothing. If you take a break, it’s to eat.
If you’re done, you go home.

He also spoke about judging work before it is finished (ouch, had he read my thoughts on EVERY painting that I produce?!):

I can’t stress enough how important it is to write bad songs. There’s a lot of people who don’t want to finish songs because they don’t think they’re any good. Well they’re not good enough. Write it!  I want you to write me the worst songs you could possible write me because you won’t write bad songs. You’re thinking they’re bad so you don’t have to finish it. That’s what I really think it is. Well it’s all right. Well, how do you know? It’s not done!

No, I am not rushing out to buy a John Mayer album, nor am I elevating him to sage-status, but I do admire how Mayer has been able to suscinctly communicate many realities of the artistic process, in a way that encourages as much as it cautions. Nice work!



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Finalist, Estuary Art Awards 2011
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