Team FanBridge has been diving into fan engagement lately, and it finally hit us. You know who might have something to say about engaging with fans? THE FANS. We didn’t have to look too hard to find a John Mayer SUPERFAN willing to tell us why she loves JM so much. Ginell has been a fan of John Mayer’s for 13 years. She is an active email subscriber, she attends shows, and buys merch (a lot of it, too!). So, how did John Mayer get so lucky to have an awesome fan like Ginell supporting him? Check out Ginell’s interview with Team FanBridge below, and read our takeaways underneath.
Team FB: When did you start listening to John Mayer?
Ginell: I started listening to JM when his single “No Such Thing” started hitting the radio in the fall of 2002. At the time, I was really into Jason Mraz and initially thought it might be a new song by him, but then did further research and I fell in love with John Mayer. Thanks to being around in the era of downloading music via napster and limewire, I was able to acquire tons of John’s songs from his early days before I ever went out and got an album. John has always been an advocate for allowing his fans access to his music and allows people to bring recording equipment to shows to capture his music. The only request I have ever seen him make is that he doesn’t want your recording rig to get in the way of other fans.
Team FB: What is your favorite John Mayer song, and why?
Ginell: This is a hard one for me because I have a lot of favorite songs by John. My go-to favorite song is “Why Georgia.” The reason I like “Why Georgia” so much is because the lyrics really spoke to me when I first discovered John’s music, and as I have grown and had struggles in my life, the song has grown with me. Starting when I was a junior in high school, the year “Room for Squares” came out, until now, I have struggled with bouts of depression and anxiety. When I first was dealing with depression, I tried to hide my sadness because from the outside, everyone thought I had a great life, and I thought they would judge me for feeling the way I did because I thought “What do I have to be sad about?” ”Why Georgia” got me through that time because of a line in the song, “So what, so I’ve got a smile on but it’s hiding the quiet superstitions in my head. Don’t believe me when I say I’ve got it down.” That lyric still speaks to me about being able to put on a “game face” to get through hard times. As I said, the song has grown with me.
Team FB: Do you typically buy merch/preorder records, etc? How much, would you say?
Ginell: I preorder everything that I can and try to buy limited edition merchandise as much as I can afford to! I have each album, including his EP and any re-releases, at least twice. I have one that I took out of the package, enjoyed, read the liner notes of and I have one (or more in some cases) packed away in mint condition. I have over 100 shirts and probably over 250 merch/memorabilia items of John’s from over the years. I have everything from the regular stuff like shirts, hoodies, and posters to the more odd things like water bottles, blankets and bags. The two most unique JM items I have are probably a rain poncho and a promo matchbook from the Continuum album. When I first became a fan, I was obsessed with eBay so I would spend all of my extra money buying things online from people who could care less about JM, and I have a lot of “For Promotional Use Only” items in my collection.
Team FB: Are you excited when there is a new John Mayer email in your inbox?
Ginell: Yes! Especially when it announces a new single, album, or tour dates. I am currently getting a lot of JM emails about the specials they are running in his webstore for the month of May(er) and like seeing those too.
Team FB: Can you share some of your favorite social media posts from John Mayer?
Ginell: That is really hard for me to say because a lot of the ones I really liked were back before he quit Twitter a few years back. Overall, I think my favorite posts surround the topics of new material… a teased lyric, a clip of him playing a riff, anything to do with new music.
Team FB: How many concerts/live events of John Mayer’s have you attended? Can you recall when/where those were?
Ginell: I have been to roughly 40 live performances of John’s. My first show was at Eastern Michigan University on November 17, 2002. My most recent show was at Bridgestone Arena on December 4, 2013. The majority of the shows I have been to have been arena shows with the exception of one radio performance and the time I saw him appear on Mayercraft Carrier I & II (The music cruise he hosted through Sixthman.)
Team FB: How far have you travelled to see a John Mayer show?
Ginell: Probably from Michigan to California. Or the traveling I did to go on the Mayercraft Carrier cruises. MCC 1 went from FL to the Bahamas and MCC2 went from LA to Cabo St. Lucas.
Team FB: What are your favorite memories from those shows?
Ginell: I love going to live shows because it makes me forget everything else in my life and just live in the moment, in the music. Some of my favorite moments from shows I have been too have been the “conversions” I have experienced; the people that would tag along with me to a show because I really like John and they were like, “He has a couple of good songs, but I don’t know if I like him,” and seeing those people leave a show with their socks blown off by the amazing musician he is is priceless.
Team FB: How many times have you met John Mayer? Favorite memories from those experiences?
