- John Legend
Infobox musical artist 2
Name = John Legend
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = John Stephens
Born = birth date and age|1978|12|28
Origin = Springfield,
Ohio, United States
Genre = R&B,
Instrument = Vocals,
Years_active = 2000 – present
Kanye West, Estelle, Fergie, Will.i.am, Jay-Z, Andre 3000, Fort Minor
Label = Sony Urban,
URL = [http://www.johnlegend.com www.johnlegend.com]
John Stephens (born
December 28, 1978) better known by his stage nameJohn Legend, is a Grammy Award winning American soul singer, songwriter, and pianist. His debut studio album, the multiplatinum-selling " Get Lifted", was released in late 2004, and features collaborations with rapperand producer Kanye Westas well as Snoop Dogg. "Get Lifted" produced two singles: " Used to Love U" (US top 100, UK top 30) and "Ordinary People" (US and UK top 30). Legend has won five Grammy Awards. Prior to the release of his debut album, Legend's career gained momentum through a series of successful collaborations with multiple established artists. Notably, Legend sang the hooks for hits by Slum Village("Selfish", also featuring Kanye West), Jay-Z("Encore"), and Dilated Peoples("This Way", also featuring Kanye West); played piano on Lauryn Hill's "Everything is Everything"; and sang background vocals on Alicia Keys' "You Don't Know My Name" and Fort Minor's "High Road."
Legend was born in
Pittsburgh. His musical interest started at the age of 3 when his grandmother began teaching him to play gospel piano. By the time he was 7 years old, Legend was singing with the church choir and taking lessons in classical music. Legend attended Springfield North High School, graduating as Salutatorianat 16. He was also prom king and president of the student councilFact|date=May 2008.
Legend attended the
University of Pennsylvania(graduating in 1999), where he studied English with an emphasis on John Stuart Milland culture. While at Penn, he helmed Counterparts, a coed jazz and pop a cappellagroup as President (1997–1998) and Musical Director (1998–1999). Legend's lead vocals on the group's recording of Prince's "One of Us" propelled the song to critical acclaim, [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=http://www.rarb.org/reviews/54.html|title=RARB REVIEW|publisher=RARB] landing the song on the track list of the 1998 "Best of Collegiate a Cappella" compilation CD.
Oddly, his first job after graduating from Penn was not in the music business -- Legend began working for the
Boston Consulting Group, first in Boston and then in New York City. Before becoming a mainstream artist, Legend hit the nightclub circuit in New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., performing as an independent artist and selling the live LPs "John Stephens" and "Live at SOB's".
Legend's roommate and Penn classmate, Devon Harris, professionally known as
Devo Springsteen, introduced Legend to his cousin and then up-and-coming hip hop artist Kanye West. Since that meeting, Legend and West have worked closely, with West signing Legend as the first artist to his new label, G.O.O.D. Music. Legend sang many of the melodic hooks on West’s demo which would eventually become the Grammy Award winning album " The College Dropout"; in turn, West provided rhythm tracks for Legend’s demo, which would evolve into "Get Lifted". Recently, Legend contributed to fellow G.O.O.D artist Common's LP, "Be", and provided vocals for "High Road" on the album " The Rising Tied" by Fort Minor ( Mike Shinoda).
Television appearances and commercials
*Legend performed during the pregame show of "
Super Bowl XL" in Detroit. [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1521221/20060119/kelly_r.jhtml?headlines=true|title=For The Record: Quick News On R. Kelly, Jamie Foxx, Green Day, Hilary Duff, Diddy, Tommy Lee & More|publisher= MTV|date=2006-01-19] He also performed during the halftime show at the " 2006 NBA All-Star Game", [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=http://www.nba.com/allstar2006/Legend_Underwood_060215.html|title= John Legend and Carrie Underwood Set for All-Star Halftime Show |publisher= NBA|date=2006-02-15] and he performed "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch at the 2006 Major League Baseball All Star Game in Pittsburgh, PA. [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20060629&content_id=1529530&vkey=pr_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb|title=Musical performers announced for Major League Baseball All-Star Week|publisher= MLB|date=2006-06-29]
*He appeared on the season finale of "
Curb Your Enthusiasm", singing a cover of You Don't Know Me. He also appeared on an episode of the television series "Las Vegas" in February 2007 performing his single "Save Room" solo at the end of the episode.
*In 2007, he performed with
John Mayerand Corinne Bailey-Raeat the Grammy Awards. He later appeared with Bailey Rae in several live performances.
*Legend appears in a recent commercial for a
Lexus SUV, in which Legend is shown listening to Nina Simone's "Backlash Blues" (recorded live in Paris, 1968, on "The Great Show" LP) and describing his experience with the music. He is also notable for performing closing music in many of Apple ComputerCEO Steve Jobs' keynote presentations.
