John Mayer On Those ‘Smoldering’ “Who You Love” Photos & Duet with Katy Perry
We’re all aware of the gorgeous spread in the latest issue of Vanity Fair featuring John Mayer and his lady-friend Katy Perry. The two sat for their first portraits with photographer Mario Sorrenti and they were released exclusively in conjunction with the couple’s new single, a duet titled “Who You Love,” which is off of Mayer’s latest album Paradise Valley.
When John stopped by the Fresh 102.7 studios in NYC, he told morning host Kim Berk what it was like to sit for his first “spread.”
“She’s great at it. She is so comfortable in front of a camera and is so good at it,” John said of Katy Perry. “I am not as good at it, there’s no other way to say it. I don’t have that kind of charisma that she does, so it’s really interesting. We find our way but it takes a minute.”
“And then also there’s the relationship thing, there’s a natural sort of competition in the relationship, and she’ll just be like ‘loosen up!’ And I’ll be like ‘you’re right, I have to loosen up!””
“She’s just so excellent at it that I actually take a lot of cues from her now on how to really be brave, how to really give in and just open up and be really expressive. Because I have about two looks that I give a camera.”
John joked that if you ever look through a photo shoot of his, you have to wonder, ‘who is this guy?’ He’s not quite giving Zoolander’s iconic “Blue Steel” look – he says it’s more like “Limp Titanium.”
What could have been an awkward time between two strong personalities ended up being very easy to handle for the couple.
“The only awkward thing, possibly in my world, was me versus the room,” explains John.
“We were very focused too, looking back at the screen, getting the sort of essence of the song and what we wanted out of the photos to read. So [it was] sort of one half free spirit, one half hardcore monitor watching, ‘how do we get this to really translate?'”
As for the retro, black and white look to the photos, that was something that John Mayer wanted to bring back into the mainstream.
“There [are] cycles of imagery, and right now we’re going through sort of a very intense ‘hit you over the head’ imaging thing and what I really wanted to do was kind of go back to that ’60s – you know somebody said that the images were ‘smoldering’ and I thought that was cool. Smoldering is cool. Smoldering means there’s a fire in there, it’s not just burning everything in sight.”
“When you go back to these great photos of Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and Robert Redford, they’re with women but they’re not on top of women. And there’s an ease to it. That, to me, is more romantic as I’m getting older.”
It may seem as though the photo shoot for the single is getting more publicity than the song itself, and John wants fans to know that the track itself is not just about how good he and Katy have it together.
“I think there’s an authenticity to the way, not just the way this record sounds, but the way that we’re going about introducing it to the world. This song is more about the listener than us,” says John.
“This is not about our relationship, because the last thing you want to do is sit in a car and listen to us talk about how good we have it. It’s really about two artists, a male and a female artist coming together – yes it is interesting that they’re dating – sort of giving a voice to this idea that you should take your head out of the equation a little bit when it comes to matters of the heart. I think the world could stand to hear that for three to four minutes.”
The single, as well as Paradise Valley, are currently available for purchase on iTunes.
–Joe Cingrana/Fresh 102.7
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