Q&A: John Mayer
John Mayer's hit song "Your Body Is a Wonderland" won him his first Grammy. Last week the 27-year-old picked up two more nominations for his song "Daughters"--and he has a new TV show. He spoke with NEWSWEEK's Ramin Setoodeh on the night it premiered.
You were naked when you wrote "Daughters," which was nominated for song of the year?
I was naked and running the shower when I screamed, "On behalf of every man / Looking out for every girl / You are the god and the weight of her world." And I left the shower running and walked back out through the hotel room to keep recording naked.
What are your thoughts on the Grammy nominees?
I love the Grammy nominations this year. Anybody who really loves what they do got rewarded for it. It's not a death match between Ray Charles and Jessica Simpson.
Do you remember the first record you bought?
It was probably, like, Lionel Richie. Maybe it was "Thriller." Those records have such musical--I want to say acumen. Is that a word?
Sometimes words just come to me and it's like somebody writes it down on a piece of paper and my head goes, "That's the word to use," and I go, "Really?"
How do you meet girls?
I might be a clergyman. I really might just be the guy who loves playing music so much that I will never have a solid relationship. If I'm on a date with somebody, I can't wait to go home and play guitar. If I even seal the deal, I can't wait for them to leave to play the guitar.
Your new TV show is called "John Mayer Has a TV Show." Who came up with the title?
I did. I've watched it back eight times now. Four of the times I thought I was great. Four of the times I thought I was a hack.
You also have a column in Esquire. Are you naked when you write that, too?
I don't remember my level of clothedness--if that's a word. I could have been, sure. I mean, I'm in my underwear now. How do you like that?
An Idol With Feet Of Clay?
During a visit to a New Jersey high-school vocal group last week, "American Idol" sweetie Clay Aiken allegedly behaved... not so sweetly. Aiken's camp would not comment. Here's what the kids are saying:
HE YELLED AT US According to a source at Gawker.com, Aiken "berated" the kids for "unclear" reasons.
HE STARVED US A promised dinner for the kids turned out to be McDonald's Happy Meals--90 minutes late.
HE SNUBBED US He refused all photos and autographs after two kids snapped pix of him arriving.
HE STIFFED US Before leaving, he presented the group with a "donation." The envelope was empty.
And Ringo as the Little Drummer Boy?
If you thought those JESUS IS MY HOMEBOY T shirts seemed blasphemous, check out the celebrity Nativity scene at Madame Tussauds wax museum in London. Victoria (Posh Spice) and David Beckham, England's other royal couple, are Mary and Joseph (who looks like one hot metrosexual). The celebs were picked by ballots cast by 300 museum visitors, who also chose Hugh Grant and Samuel L. Jackson as shepherds and George W. Bush (far right, ha-ha) as one of the Wise Men. A Vatican spokesman declared that this Coalition of the Waxworks was "in very poor taste." At least they didn't cast Pee-wee Herman as you know who.
Jay-Z's Office Job
The worst-kept secret in the music industry is finally official: rap superstar Shawn Carter, a.k.a. Jay-Z, is the new president of Island/Def Jam Records. Putting an artist in charge of a record label might seem a gamble, but few in the music industry doubt Jay-Z's business savvy--not with his record of success at running a boutique music label and cultivating a sneaker and clothing line. "In terms of getting and signing the best new artists, Jay will be invaluable," says Ron Gillyard, vice president of urban music for rival Interscope. Jay-Z's ascension is seen as a good sign for other black artists looking to climb the corporate ladder. "He's definitely the blueprint for what these younger cats will have to do to get to the next level," says one industry executive. Chairman 50 Cent? You never know.