John Mayer Explains Why He Won’t Sing Early Hits During Tour

John Mayer fans may be disappointed to learn that they won’t hear the “Paper Doll” singer’s early hits during his tour.

The 35-year-old is still recovering from two surgeries to remove granulomas from his vocal chords, which not only kept him from singing, but speaking as well. In September 2011, he wrote on his blog that Born and Raised had to be postponed because granulomas were found next to his vocal cords. He had surgery in October, and Born and Raised — his “most honest album” — was released on May 22, 2012.

Unfortunately, the surgery didn’t work as expected, and he was forced to cancel his tour. He had another surgery in August 2012 and said he wouldn’t be able to sing for several months. He finally began to recover in January 2013, and announced a new tour in support of Born and Raised in March.

“[My voice is] coming back and it will come back all the way to where it was. All the early stuff, I can’t do that full voice right now,” Mayer told TIME.Born and Raised and Paradise Valley stem from this inability to sing higher. So everything is [sings “Shadow Days”] I’m realizing now it’s making records very personal, and I’ll probably do one more like that.”

However, Mayer said he isn’t too concerned with losing his range.

“I’m not worried anymore, period. I have a track, and that track is pretty well written. I’m not worried about pop hits, I’m not worried about sales, relevance,” he said. “I care about one thing: tell your story. Tell your story. If you’re on your sixth record and you’re 35, you should be following wherever the road takes you. I want this story to unfold onstage now – records are the fuel for a concert.”

Mayer also said the music industry “begins and ends with the entire process before the record comes out.” He said that music now is “very DIY” and that artists don’t work as much with managers anymore.

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