What role does faith play in your life?

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

TRANSCRIPT

John Legend: You know I have my issues with faith nowadays. I grew up in a religious home, but I’m not religious right now. But I’m trying to get back in touch with the things that were good about the faith that I grew up with.

I never lost the sense of moral compass. I never lost the sense that the world is bigger than just me, and that there’s more to life than just me as an individual, that there’s a lot more. And I try to live that way now, and I think I was influenced by my religious upbringing in that sense. I was taught that.

What I’ve tried to do is shed some of the less desirable sides of the religious upbringing as well. I saw a lot of hypocrisy. I felt like religion, in a lot of ways, was used to control and subdue people rather than to bring out the best in them sometimes. And so I’ve tried to shed some of those restrictions, but still keep the moral compass and the character development aspects of religion that I think were really important for me.

Recorded on: Jan 29, 2008


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