Why John Mayer Won't Sing His Hits (Hint: He Can't)

UPDATED 08/29/2013 at 08:00 PM EDT Originally published 08/29/2013 at 03:30 PM EDT

John Mayer: Why He Won't Sing His Hits (Hint: He Can't)
John Mayer
Paul Martinka/Splash News Online

John Mayer

John Mayer

Anyone hoping to hear "Why Georgia" and other throwback tunes during John Mayer's latest tour should probably adjust their expectations.

"[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," the musician – who's still recovering from two surgeries on his vocal cords – tells TIME.com as part of their 10 Questions series.

"The Botox takes a while to dissolve, so as it dissolves, my range comes back. Born and Raised and Paradise Valley stem from this inability to sing higher. I didn’t know I had a granuloma for most of the making of Born and Raised. The songs are all low because I would hit a ceiling faster. Looking back on it now, I’ve been making these records based on those limitations."

Having less range on his most recent albums doesn't bother Mayer – in fact, not much does these days.

"I'm not worried anymore, period. I'm not worried about pop hits, I'm not worried about sales, relevance," he says. "I care about one thing: 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."

Still, that doesn't mean the guitarist can't enjoy a good cake – Mayer shared a photo celebrating Paradise Valley's second-place chart debut on Wednesday.

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