John Mayer's highly anticipated sixth studio album, Paradise Valley, was released earlier this week, and when he sat down with iHeartRadio to talk about the project, he didn't hesitate to discuss everything from working with Don Was again, an unexpected collaboration with Frank Ocean, and the song he recorded with on-again girlfriend Katy Perry. Check out highlights from the interview below.
"I went into the studio with Don again, Don Was, and I was absolutely reignited to start another record and record it. I don't wanna say it happened quickly; it happened very naturally in a period of time. I wouldn't have put it out if it wasn't this authentic record that it ended up being . I'm not thinking about records anymore in terms of wowing people. I've run out of the need to wow, but now it's something a little deeper, hopefully giving someone a record that becomes a part of their experience in life."
On collaborating with Frank Ocean on "Wildfire":
I love it. I love that he's on it. I love that some people are going, 'Wow, I don't expect that, I don't know what to think about it,' but ultimately everyone comes around on it cause it's such a great song. I reached out to him I said 'Hey I'm in the studio all day everyday for the next month, come by whenever you want.' He came by and played me some of his stuff and I played him some of my stuff and I said, 'Look, anything you wanna play on, grab a keyboard or sing on it.'
On writing "Who You Love" with Katy Perry:
"I had this idea for a while actually. Songwriters carry this little bag with them, metaphorically, that just have years and years worth of ideas and then sometimes you take it out and you just... 'Is today the day for it? Is this year the year for it?' The idea of 'you love who you love' was something that had always been sort of cycling around in my mind. I had this great verse and this great chorus and I went, 'Oh wow, this is really cool.' I actually tossed it off for a moment, and Don Was made me play it back again and goes, 'Listen, there's something here.' And I went 'Yeah, its pretty cool.' Sometimes you need someone to tell you it's cool. I thought, 'Wow, this is something that I should at least run by Katy.' Really to be honest, run it by Katy Perry. There's sort of a difference.
"I'd be so nervous to do it if I didn't feel like it was actually a really great thing, and so I played it for her and she really got it right off the bat... she started singing along with the record, and with this little demo - it was just a verse and a chorus - and it was really fun. Believe it or not, I really enjoyed the exercise. You don't normally get to hear from the girl you're writing a song to. You don't normally get to hear it from her on the same song, so I really enjoyed what her point of view was gonna be when she wrote it.She wrote this killer verse from her point of view, and it's really deep. We get four lines each, but she's a great writer and can get those four lines. There's a lot of pressure when you date somebody from what your friends say, or what you think you think, what you think you feel you know."
On returning to the stage:
"It’s great. I probably have done more dreaming about being a musician on stage in the last three years then I did even before I became a musician, because I didn’t know what it held for me.
"I think one way or another, there’s something that happens in your life that slows you down a bit and makes you rethink your approach to things. I was forced, literally forced, to take a knee. I had nothing else to do but think about who I wanted to be - you’d be surprised how many days and nights I spent listening to music. I got really moved again by musicians and music and singers. I’d go to shows and go like, 'Am I crying because this person is singing?' Instead of me standing there with my arms folded going ‘huh, classic flat six flat seven one,' I was really moved by it. Then all of a sudden you get this second chance... I’m a firm believer that you really can continue to shape your philosophy so that everything you do is continually in the moment so that you don’t get tired, you don’t get bored."
Paradise Valley is available now.