John Legend: Well it’s funny because I was making my own album [Get Lifted] during the time when I was working with everyone else as well anyway, and I just didn’t have a record deal. I didn’t have the outlet yet for the music to be released on a global scale. And so I was creating all this music kind of underground, behind the scenes.
But I was also lending my voice, and my writing talents, and my piano playing talents to more high profile releases at the same time. The high profile stuff got more attention, but the bulk of my time was still being spent on my own project.
And so to me, I was always looking at myself as a solo artist. Other people were looking at me as kind of a contributing artist at the time, but eventually my solo career took off and I got to be recognized for what I really was doing in the first place – which was making my own music, and performing it, and recording it, and for my own name and not for someone else.