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John Mayer chats with SUNY Oneonta students about the music industry

SUNY Oneonta students and staff were able to meet and chat with singer and songwriter, John Mayer, thanks to a college alumnus.

Posted: Apr 9, 2020 11:05 AM
Updated: Apr 9, 2020 12:12 PM

 ONEONTA, N.Y. – SUNY Oneonta students and staff were able to meet and talk with singer and songwriter, John Mayer, thanks to a college alumnus. 

Mayer joined a Zoom chat with the students, which was set up through SUNY Oneonta alum, Rit Venerus, who works closely with Mayer through his company, Cal Financial Group.

During the virtual discussion, Mayer talked about songwriting, his inspirations and the state of the music industry, as well as some lessons he’s learned throughout his career.

“This meant everything to me,” said freshman Cameron Bontrager, who is a music industry major.

Bontrager has been playing guitar since he was 10 years old, and says Mayer is an inspiration to continue to work toward his goals.

“What has kept my music dream alive is seeing what John can do with music, because I know I have that same exact spark in me and I haven’t seen it anywhere else. I had been constantly pulled back and forth between studying music, and doing what I really wanted to do, which is just play and create all day, and he was totally right: it’s not practice or work. It’s hard to put this into words, but he’s the reason I’m able to put my phone down and practice as much as 6-10 hours a day. He has been my mentor, without a doubt,” said Bontrager.

Mayer also talked with the students about adjusting to this new world of virtual learning and social distancing.

“When I think about being a young person confronting these times, they are so different than any times we’ve ever had – most times, an adult can say to a young person, ‘Well, here’s the point of reference for that,’ [but] we don’t have a point of reference,” said Mayer. “The fact that you’re adapting this way is a life skill that nobody wished for you to have, but I think you’re going to walk away saying, ‘If I figured navigating this out, everything else is relatively a breeze.”

During the chat, Mayer also sang an ode to SUNY Oneonta, which he came up with on the spot. Click below to hear the tune.

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