Where the light is: John Mayer’s career wisdom

John Mayer is among my favorite performers. He broke onto the scene seeming like he might just be another pop sensation, but he has become quite the soulful virtuoso with thoughtful music that keeps evolving.

I’ve been wearing out his latest album, Born and Raised, which has a 70’s, Eagles kind of vibe to it. I appreciate that his music is not predictable and formulaic. And he does, too.

His fabulous live performance in Los Angeles in December 2007 was made into a concert film, Where The Light Is. The whole thing is available on YouTube now. He does three different performances during the concert. He opens with a solo acoustic set. Then he changes clothes and comes back to the stage with his blues band for a blues concert. Finally, he returns to the stage with his full touring band to wrap up the night.

He keeps stretching his musical chops, trying on different styles and formats. It would be easy for a guy who hit it big at such a young age to just stick with what brought him his success. He could phone it in for decades and play the same kind of stuff to big crowds of loyal fans. But, instead, he’s taking risks and going in directions that his fans may not want to follow.

He says this at the beginning of the “Where the light is” concert film:

“It’s only fun when you’re trying to get it in your grasp. It’s like, you know, once you catch it, throw it back in the water then catch it again. That’s really what I want to do my whole career.”

A good reminder for anyone who realizes it’s about the journey rather than the destination.

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