Ginell: I have met John six or seven times over the last 13 years of following his music. One of my favorite memories is a long story, but me and three friends decided last minute to go to a show in KY and we got a hotel across from the venue. Since we had spent all of our money on the tickets and to get down to the show, we didn’t have money to do anything before the show. So we were sitting in the lobby, and John and his tour manager, Ken, come walking through the lobby. John walks by and says, “Hi,” like a normal person and then asked if we were going to the show. After we were talking, he said, “I know you didn’t ask, but would you like a picture? Ken, can you take picture of me and these lovely ladies?” During the awkwardness of us four girls getting up to get in the picture he was making us laugh and really making us feel important and that he was grateful that we were there for him and his show. We laughed more because Ken was having a problem getting the camera to work right, and John just kept being like “Hold it down, hold it down” and it made us all laugh because even celebrities and their tour managers have problems with point and shoot cameras.
Team FB: Have you made friends with other John Mayer fans over the years?
Ginell: I have met other fan many ways over the years, but I’ve met the most from going to shows. Back when JM’s fan club, Local 83, existed all the fan club members would be allowed access to attend JM’s sound checks. Waiting in line for them to be ready to let us in was a place where I met a lot of other fans. Back then, all of the fan club members sat together to so you’d have the opportunity to talk again at the show. And actually, two of the girls that came with me to KY were fans that we had met a few days before at his Grand Rapids, MI show.
Team FB: What about John Mayer’s personality do you admire?
Ginell: I have always enjoyed his sense of humor. Even though his mouth has gotten him in trouble in the media, and his stand up comedy never went very far, and he doesn’t make that great of a late night host, I really love his jokes. He also has been very open and honest about his struggles with anxiety, which I appreciate. And something he didn’t really try to do, but I think is just something that happened, is that regardless of how famous he has gotten that he never treated me different as his fan. He was as human as possible and never treated me or my friends like he was better than we were. He has, for the most part, stayed humble.
Team FB: In all your time as a John Mayer fan, is there any one specific moment that stands out to you? Why?
Ginell: There was a show I went to where John played an extended version of “Gravity” as the last song of the encore. He probably played for 20 minutes on just that one song. He was soloing crouched down on the floor and it was really intense and really awesome. He was killing it. The reason it sticks out to me is that “Gravity” for me is like how some people feel when they leave church, cleansed. Live versions of the song are my “church” and make me feel that I can let go of all my bad energy and be a little more free. Singing “Gravity stay the hell away from me!” is why I liked that moment so much.
I have a ton of great memories of the people and friends I have met through John’s music. Seeing them over the years at shows, meeting them on MCC, or finding them online some how. I have had a great time make friends through these years thanks to JM.
Team FB: I’ve heard you refer to yourself as a “lifer,” or a lifelong fan. What can you recall from those early JM days that you think made you a lifer?
Ginell: I became a lifer the first time I saw John in concert. I had connected so deeply to a lot of his lyrics on “Room for Squares” that I was a little apprehensive to see him in concert, as I worried the real thing wouldn’t be as good as the album version. Seeing John live blew his album versions out of the water, and it continues to be that way. The first time I met/interacted with John made me even more of a lifer. Like I mentioned above, he never made me feel like I was “just a fan” but someone who deserved respect and his time. Our first conversation was in passing outside of Schuba’s in Chicago where he was performing for a radio show, and we talked about how much I liked his shoes and he apologized that I wouldn’t be able to find them here since they were from a friend of his in Japan.
Another thing that has made me a lifer is the respect that his entire band and crew has given me as a fan. I have had a special relationship with his FOH engineer Chad over the years. Chad has saved me a set list at nearly every show I have been to. He remembers me, asks me questions about me and my life that have nothing to do with being a JM fan. Again, treating me like a human.
Team FB: Do you think you will ever stop supporting John Mayer’s music?
Ginell: I think it’s possible, but highly unlikely. I’ve never outgrown his music because his music keeps on growing. I have music of his that I don’t connect with like I do most of his songs, but that doesn’t make me not support him. At the end of the day, he is a great songwriter and musician, and that is what I support.
- Discovery is important. Maybe you can’t get on the radio, but platforms like Pandora or Spotify that recommend similar artists can be a big win.
- Tease new material on social media – your fans will love it!
- A highly engaged fan will share their passion with friends, bringing you even more fans. Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth.
- Offer your time. Your fans have spent hours upon hours and a lot of money to support you and listen to you. Offering 30 seconds to take a photo in exchange is worth it, I promise.
- Your crew counts too. Even if you’re the sweetest person in the world, if a crew member is rude to your fan, it has most likely tainted the experience. Make sure the people around you also value your relationship with your fans. Even better, let them enhance the experience, like they have for Ginell.
What were your takeaways from this interview with Ginell? Let us know in the comments below!