John Legend - Biography

John LegendJohn Legend (born John Stephens on December 28 1978 in Springfield, Ohio) is a Grammy winning American R&B singer, songwriter, and pianist. His debut album, the platinum selling Get Lifted, was released in late 2004. It features collaborations with rapper and producer Kanye West as well as rapper Snoop Dogg and the singles "Used To Love U" (US top 100, UK top 30) and "Ordinary People" (US and UK top 30). He also collaborated with Slum Village on the song "Selfish" (US top 100), also featuring Kanye West. Legend also played the piano on Lauryn Hill's "Everything is Everything" and sang background vocals on Jay-Z's "Encore", Alicia Keys' "You Don't Know My Name", and Fort Minor's "High Road."

When Legend was 4, he started playing gospel and classical piano that his grandmother had taught him. And at the age of 5 or 6, he sang with the church choir. Legend attended Springfield North High School, graduating as Salutatorian at 16. He was also prom king.

He attended the University of Pennsylvania. There, he directed Counterparts, a coed a cappella group. At Penn, Legend majored in English, with an emphasis on African American literature and culture.

Oddly enough, his first job after graduating from Penn was not in the music business -- Legend began working for the Boston Consulting Group in Boston and then New York City. Before becoming a mainstream artist, Legend often hit the nightclub circuit in New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC performing as an independent artist and distributing live LPs such as Live at SOB's.

It was John Legend's roommate and former classmate at Penn, Devon Harris, who introduced Legend to his cousin and then up-and-coming hip hop artist Kanye West. Since that meeting, Legend and West have worked closely together. Legend is also signed to West's label, G.O.O.D. Music. Legend sang many of the melodic hooks on Westís demo, which would eventually become the Grammy Award winning The College Dropout; and West provided rhythm tracks for Legendís demo, which would evolve into Get Lifted. Recently, Legend contributed to fellow G.O.O.D artist Common's LP, Be, and also provided vocals for the track "High Road" on the album The Rising Tied by Fort Minor (Mike Shinoda).

Legend frequently cites gospel, R&B, and/or hip hop music as his main musical influences.

Legend performed during the pregame show of Super Bowl XL in Detroit. He also performed during the halftime show at the 2006 NBA All-Star Game, and he performed "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch at the 2006 Major League Baseball All Star Game in Pittsburgh, PA.

He is also featured in the Black Eyed Peas song "Like That". The song "Ordinary People" was originally meant to be for a Black Eyed Peas project, but Legend decided to keep it for himself and recorded the song after he had been signed to Columbia Records.

Legend also appears on the soundtrack to the film Second Chance (starring Michael W. Smith) with the song "Refuge". Other appearances on the soundtrack include multiple songs by Michael W. Smith himself.

The first single from his sophomore album, Once Again, is "Save Room". The album was released October 24th 2006 and boasts production from Kanye West, Raphael Saadiq, and will.i.am.

In an interview with MTV.com, Legend said that the album would contain his favourite song that he has written to date, entitled "Again." He said he actually came up with the idea for the song and wrote some of it while sitting on a subway. He stated that the song was also the inspiration for the album's title.

John Legend Official Website

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