Nina Simone knew what greatness sounded like, John Legend says.
Question: What inspires your music?
John Legend: I get inspiration from a lot of things. Part of my inspiration is just the desire to make something special, and being inspired by special music that I’ve heard before from people like Marvin Gaye, or Jeff Buckley, or Nina Simone, or the Beatles, or Stevie Wonder, people that I’ve looked up to for years. They inspire me because they let me know what greatness sounds like, and I aspire to that every time I make a record.
I still feel like I’m reaching for those goals, and I’ll always keep reaching for those goals where you can make something that can transcend, that can take you to some other place. Only certain music is able to do that. Only certain great artists have been able to do that, and that’s what I aspire to. And I think those artists that have done that for me are my inspiration.