Why You Don't Hear Much From John Mayer Anymore

John Mayer broke into the pop music scene with "No Such Thing" in 2002. With his smooth voice, impressive guitar work, and good looks, it wasn't long before he solidified his position as a giant figure in the industry. Since then, he's had a string of hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including "Say," "Daughters," and "Waiting on the World to Change." And while the musician's still releasing records and selling out arenas, he's been pretty quiet lately. Let's answer the question on everyone's minds: Why don't we hear much from Mayer anymore?

His personal life became tabloid fodder

Mayer may have gained respect and adoration early on in his career as a serious musician/charming boy next door hybrid, but it wasn't long until his personal life began to overshadow his professional endeavors. As the "Still Feel Like Your Man" singer's relationship drama with A-list celebs like Jennifer Aniston, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry became more publicized, he became an increasingly controversial figure in the tabloids.

The attention undoubtedly tarnished Mayer's public persona and obscured his musical output. "It's not ideal," the "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room" singer told CBS News in 2013. "I wish I was only as well known as I was exposed musically. I really do."

His disastrous PR ticked off a lot of people

Mayer infamously came under fire for a cringe-worthy pair of interviews in 2010. Following a string of outlandish remarks, the "Bigger Than My Body" singer came off looking like an egotistical, racially insensitive, womanizing — well, jerk. Needless to say, he ticked off a lot of people.

In January of that year, he humiliated ex-girlfriend Jessica Simpson when he called her "sexual napalm" and shared risqué details about their relationship with Playboy (via E! News). In the same interview, he dissed Aniston, said the N-word, and stated, "My d**k is sort of like a white supremacist." Yikes.

Mayer unfortunately failed to learn his lesson after sparking outrage the first time around, and got even more crass about his sex life during his Rolling Stone interview that June. "All I want to do now is f**k the girls I've already f**ked, because I can't fathom explaining myself to somebody who can't believe I'd be interested in them," he told the magazine. "I'm too freaked out to meet anybody else." During this interview, the guitarist went on to share TMI details about his masturbation, porn, and bathroom habits, and even coined the phrase, "the Joshua Tree of vaginas." Wow.

He withdrew from public life

While grappling with the fallout of his disastrous interviews, Mayer hid away from the spotlight for two years to do some soul searching on a ranch in Montana.

"I had nothing to say — I was going through a time in my life where I didn't really want to share what was going on, but I didn't want to be boring," the "Shadow Days" singer told NPR when he resurfaced in 2012 to promote his comeback album Born and Raised (via People). Calling the interviews a "complete miscalculation," Mayer added, "I wasn't prepared to be honest, but I knew that I had to be open. When you're just open but not honest, then you start free-associating garbage."

"I was just a jerk. And it's hard for people to process that," the "Why Georgia" singer later admitted to CBS News, explaining that a lack of maturity attributed to his off-putting behavior. "I wish that I grew up a year every year of my life, and I didn't....I was 24 for six years."

During his 2017 profile with The New York Times, Mayer candidly reflected, "What has to happen for a guy to believe that he's totally well-adjusted and be that far out of touch? My GPS was shattered, just shattered."

He suffered from severe vocal problems

Mayer extended his hiatus from public life after he developed a granuloma on his vocal chords in 2011. His harrowing journey to recovery included multiple surgeries, several months of strict dieting and vocal rest, and having his vocal chords paralyzed via Botox injections. The "Who Says" hit-maker's severe vocal problems not only delayed the release of Born and Raised and resulted in a canceled tour, but also jeopardized the future of his career.

"There was not a lot of hope. They said cancer would have been easier to get rid of," Mayer told Rolling Stone in 2013. "Everything changed about my voice. I don't have the projection.... I've found new ways around everything — new ways to talk, new ways to laugh. Now I wonder if I can go right back to the shape of my voice that I had when I was singing once I can do what I want to do with it."

Dead & Company became his priority

Mayer joined forces with former Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Billy Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart, as well as Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti, to form the band Dead & Company in 2015. According to Billboard, this passion project grew out of Mayer's discovery of the Grateful Dead during his hiatus. His chemistry with Weir and Hart was undeniable when the trio met and later jammed together, so they formed the group and went on tour — which effectively sidelined the "Born and Raised" singer's solo career.

"I have to put a record out because it's almost finished; I have to express myself in that way," Mayer told Bozeman Magazine in 2016. "Part of Dead & Company's power comes from this being an answer to the normal work that I do."

He's not in a rush to release music

With an estimated net worth of $40 million, Mayer doesn't necessarily need to crank out music for financial stability or relevance anymore. As evidenced by Forbes in 2017, the guitarist had no problem filling 17,000 seats at the L.A. Forum without the support of a new hit song.

