The “New Light” singer, 41, gave a subtle nod to 28-year-old Swift during his intimate Q&A and performance at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles on Wednesday, October 24.
“I was thinking about reputation,” Mayer told the crowd. After an audience member yelled out in excitement, the “Wonderland” crooner clarified his remarks: “Not the album, but it’s fine. It’s a fine piece of work.”
Mayer and Swift briefly dated from December 2009 to February 2010. The country crooner sent fans into a frenzy after releasing her album Speak Now eight months later, which featured a track titled “Dear John,” leading Swift’s loyal following to believe he inspired the lyrics.
The “Wonderland” songster slammed the track during a June 2012 interview with Rolling Stone, admitting that the nearly seven-minute ballad hurt him. “It made me feel terrible, because I didn’t deserve it,” he told the magazine. “It was a really lousy thing to do. I never got an email. I never got a phone call. I was really caught off-guard.”
He added: “It’s cheap songwriting. It’s abusing your talent to rub your hands together and go, ‘Wait till he gets a load of this!’ That’s bulls—t. It really humiliated me.”
Swift replied to Mayer’s remarks in her November 2012 Glamour cover story. “How presumptuous!” she said of the “Daughters” crooner believing he inspired her track. “I never disclose who my songs are about.”
Mayer then turned heads in June 2013 after releasing his song “Paper Doll,” with lyrics including, “You’re like 22 girls in one / And none of them know what they’re running from.” Fans speculated that Swift was the subject of the track because she had dropped her pop anthem “22” in October 2012.
Mayer addressed the rumors in July 2013 on the Today show, explaining, “Yeah, songwriters write songs because of people, about people. Anything else wrote is their reception of a song. I don’t get involved with [it]. It’s none of my business.”
The “Back to You” singer’s concert on Wednesday was broadcasted live across iHeartMedia’s Hot AC stations and live streamed on iHeartRadio’s Official YouTube channel. He also debuted his new song at the event, “I Guess I Just Feel Like.”