One of six young songwriters chosen to perform an original song for John Mayer at Berklee College of Music (Mayer’s alma mater) in Boston last Friday, Avon Lake’s Callie Sullivan performed her tune “The Sinner” in front of a crowd of about 500 peers.
Mayer offered a mix of praise and reportedly said he liked the way she mixed “colloquial speak” with poetry as he gave her a couple of tips.
“There’s something about A minor that’s really nice to write in...but there can be real emo feel to it,” he said. “It’s strange to resolve back to the minor…it doesn’t pay off as much as it should.”
On her second run-through of the song, Sullivan incorporated Mayer’s chord change suggestion. “If you end up throwing the D in there just give me $5,” he told her.
"The whole experience was surreal,” says Sullivan. "I was ecstatic about John’s advice. He told me the song was secure as it was but by adding some experimental chords I could bring the song to a whole new level. After adding the new progression, John even harmonized with me as I sang the final refrain. Backstage after the show, he was incredibly personable and encouraging.”
A Berklee College of Music graduate with a bachelor’s degree in songwriting and a high school graduate of the Lake Ridge Academy School of Fine Arts program, Sullivan has performed at various venues in Cleveland and has participated in the annual High School Rock Off. She also once sang the National Anthem at a Cleveland Cavaliers game.
As a member of the Contemporary Youth Orchestra
, she has performed with Pat Benatar, Styx and Jefferson Starship.
She currently lives in Nashville where she performs and releases new music as Virago