John Legend talk life, politics and new album
It’s been eight years since John Legend first graced the world with his sensuous, elevating soul music, breaking into the heartbeat of jazz-laden rhythms with 2004’s Get Lifted, and later following his debut success with Once Again in 2006, and Evolver in 2008. Nine Grammy Awards later, the sophisticated singer-songwriter has settled into a sweet utopia. In addition to his one-man show, he coupled with The Roots on the 2010 politically-driven collaborative album, Wake Up!; branched into television as a judge and performer on this year’s musical competition series, Duets; got engaged to supermodel Chrissy Teigen; and entertained his friends with lavish personal fetes, including a barbeque this Fourth of July where people like Stevie Wonder and Frank Ocean mingled among guests.
Life is good if you’re Legend, and for everyone else, he’s offering a small piece of his Heaven. The 33-year-old will release his fourth studio album this winter, telling theGrio on Thursday that, this time around, it’s all about revisiting past recollections with a new age sensibility.
What are your thoughts at the end of your first big stint on television?
I loved it. I really had a good time. I just felt like, in this kind of a venue, and in this kind of an atmosphere, I could really enjoy myself and do well.
What’s different about the John Legend now, and the John Legend from “Ordinary People”?
I’ve just grown a lot and learned a lot. I’ve experienced more in my relationships; I’m engaged now…I think that experience will come through in my lyrics. And I think I’ve grown as a musician and as a singer, but I’m still working with a lot of the same producers I was working with back then, so we’ll try to capture that magic from Get Lifted and Once Again, but bring it to the future.
What’s the latest with the album?
It’s really coming along. I made a fun record with No I.D. I’m working a lot with Kanye, the Stereotypes, with Dave Tozer, Paul Epworth – I’ve been working with some great people. It’s coming along really nicely. We’re going to have a single out in the next month or two, and then an album in the winter.