John Legend bring light and also love in ~ a time when things space bleak, crooning the soundtrack of ours lives.

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The story of just how John became Legend is one wrought with hardship and also trauma, however ultimately end in hope. In a time when civilization need the most, man serves together a reminder that anything and also everything is possible so lengthy as you have the courage to try. We first met man Roger Stephens 16 or therefore years back when the was to sing hooks for Kanye West, climate a rising rapper with major buzz and an opening tourism slot because that Usher. In Springfield, Ohio, Legend to be born into a human being of music. His factory worker father to be a drummer, his mother sang and directed the church choir, and his grandmother was the church organist. By the time he was four, the was taking piano lessons and also would soon start come write and sing his own music.

In undergrad at the university of Pennsylvania, he sang in one a cappella group on campus and earned money v piano gigs in ~ church and as a session player. Did you recognize that’s him on the secrets on Lauryn Hill’s glorious The Miseducation the Lauryn Hill classic, “Everything Is Everything”?

“If I might go back and offer my younger self a message, I would certainly tell myself, it’s gonna be OK. I began high school very young. Ns was 12 years old when many of my course was 14. So ns was shy. I was nervous. Ns didn’t know very many civilization there due to the fact that I hadn’t gone to institution in that area of city before. For this reason I simply felt pretty overwhelmed by that moment. But, friend know, that all operated out. You just have to keep working and also trying to be the finest person you have the right to be. And hopefully things have the right to work out. I would’ve called myself earlier then, it’s gonna be okay, John,” says Legend.

Legend take it off through his sensational 2004 debut Get Lifted, which earned him three Grammys, consisting of Best new Artist. His meditations on problem of the heart—romance, love, lust, heartbreak, commitment—and all that renders us human has actually yielded one acclaimed catalog, including plenty of hits, several height albums, a starring function in NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar, and also a coveted spot on hit competition display The Voice. He has actually won an Emmy, 11 Grammys, one Oscar, and also a Tony, which renders him the first Black guy to attain EGOT status.

But John’s most impressive success is, perhaps, that he inspires expect in a civilization where the is desperately needed.

“During these painful times, some of us might wonder if the ok come laugh or run or be romantic,” Legend says. “It’s important for united state to proceed to show the civilization the fullness of what it is to be human. V our art, we room able to do that. This album is a solemn event of love, joy, sensuality, hope, and resilience.”

There’s a feeling of worry and also uncertainty hanging around right now. The an international coronavirus pandemic has actually upended life together we knew it. Hundreds of thousands the lives have actually been lost, millions an ext are without work, and we’ve to be stuck within for months, can not to hug or kiss friends and also family or relish in the most basic pleasures. Human being are angry, exhausted, afraid—and much more divided 보다 ever. “We’ve been continuing to be home. We’ve barely left the house. Ns haven’t obtained on a aircraft since February, i beg your pardon is an extremely strange for me because I’ve been flying a lot since I had my an initial job out of college as soon as I was two decades old. I’m forty one now. This is the longest I’ve ever gone without paris somewhere. But that way I acquire to spend a lot more time with my kids. They’re house from school. My mam is no working outside the home either. So we’re simply doing whatever from home. This Nobleman covering is the very first time I’ve left come shoot anything,” says Legend.

Legend’s hopeful song “Always” feels specifically poignant come this moment. “Why am I/Stuck in time/Stuck inside/While the totality world’s passing me by,” the sings. This words were written long prior to we were jointly confined come our homes, however they nail the heaviness of life ~ above pause. The world could usage a reminder of the strength of love, and also John’s saturday studio album, Bigger Love (Columbia Records), does just that.

“I’ve never ever been one to kind of keep up advice nuggets, however the best advice I’ve ever been offered was from Quincy Jones. He constantly says ‘steal from the best.’ ns think that’s good advice. Meaning, if you’re a creative person, nothing you’re law is totally divorced from the things that have come before. So if you room a musician and you listen to great musicians who influence you, it’s OK to take affect from them. Friend know, ideas, and then do them her own,” claims Legend.

Since John’s come in 2004, his work-related has constantly explored different facets of love. That has created some that the best love song of our time v his genius mix that soul, pop, and hip-hop sensibilities. “You never understand what you’re walking to release an album to, due to the fact that of every one of the work you’re act in 18 month leading up to it,” Legend says. “This time, it’s a pandemic. I know music is only a small component of people’s lives—it’s not everything in their lives, like it is for mine—but ns think that can assist people’s mood, help people feeling better, feeling inspired and think about their relationships and also their loved ones in a different way. If I might have made any album that would come out during this time, this would have actually been it.” john has created a soundtrack to our lives, and Bigger Love is the music hug we must counteract the darkness, grief, and also anxiety weighing on us, appropriate now, together a society.

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The album is classic John Legend: Soulful, joyful, loving, hopeful, and tender. Love together a publicly virtue is the core of what Legend is about, both inside and out. It informs his music and his life choices, the method he and also his mam prioritize their family, and it’s at the facility of his activism and philanthropy. Legend is exceptionally talented and skilled, yet he’s likewise socially conscious and also politically involved in ways that have extended his influence. Friend don’t need to be a good person to have actually extraordinary skill, yet Legend’s goodness shines v every aspect of his life; how could we fail to love him and also take lull in his music?

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Photography by ERIC MICHAEL ROY produced by DOUG McLAUGHLINInterview through KARA STUDZINSKIStyling by DAVID THOMASGrooming by PAM FARMERShot on location 8469 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood Hills, CARepresented solely by Andrew Rhoda the Compass