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John Mayer Admits Early Fame 'Made a Monster Out of Me': 'I Wasn't Aware There Was Anything I Couldn't Have'

People logo People 09/11/2018 Maria Pasquini
John Mayer holding a snow board © Austin Hargrave for Billboard John Mayer

With years of perspective under his belt, John Mayer isn’t afraid to admit that he wasn’t the best version of himself when he first hit it big in the 2000s.

Acknowledging his controversial reputation in a new Billboard profile, the musician opened up about how much he’s changed over the years — even though not everyone has necessarily adjusted their opinions of him yet.

“Some people still say, ‘That guy’s a d**k,’ ” Mayer, 41, said. “And I go, ‘Well, any of that data you’re working off of is really old.’ I mean, I can tell you for sure that I haven’t been a d**k in many years. That’s a really outdated take.”

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Although the “New Light” singer drew criticism in 2010 for comments about his former flames, during an episode of his Instagram Live show Current Mood late last month, Mayer revealed that these days, women aren’t so interested in dating him.

“I get rejected a lot since I became PR poison for people,” he admitted, explaining why he’s been single since splitting from Katy Perry four years ago. “I really have to make a direct connection with somebody … I don’t think that people are into the idea of, ‘Hey, I snagged Mayer.’ “

John Mayer sitting on a stage: John Mayer | Austin Hargrave for Billboard © Austin Hargrave for Billboard John Mayer | Austin Hargrave for Billboard Though his experience is different now, the guitarist has embraced the change. “I actually find that people not being into me brings a real level of reality into my life,” he said during the episode. “Whereas when I was in my early 20s, where I couldn’t really miss, I really kind of abused that. That’s now out of the question.”

At an intimate set in Los Angeles on Oct. 25, the singer-songwriter expanded on his confession that times have changed.

“Sometimes I feel like people need to update their internal Wikipedia on me … Come to 2018, where my No. 1 girl is my therapist,” he joked.

Video: John Mayer Reveals His Worst On Stage Moment & More in 'First, Best, Last, Worst' 

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John Mayer wearing glasses: John Mayer | Austin Hargrave for Billboard © Austin Hargrave for Billboard John Mayer | Austin Hargrave for Billboard

Mayer, who also tours with Dead & Company and collaborates with comedian Dave Chappelle for their Controlled Danger shows, went on to tell Billboard that it’s actually “very freeing” to be in a more mature place in his life.

“I probably had a run in my life where I wasn’t aware that there was anything I couldn’t have. And it made a monster out of me,” he explained, adding that now that he’s in his 40s and no longer the tabloid fixture he once was, he’s happily accepted his limitations.

“There’s something very freeing about you can’t. And that’s about the right age in your life where you go, ‘Yeah, you can’t,’” he remarked.

a person standing in front of a curtain: John Mayer | Austin Hargrave for Billboard © Austin Hargrave for Billboard John Mayer | Austin Hargrave for Billboard

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Although Top 10 summer hit “New Light” was recently certified gold, part of Mayer’s new perspective means the singer has come to accept the fact that the kind of music he makes isn’t necessarily what’s finding its way to the top of the charts these days — and that’s fine.

“I would love to make music for the club,” he told Billboard, sharing that instead, “I make music for the omelette on the Sunday after the club, and I’ve got to be okay with that, and I am okay with that.”

Video: John Mayer Billboard Cover Shoot: COVER’D

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Taking things one step further, Mayer explained that “not being culturally super hot” has actually given him a better shot at having a longer career.

a man standing in a room: John Mayer | Austin Hargrave for Billboard © Austin Hargrave for Billboard John Mayer | Austin Hargrave for Billboard “The same thing that I may have [once] found a little underwhelming about not being culturally super hot is the same thing that has given me a little more traction in something just a little beneath that,” he remarked. “You might not be the It Guy, but the It Guy has got a better chance of being picked off.”

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