During the event, Mayer worked with six Berklee students on their songs. The students—Eva Cassel, Danny Silberstein, Charlotte Lessing, Miette Hope, Brian Walker, and Callie Sullivan—were selected by Pat Pattison, an influential writing professor from Mayer’s time as a Berklee student. Pattison, who hosted the event, has written several books on songwriting that are recognized as definitive in their genre.
After listening to each student perform, Mayer responded with feedback and suggestions. “There are no winners,” said Mayer, reassuringly. “We’re all just trying to figure out how to write the perfect song.”
“A huge part of songwriting is ‘do I believe you?’” said Mayer, after hearing Charlotte Lessing play her piano ballad, “Space.” “I believe everything about it. I feel like I know you, what music you listen to, and what kind of singer you are.”
“The attempt to write big can sometimes come out small,” said Mayer, encouraging students to make their lyrics more tangible and personal.
On his own creative process, Mayer said, “It’s messy, it’s sloppy . . . The song is the only thing in the world that exists until it’s done,” and “(a finished song) is like a plate of sashimi, but the kitchen is a mess.”