John Legend was born John Roger Stephens in Springfield, Ohio. After two decades of tremendous success, the veteran entertainer says he is finally getting comfortable with his stage name.
The name Legend was given to him by J. Ivy, a poet he met when they worked on Kanye West’s 2004 Grammy-winning debut solo album, The College Dropout.
“It’s a stage name that’s been following me for almost 20 years, and I feel like I’m ready to embrace it,” the EGOT winner tells Billboard.
The Voice coach’s new project is a double album simply titled Legend, featuring Rick Ross, Saweetie, Muni Long, Jazmine Sullivan, Ty Dolla $ign and others.
“It represents so much of who I am as an artist, all of the artists who inspired me, all the music that I love,” Legend says.
The album was recorded last year after Legend performed “Feeling Good” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021. “Part of it was fueled by that optimism and that sense that things were going to get better,” the “Ordinary People” singer recalls.
Monday night on the Primetime Emmy Awards, Legend performed “Pieces” from his new album in tribute to entertainers who passed away during the last year. The list included Sidney Poitier, Olivia Newton-John, Betty White, Bob Saget, Ray Liotta and Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura on Star Trek.
Legend is continuing his Las Vegas residency, Love in Las Vegas, at The Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood through October 29.
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