What do you do?

John Legend, is an American soul singer, songwriter, and pianist. He has won six Grammy Awards.  Born John Stephens, Legend was a child prodigy who grew up in Ohio, where he began singing gospel and playing piano at the tender age of five. Legend left Ohio at 16 to attend college in Philadelphia, and it was there that he first found a larger audience. Not yet out of his teens, Legend was tapped to play piano on Lauryn Hill's "Everything Is Everything" in 1998.

After completing college, he moved to New York, where he began to build a loyal following playing in nightclubs and releasing CDs that he would sell at shows. He also became an in-demand session musician, playing and occasionally writing for a wide array of artists, including Alicia Keys, Twista, Janet Jackson, and Kanye West.

It wasn't until West signed the young talent to his new label that he adopted the Legend name with 2004's Solo Sessions Vol. 1: Live at the Knitting Factory. Get Lifted, his first studio album, was released later in the year. On the strength of enduring single "Ordinary People," the album reached the Top Five of the Billboard 200. This led to three Grammy Awards: Best R&B Album, Best R&B Male Vocal Performance, and Best New Artist. Once Again, which peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 and number one on the R&B/hip-hop Albums chart, followed in October 2006. Live from Philadelphia, sold exclusively at Target stores, was a successful stopgap release that predated October 2008's Evolver.

  • Transcript


John Legend: What I do is I create music that hopefully entertains people, inspires people, makes people feel good, makes people fall in love again, makes people think. That’s what I do.

I do it first of all as a creative process, trying to write something special for people, trying to write something that is a beautiful piece of artwork, trying to write something that feels good for me to sing and hopefully will feel good for people to listen to.

And then I try to translate that into a great performance. I try to put on a great concert. I try to bring all these influences I have together and make it an entertaining spectacle for people to see and hear. That’s mainly what I do. I do a lot of others things too, but those are the main things that I do.

Recorded on: Jan 29, 2008