*In January, 2008, he sang in a video for
Barack Obamaproduced by Will.I.Amcalled " Yes We Can". [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjXyqcx-mYY|title=Yes We Can — Barack Obama Music Video|publisher= YouTube|date=2008-02-02]
*On an episode of "
The Colbert Report" which aired March 7, 2008, Legend performed " The Girl Is Mine" with Stephen Colbert. It was a remake of the Michael Jackson/ Paul McCartneyhit. Legend returned to " The Colbert Report" on April 14, 2008, performing " The Star-Spangled Banner" with Stephen Colbert, opening the show's week in Philadelphia.
*Legend performed "America The Beautiful" at
WrestleMania XXIVon Sunday March 30, 2008 at the Citrus Bowlin Orlando, Florida. [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=http://www.wrestling101.com/101/newsitem/5245/|title=WWE SmackDown! February 29, 2008 Results|publisher=Wrestling 101|date=2008-02-29|author=Haslett, Cassidy]
*In a 2008 Target commercial, Legend performed a piece of his song "Slow Dance" to pitch his new album "available exclusively at
Target." The commercial was shown during online streaming episodes of NBCprograms.
*Legend performed several numbers live in front of hundreds of thousands of fans during the July 4th, 2008 celebration on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia.
*Legend performed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver
*He is featured in the
Black Eyed Peassong, " Like That". The song "Ordinary People" was originally meant to be for a Black Eyed Peas project, but Legend decided to keep it for himself and recorded the song after he had been signed to Columbia Records.
*Legend is also working with Michael Jackson for his next album.Fact|date=March 2008 In a Dutch [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pdlim8s99co/ interview] with reporter Tom Theunisz he was asked about this collaboration. John said he has written one song for Jackson's album but is not sure he will use it or not.
*Legend also sang "
The Girl is Mine" and the national anthem along with Stephen Colberton The Colbert Report.
*In 2007, John lent his vocals for the
Rich Boytrack Ghetto Rich
*He has also been featured in the
Fort Minorsong High Road. Also notable is his collaboration with Stacy Ferguson (aka "Fergie") for her song "Finally" on the 2006 album "The Duchess".
André 3000in the song and video to "Green Light".
*Legend is featured in
T.I.'s song "Slide Show" off his album Paper Trail.
Videos and films
The video for his latest single, "
P.D.A. (We Just Don't Care)", features Alexandre Rodriguesand Melvin Braggfrom the critically acclaimed film, "City of God".
Legend's song "Refuge" appears on the soundtrack to the film "
The Second Chance". "Dare to Dream" is in the movie Pride, and "Someday" is part of the soundtrack to the film " August Rush".
The first single from his second album, "Once Again", was "
Save Room". The album was released October 24, 2006, and boasts production from Kanye West, Raphael Saadiq, and will.i.am.
In an interview with MTV.com, Legend said that this album contained his favorite song that he had written to date, entitled "Again." He said he came up with the idea for the song and wrote some of it while sitting on a subway. He stated that the song was also the inspiration for the album's title.Fact|date=October 2007
Legend is preparing for his third studio album "Evolver", which is scheduled for a October 28, 2008 release [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/04/03/DI2008040301941.html|title=Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. with John Legend|publisher=
The Washington Post|date=2008-04-04] . Rapper Andre 3000of OutKastis featured on the first single of the album on a song titled "Green Light". "It's going to be a surprise for a lot of John Legend fans, because it is a lot more upbeat than John is — than people think John is," Andre insisted. "I was actually happy to hear it. This is a cool John Legend song." [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=http://www.mtv.com/movies/news/articles/1582526/story.jhtml|title=Andre 3000 Says He Didn't Even Try To Top Will Ferrell's Comic Chops On 'Semi-Pro' Set|publisher= MTV|date=2008-02-28|author=Adler, Shawn]
Charities and endorsements
7 July 2007, Legend participated in the Live Earth concert in London, performing "Ordinary People". On July 8, 2007, he participated in the Montreux Jazz Festivalin Montreux, Switzerland, with India.Arie. On July 11, 2007, he participated in the Jazz Open Festival in Stuttgart, Germany, with Amy Winehouse.
Legend recently launched "The Show Me Campaign" [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=http://www.showmecampaign.org/|title=The Show Me Campaign|publisher=The Show Me Campaign] , through which his fans are encouraged to donate funds toward improving the living situations and prospects of victims of extreme poverty in Mbola, Tanzania. Legend, in early 2008, began touring with Prof. Jeff Sachs Columbia University's Earth Institute to promote sustainable development as an achievable goal.
Legend returned to his hometown of Springfield, OH on
Christmas Eve2007 for a "Coming Home Christmas Benefit Concert" in the auditorium of North High School. The performance featured several local talent from Springfield, including Legend's younger brother Vaughn Anthony Stephens who helped organize the concert. The performance also featured a tribute to Jason Collierand proceeds went to a scholarship fund set up in his name for local high schoolers. [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/2007-12-25-463102828_x.htm|title=John Legend home for Christmas concert|publisher= USA Today|date=2007-12-25]
Legend is currentlywhen a spokesperson for
Bailey'salcoholic beverage. He also spoke on behalf of The Polka Dotzat Milwaukee's 2008 German Festival.
