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You're Gonna Live Forever in Me

Article in Rolling Stone, January 2017
John Mayer Details Origin, Inspiration Behind Four New Songs

“It’s the only song that comes on and I get physically anxious,” Mayer says. “It’s so open and revealing.” A Randy Newman-style piano ballad, the tune arrived almost fully formed. “I wrote this in one night,” he recalls. “The first week we were here, we had an assistant in the room and I worked a little bit but didn’t get very far. So I said, ‘We have to kick everybody out and it just has to be me and Chad.’ He’s the only guy who I can really write in front of.” 

Mayer was spending the earlier parts of those days working on lyrics at home, banging out ideas on a vintage Olympia typewriter and then bringing the pages with him to the studio. “We would dim the lights in the studio,” he says, “I sat at the piano for hours teaching myself how the song might go. I sang it that night, and that was it: what you hear on the song is the original take. I couldn’t sing the vocals again if i tried. It would be like the second snowball fight in Groundhog’s Day. This is the first time in my life as a singer that I’m in a state of emotion, not just intellectualizing how to sing a song. Every time I hear it, it’s like getting to meet myself in the same room and take a walk around myself, like, ‘I guess that’s what I look like from that angle.'”

Facebook livestream
Fan Q&A following "Love on the Weekend" song premiere

"If there was a song from The Search for Everything that you would show teenage John to say 'look what you're capable of,' what track would you choose?"

That's a great question. "You're Gonna Live Forever in Me." My songwriting is about entering a trance, and a part of your brain you're not friends with, you don't know very well, supplying you with something that you can sing for the rest of your life. And I get that song and it's concise. And as a songwriter who occasionally sets up the goal for himself over time as, “write the most concise, salient, emotional, less-is-more song,” I would play that for myself and I would go, “look, you're gonna be fine, you were meant to do this, you don't have to worry so much.”

Excerpted from Facebook livestream >
May 2017 Twitter Q&A
Twitter Q&A session

what was the fastest you've ever written a song and the slowest

Fast: Gravity, You’re Gonna Live, Never on the Day… Slow: Assassin, Belief, Still Feel Like Your Man (that bridge was a PUZZLE)

Excerpted from May 2017 Twitter Q&A >
Article on
John Mayer Shares the Stage with Student Songwriters
Mayer followed the epic workshop session with a performance of "You're Gonna Live Forever In Me" (which was inspired by a bad note he struck while practicing the Grateful Dead tune "Friend of the Devil") as well as an unreleased original, giving the students and audience a chance to see the inner-workings of his own process. After, he waxed reflective, saying that songwriting is a mystical process of elusive self-discovery where you “try to truly see yourself in a way that’s just beyond, most of the time, your ability to comprehend.”
Article in Rolling Stone, 2017
John Mayer on Katy Perry, Learning From the Dead, Embracing Pot

PD: There’s a sparseness to your record that’s really interesting, particularly on “You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me.”

JM: You get old enough, and you can hit the mark with fewer elements. I read this book one time about the Secret Service. And I love this part: in the world of presidential protection, older people are better at working president detail in the Secret Service. Because the older people have tenure and seniority, and they’re not afraid of losing their job if they overreact. If they throw the President in the car because a car somewhere else backfired or a balloon pops. They’re more willing to do it because they’re not scared of losing their job, like a young person would [be]. 

That always stuck with me. As I get older, I see myself artistically that way a little bit. I hope that, as I get older and my career goes on, that I gain the ability to afford writing things that don’t necessarily have to hit you over the head. I can make a little song like “You’re Gonna Live Forever In Me” and ultimately what ends up happening is that it translates into something even bigger than something that you would have sat down and tried to make big.

This brings up another interesting thing as a songwriter. We love the concept of writing huge songs. You always sit down and you go, “I want to write a big one.” Not in terms of popularity, but in terms of scope. I’ve always tried to write big ones, and I’ve always failed. I would love to write a song called “Galaxy.” I’d love to write a song about something taking place from galaxy to galaxy. It never works because the intention of it is just too large. But then, if you get really small like I did on “You’re Gonna Live Forever In Me,” and you write, “a great big bang and dinosaurs / fiery raining meteors / it all ends unfortunately,” that’s tiny. But when you’re done with it, you realize, “oh, this is gigantic because of forced perspective.” It’s not huge, it becomes huge out of forced perspective. And I’ve learned that now ten times over.

Twitter Q&A (July 2017)
Twitter Q&A session with fans

Of all the beautiful songs you've written, which one is the most closest to your heart?

You're Gonna Live Forever in Me

Interview with Zane Lowe, 2018
John Mayer: 'New Light' Premiere | Apple Music
I've had like ballads that were so heartfelt that actually got anxious every time we play. Like there's a song in my last record that's so intense and literally my heart would race when it was playing.