In 2004, John Legend (then known primarily as an in-demand all-star studio session man) stepped into the solo spotlight as a premier singer-songwriter-pianist-performer in his own right with his...Expand
In 2004, John Legend (then known primarily as an in-demand all-star studio session man) stepped into the solo spotlight as a premier singer-songwriter-pianist-performer in his own right with his debut album Get Lifted. Driven in part by the hit singles "Ordinary People" and "Used To Love U," Get Lifted was a critical and commercial triumph, earning John an astounding eight Grammy nominations -- he won Best New Artist, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance ("Ordinary People") and Best R&B album -- and selling more than three million copies worldwide.
Once Again, John's new album, is many things, chief among them, it's a pop/soul album fueled by intelligence, intuition, sensuality, spirit and a creativity made possible when Raphael Saadiq, Kanye West, Craig Street and will.i.am brought the lead single, "Save Room," to John. Breezy and sexy, "Save Room" is a joyful, cool love song, inspired by an old AM radio single, "Stormy," by the Classics IV (a 60's Top 40 band best-known for "Spooky"). As John recalls, "will brought the sample. I didn't even know the original. I just knew it was a nice organ sound and wanted to write to it. I just started mumbling along to it, finding my place in the melody and it worked for me."
John Legend (nee Stephens) grew up in Ohio, surrounded by every musical influence from gospel to hip-hop. While attending the University of Pennsylvania (where he majored in English), Legend found time to make his own music, whether it was recording his own albums, performing at talent shows and open mics, or directing the choir at a local church. In fact just months before he began work on Get Lifted, Legend finally ended a nine-year tenure as music and choir director at Bethel A.M.E. Church in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Three years ago, John Legend was a highly regarded session musician. Today he's an artist who proves that, even in an age of expediency and crass commercialism, real talent not only still matters but will be acknowledged. When asked how success has affected him, John replies, "I think I'm happier, not just because of winning Grammys and selling records, but because it's really fulfilling to have all these things happen with something you love to do. To have the chance to see your music be elevated and to have almost universally positive response to that music, makes me feel better every day. I feel more confident and inspired, and that's fun. I'm feeling truly creative and I'm hoping that feeling will stay around, because my hope and belief is that most people are down to grow and explore with me."