Legend performed and spoke at his alma mater, the
University of Pennsylvania, on behalf of the Barack Obamapresidential campaign in April 2008. [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=http://media.www.dailypennsylvanian.com/media/storage/paper882/news/2008/04/15/News/A.Penn.Legend.Serenades.Campus-3324899.shtml|title=A Penn Legend serenades campus|publisher= The Daily Pennsylvanian|date=2008-04-15|author=Houston, Ryan] He later performed " If You're Out There" from the album "Evolver" and a duet of Will.i.am's "Yes we can" at the 2008 Democratic National Conventionin Denver, Colorado.
Legend performed a half-hour set list in support of Barack Obama in his hometown of Springfield, as well as at
The Ohio State Universityand Wright State Universitycampuses on September 29, 2008.
After reading Professor
Jeffrey Sachs' book, " The End of Poverty", Legend was inspired to visit Ghanato learn more about making life better for himself. This is when he started "The Show Me Campaign" in 2007. With this campaign, Legend is calling on his fans to help him in his initiative for those who reside in Bossaso Village and non-profit organizations that the campaign partners with.
In 2007, Legend became the spokesman for
GQ Magazine's The Gentlemen's Fund, an initiative to raise support and awareness for five cornerstones essential to men: opportunity, health, education, environment, and justice.
In May 2007, Legend partnered with Tide to raise awareness about the need of families in St. Bernard's Parish, one of the most devastated areas hit by
Hurricane Katrina. He spent a day folding laundry at The Tide Clean Start mobile laundromat and visited homes that Tide is helping to rebuild in that community.
In October 2007, Legend became involved with the Gap's (PROJECT) Red Campaign called (2 WEEKS). Gap's contribution to the Global Fund from the sale of each (2 WEEKS) t-shirt is equivalent to the average cost of 2 weeks of antiretroviral medicine in Africa, which enables people living with HIV to lead healthy, normal lives.
Legend is also the National Spokesperson for
Management Leadership for Tomorrow(MLT). MLT is a national non-profit that has made ground-breaking progress developing the next generation of African American, Hispanic and Native American leaders in major corporations, non-profit organizations and entrepreneurial ventures.
July 26, 2007, Legend hosted a John Legend Network Members Only Party and Concert called "The Kings & Queens Bash" at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, PA. There were 500 participants in attendance and he introduced the acts from his new label, Homeschool Records to his John Legend Network fans: Estelle, his brother, Vaughn Anthony Stephens, Lucy Woodwardand The James Gang.
July 25, 2008, at the Highline Ballroom in New YorkCity, [cite web|accessdate=2008-07-16|url=http://www.johnlegendnetwork.com/web/guest/join|Official Site=Ticket Announcement|source=John Legend Network|date=2008-07-16] John Legend planned another annual private event for his fans that are members of the John Legend Network called "John Legend Unplugged". Legend performed a 21-song set list, including a lot of the new songs that will be on his upcoming album, "Evolver", so John Legend Network members were the first to hear the new songs. After the party, John greeted each individual on their way out and took pictures with fans.
American Music Awards
**2005, Favorite Male R&B/Soul Artist: (nominated)
**2007, Best Male R&B Artist (nominated)
**2005, Best New Artist
**2005, Best Male R&B Artist: (nominated)
**2005, Video of the Year: "Ordinary People" (nominated)
**2007, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance: "Heaven"
**2007, Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group: "Family Affair"
**2007, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance: "
Save Room" (nominated)
Best New Artist
**2006, Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group: "
So High" (nominated)
**2006, Best R&B Album: "
**2006, Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance: "
Stay With You" (nominated)
**2006, Best R&B Male Vocal Performance: "Ordinary People"
**2006, Best R&B Song: "Ordinary People" (nominated)
**2006, Song of the Year: "Ordinary People" (nominated)
**2006, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: "They Say" (nominated)
**2005, Best Video: "Ordinary People" (nominated)
**2005, Best R&B Act
**2005, Best Album: "Get Lifted" (nominated)
MTV Video Music Awards
**2005, Best Male Video: "Ordinary People" (nominated)
**2005, Best New Artist: "Ordinary People" (nominated)
**2005, Best R&B Video: "Ordinary People" (nominated)
Soul Train Awards
**2007, Best R&B/Soul Single Male: "Save Room"
**2007, Best R&B/Soul Album Male: "Once Again" (Nominated)
**2006, Best R&B/Soul Single Male: "Ordinary People"
**2006, Best R&B/Soul Album Male: "Get Lifted"
**2005, Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist: "
Used to Love U" (nominated)
**2005, Best R&B Song: "Ordinary People" (nominated)
**2005, Album of the Year: "Get Lifted" (nominated)
**2005, Artist of the Year: (nominated)
**2005, R&B Voice of the Year: (nominated)
* [http://www.johnlegend.com/ Official site]
* [http://www.johnlegendmusic.co.uk/ Official UK site]
* [http://www.johnlegendnetwork.com/ Official Fan Club]
* [http://www.myspace.com/johnlegend John Legend] at
* [http://www.showmecampaign.org/ Official Philanthropy Efforts]
* [http://www.johnthelegend.com/ Fansite 1]
* [http://www.john-legend.net/ Fansite 2]
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