John Legend life and biography

John Legend picture, image, poster

John Legend biography

Date of birth : 1949-10-03
Date of death : -
Birthplace : San Fernando, California
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-12-28
Credited as : Soul singer-songwriter, and pianist, actor

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John Legend was born John Stephens on December 28, 1978 in Springfield, Ohio. Legend was a child prodigy whose grandmother taught him how to play the piano. He grew up singing in the church choir and attended the University of Pennsylvania where he directed a coed a cappella group. After graduation, he switched gears and worked for Boston Consulting Group but continued to perform in nightclubs in New York City.

Neo-soul singer and pianist John Legend combined the raw fervor of contemporaries Cody ChesnuTT and the burning precision of D'Angelo. 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 the Legend name was adopted with 2004's Solo Sessions Vol. 1: Live at the Knitting Factory. Get Lifted, Legend's 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 and eventually went platinum. Live from Philadelphia, sold exclusively at Target stores, was a successful stopgap release -- a Top Ten album, despite its limited retail presence. October 2008's Evolver spun off the sprightly crossover hit "Green Light" but managed only gold-selling status. Legend followed it with September 2010's Wake Up!, in which he was backed by the Roots. The album featured covers of still-relevant, socially-aware songs like Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' "Wake Up Everybody" and Donny Hathaway's "Little Ghetto Boy."

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