At that point in his career, Mayer had just released the follow-up to 2013's Paradise Valley, an understated turn to country-folk that was well-received, but not as commercially successful as his previous output. Still, the "Something Like Olivia" singer remained confident about his career trajectory, telling the sold-out arena, "[Thank you for] giving me the freedom to make music that doesn't compete with anybody."

As Mayer later told USA Today, his new output, The Search for Everything, actually "began with this idea of, 'I don't need to put out another [record] and I'm not going to until it proved the reason for its existence.' It had to transcend anything I had done before."

The Search for Everything was stuck in the past

As mentioned, Mayer finally released his first full-length album in four years, The Search for Everything, in 2017. While the effort peaked at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 and marked a return to the guitarist's penchant for pop-rock, it received mixed reviews.

Most scathing of all came from Pitchfork. The publication gave the "Love on the Weekend" singer's record a 4.9 out of 10, and called Mayer out for dredging up everything from his notorious serial dater behavior to those infamous 2010 interviews. "[It's] a deliberate tour of contrition — his second," the critic wrote. "It's a remarkable demonstration of Mayer's fundamental problem: suffering simultaneously from an excess of taste and an oblivious lack of it." Ouch.

However, Mayer was happy with his output and couldn't wait to hit the road, telling USA Today, "The tour is like a victory lap after two and a half years of working on a record that is the deepest dive I've ever taken as an artist."

He's focusing on staying sober

Mayer reached a major milestone in his life in September 2017 — one year of sobriety. "One year ago today, I decided to give drinking a break. A very personal thing for everyone. For me, a constant return on investment," he tweeted at the time, adding, "I post this because I want people to know that 'that's enough for now' is on the menu, so to speak."

Earlier that year, the "Gravity" singer spoke candidly about his resolve to stay sober, telling The New York Times that he went to therapy to work through his "attachment style" and dependence on alcohol.

"Drinking is a f***ing con. How much is enough?" the "Queen of California" singer later rhetorically asked Rolling Stone. "Every time I drank, I was looking for some sort of regulated amount. It always feels wrong for me. I always feel like I went overboard." Although he explained that he "never had a serious issue" with drinking, Mayer admitted, "There's never an amount that felt like I was succeeding at life. It always felt wrong." He later added, "I put [smoking weed] where drinking used to go, and the quality of life has gone up considerably."

He needed emergency surgery

Dead & Company's 2017 tour was brought to an abrupt halt in early December, when Mayer was rushed to a hospital in New Orleans, LA for an emergency appendectomy, forcing the band to postpone their last stops.

The following day, the "Half of My Heart" singer gave concerned fans a health update on social media. "Thank you everyone for the well wishes. Had surgery yesterday and woke up to see some amazingly kind and loving tweets," he tweeted. "I'm so sorry that we couldn't finish out the last few dates of the tour. This band and these shows mean the world to me. Love you all dearly."

Mayer later took to Instagram to say he was recovering from his health scare back home in Montana. "Home," he captioned a snapshot of himself standing outside in the snow. "See you in a bit. ♥️."

He's ready to settle down

Mayer may be known as a notorious bachelor due to his string of high-profile relationships, but the guitarist has admitted that he finally feels ready to settle down and start a family.

"I'm ready to roll, I'm more mature than I've ever been," the "XO" singer told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live in 2016 (via Page Six). "The stage is set but I'm excited for a meet cute at some point. I'm single and I'm excited about the future."

The following year, Mayer revealed that he yearned for the stability of a home. "I wish there was somebody to throw me the 40th," Mayer told The New York Times. "I want the baby with the protective earphones [by the side of the stage]. I want to say, 'We'll take it,'" he continued, adding, "I'm right on time for my career, and I'm running late for my life."

He doesn't care about fame

Any John Mayer fan who's concerned with their fave's lacking star power these days might take solace in the fact that the "Free Fallin'" singer isn't too bothered by his dwindling fame. "[I'm] transition[ing] into writing stuff that's deeper for me on a musical, artistic level... at the expense of being popular," he told USA Today. "The pot of gold at the end of the whole thing was being able to go around the world and play these songs as a happy, well-situated, excited, inspired guy."

As the seven-time Grammy winner explained to NPR, it really is all about the music. "The extracurricular stuff is fun — like Dave Chapelle says he likes fame, he just doesn't really trust it. I think that's the most honest way," Mayer said. "I like it, I just don't trust it anymore. I want it if it's related to music. I realized that it doesn't fit me to be any bigger than the music is. It doesn't fit."