Lady Gaga‘s ex-manager Troy Carter has just signed up a new client, Rolling Stone has learned: John Mayer. A source says the team-up is brand new and they knew each other through mutual friends. “It’s just getting started but great new things will be announced as the year progresses.” John Mayer’s most recent album, Paradise Valley, debuted at Number Two on the Billboard 200; it was the first time since 2006 that a Mayer record did not spend its first week at the top of the chart.
Mayer parted ways with his longtime manager, Michael McDonald of Mick Management, in December, according to Billboard. McDonald had worked with Mayer for more than a decade, beginning with the artist’s debut album, Room for Squares. Neither party gave an official reason for the split. McDonald continues to manage artists like Passion Pit, St. Lucia and Ray LaMontagne.
For Carter, signing Mayer is a bold move since it is the first time he has worked with a major rock artist. The manager has previously worked with hip-hop artists like Eve and Nelly and pop artists like Gaga; currently, his management company Atom Factory manages John Legend, rapper K’Naan and violinist Lindsey Stirling, among others.
For Carter, who reportedly said he felt sad and “liberated” after splitting off from Gaga, his union with Mayer also seems like declaration of independence, considering the rivalry – real or imagined on Glee – between Gaga and Mayer’s girlfriend Katy Perry, who sang on the Paradise Valley cut “Who You Love.” For her part, Perry has dismissed the competition, telling Entertainment Weekly last year, “Gaga and I like to publicly dismiss it because it’s not healthy. . . You can’t look at [music] like a competition because you ruin the reason why you love music.” And Gaga has defended Perry recently, too, after the latter’s controversial performance of “Unconditionally” at the American Music Awards. According to The Huffington Post, Gaga commented on Perry’s use of “geishas” in the performance, “Maybe it’s because ‘Unconditionally’ means you’re supposed to love no matter what geishas are paid? . . . I think people are generally too sensitive and they should just leave her be, but you know, I’m not really the person to ask.”
Carter split with Gaga days before the release of her Artpop album last year over what was reported as “creative differences.” Previously, he claimed the division of labor was that Gaga handled 95 percent of the creative decisions while he handled 95 percent of the business decisions.
He first teamed with the singer in 2007. The next year, she released her debut album, The Fame, after which he helped her as her career blossomed. In early 2013, at a point when Gaga had sold nearly 23 million albums, he told The Hollywood Reporter, “She was very specific about her vision, all of the music was there, and all she needed was someone to help her translate it to the rest of the world, which is where I came in.”
Carter is the CEO and founder of the Los Angeles-based management company Atom Factory, which he founded in 2010. He began his career in Philadelphia in the early Nineties, working as an assistant to Will Smith’s longtime business partner James Lassiter and helping out in the studio that belonged to DJ Jazzy Jeff. In 1995, he began an internship at Bad Boy Entertainment, where he worked with Notorious B.I.G. Four years later, he formed a management company, Erving Wonder, which managed the careers of Eve, Nelly and Floetry. The Sanctuary Group acquired the conmpany in 2004, and Eve fired him as her manager three years later, according to Philly.com. Shortly after that, he met Lady Gaga.