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John Mayer Joins Upstart Alec Benjamin for Duets at L.A. Tour Closer

Remember when John Mayer was the kid in the room? He probably does, and that may goes some way toward explaining why he dropped in for a guest appearance with a younger artist he’s been championing, Alec Benjamin. The not-so-grizzled 41-year-old veteran sat in with the 24-year-old upstart Thursday at the first of his two sold-out shows at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, pairing up for one song by each of them.

The duo first played Benjamin’s single “Death of a Hero,” which, ironically, he has described as being “a story about one of my childhood heroes and how they let me down. It’s about the moment I realized that I wasn’t a kid anymore.” Clearly the song was not written about Mayer, as he went on to say he’d had a poster of the latter up on his wall from the time he was 12 till he was 18 (and half-apologized for not keeping it up longer, but his college dorm wouldn’t allow it). To prove it, Benjamin later posted on Instagram a photo of “the poster I had on my wall of John when I was growing up & have kept all these years,” along with several video clips of their El Rey performance.

The two also played Mayer’s “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room.” “Heroes do exist,” Benjamin declared on social media. “Last night was a dream come true. Thank you @johnmayer for joining me on stage & for inspiring me to make music. You are one of the most talented, humble, & generous human beings i have ever met. I love you & i feel very lucky to have you in my life.”

The love on that social media platform has gone around. Mayer recently had Benjamin as a guest on his Instagram show and called the singer “a young Jedi.”

Benjamin has risen from someone who used to do “parking lot concerts” outside Shawn Mendes shows to a co-writer on Jon Bellion’s debut album to having “I Built a Friend” become a hit via an “America’s Got Talent” sync to an Atlantic debut and largely sold-out tour. His two-night stand at the El Rey wraps up Friday night.

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