In his preparation to perform at the 2006 Grammy Awards held at Staples Center in L.A. on February 8, John Legend fantastically continues to score great achievement after another. Following his Grammy nominations, he has gloriously been nominated for International Male Solo Artist and International Breakthrough Act categories at Brit Awards slated to be held on February 15, adding more accolades into his burgeoning resume. Also scheduled to exhibit his great voice on live performance alongside Joss Stone and Stevie Wonder during the pre game show of NFL Super Bowl XL in Detroit by February, this R&B and neo soul singer undeniably has established himself to be one of the most potential rising music artists who has really brought fresh air in the music industry with his extraordinary compositions.
Born into a musical family with the name John Stephens on December 28, 1978 in Springfield, Ohio, John has been taught to play classical piano and sing gospel tunes by his grandmother at a very young age, so it can be said that music has really become the central theme in his life ever since. Developed his talent also skills in the local church's choir, the boy not only got deeper in his fondness for music, but also thoroughly enjoyed his time when performing at the church. "I always loved the feeling when people responded to my singing and playing," he admitted. "I was ambitious and just loved being onstage."
Also listening to the likes of Michael Jackson, LL Cool J, Boyz II Men, MC Hammer, and Jodeci as he grew up, John enthusiastically involved himself in music, attending some talent contests, joining an acappella group called Counterparts, and becoming a choir director at Philadelphia's University of Pennsylvania where he took English major after his graduation from Springfield North High School. During this period, he took time to hold a number of shows around the city, even managed to expand his audience base to New York, Boston, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. by 2000, the same year he finished his college study at the age 20.
Afterwards produced two CDs of self-titled demo (2000) and 'Live at Jimmy's Uptown' (2001) which he sold at his shows, John had just begun to think of looking for a record deal when his former classmate at Penn, Devo Harris, introduced him to his cousin, Kanye West, who at that time was emerging as one of the most wanted producers in the music scene. "I first met Kanye after he came to see one of my shows," so he recalled. "It took a while for us to start working together." Spending the next years to help West constructing his debut album, 'The College Dropout', John also managed to add impressive credits to his resume through his contributions in some famous singers' projects, such as those of Alicia Keys', Black Eyed Peas', and Janet Jackson's.
Finally signed under West's G.O.O.D. Music which led him to secure a deal with Sony/Columbia Records by the late 2003, it was during this time John began to use Legend behind his first name, a monicker given by his college friend who considered him to be sounded so much like an old school artist. He then released another live CD, 'Solo Sessions, vol. 1: Live at The Knitting Factory', in 2004 before marked his initial step into the American mainstream music scene with the launching of his major first effort, 'Get Lifted', on December 28 of the same year. Featured 14 gritty compositions, this piece of work delightfully was praised by both critics and fans for its unique sounds also range of styles, resulting in tremendous record sale of 2 million copies worldwide.
Consequently certified Platinum, 'Get Lifted' also scored excellent attainment in Billboard charts as it quickly soared to the first rank of Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart besides successfully broke into the top five of both The Billboard 200 and Top Internet Albums while one of its track, 'Ordinary People', made its way to enter the top 30 of Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. What's more, it eventually brought John to amazingly collect 8 nominations at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards in 2006, including those of Best R&B Album, Best New Artist, and Song of the Year for 'Ordinary People.' Beat out many other contenders, he finally won three Grammys, mainly for Best New Artist, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, and Best R&B Album for his latest set "Get Lifted".
In 2007 he expanded his horizon by opening a recording house named Home Schooling where British singer Estelle was signed under. His music, meanwhile, continued to flow with the announcement of a third studio album. In October 2007 he revealed that will.i.am would be working on some tracks along with a newcomer named Think. Legend claimed that the record would be "different than anything else" he had done before.
Legend released his third studio album, "Evolver", in 2008. Of the reasons for calling the album 'Evolver', he explained, "I think people sometimes come to expect certain things from certain artists. They expect you to kind of stay in the same place you were at when you started out. Whereas I feel I want my career to be defined by the fact that I'm NOT gonna stay in the same place, and that I'm always gonna try new things and experiment. So, as I think this album represents a manifestation of that, I came up with the title 'Evolver'."
The album was preceded by dance-pop-influenced uptempo single "Green Light" which featured rapper Andre 3000 a.k.a. Andre Benjamin of OutKast and became his highest-charting single since "Ordinary People". It also nabbed a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
Legend returned with a new album in 2010. That year, he and The Roots dropped a collaborative LP called "Wake Up!" which was preceded by the single "Wake Up Everybody" featuring singer Melanie Fiona and rapper Common. The album earned him and The Roots two Grammys for Best R&B Album and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for "Hang on in There".
Legend tried his hand at reality television in 2012 by serving as a judge on the singing competition "Duets". He worked alongside Kelly Clarkson, Robin Thicke and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland on the show.
Legend scored his biggest hit yet in 2013 with "All of Me", the third single of his next album "Love in the Future". The song, dedicated to his wife Chrissy Teigen, spent multiple weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became one of the best-selling digital singles of all time. Its parent album, meanwhile, debuted at No. 4 on Billboard 200.
In 2014, Legend paired with the rapper Common to write the song "Glory" from the film "Selma", which chronicled the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches. The song won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song as well as the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Legend is coming back with his fifth studio installment in December 2016. He's releasing "Darkness and Light" on December 3. The album is supported by lead singles "Love Me Now" and its follow-up "Penthouse Floor" featuring Chance the Rapper. Brittany Howard and Miguel will also make appearances in the project.