John Legend isn’t technically from Philadelphia, but after graduating from Penn in 1999 and giving the university’s commencement speech a mere 15 years later, I think it’s safe to say Philly has adopted him as one of our own. We all know about Legend’s musical successes — I still haven’t gotten his beautiful 2013 track “All of Me” out of my head — but you might be less familiar his with foray into Hollywood as a producer. Continue reading →
He left Philly for Los Angeles back in the fall, but singer-songwriter Kwesi K is back this week for a short stay. He appeared on the air on WXPN last night, chatting with Dan Reed about his new digs and finding himself immersed in the professional songwriting community of LA. “I like being in a room where I’m the worst writer there,” he says. “It’s a nice challenge.” Continue reading →
Okay, number nerds, this is pretty interesting: Spotify this week released a study on “the most musical universities in America,” ranking schools based on amount of music listened overall and number of subscriptions at their student rate. The University of Pennsylvania ranked as the 34th most musical school in the country, and the school-specific breakdown provides an interesting snapshot of the West Philly ivy league institution’s listening habits. Continue reading →
There is not a shred of doubt in my mind: John Legend, formerly John Stephens, is 100% deserving of the name he now calls his own. His career now spans fifteen years, five of which have been unsigned. His climb to a record deal featured collaborations with Lauryn Hill on her track “Everything Is Everything” during college, backing vocals on Alicia Keys’ “You Don’t Know My Name” in 2003, and an eventual meet-up and collaboration with Kanye West throughout the early 2000’s. His career has never stopped climbing since, churning out Grammy award winning, chart-topping tunes with every album release.
Legend’s “homecoming” show to The Mann on Saturday showcased Legend at the peak of his popularity and his songwriting ability. Continue reading →
R&B nine-time Grammy award-winning artist John Legend took the stage at Verizon Hall on Tuesday night. Playing a sold-out stripped-down acoustic set in support of his latest album, Love in the Future, Legend – who got his start as a musician locally while attending University of Pennsylvania – wooed the audience with his soulful, piano-driven performance, accompanied by a guitarist and a string quartet. Despite the large size of the performance hall, Legend’s frequent interactions with the audience made the show seem quite intimate. He was open to song requests, and he encouraged the audience to clap and sing along at points during the night.
Throughout the show, Legend shared several personal stories with the audience in between songs. At one point, he described his method of writing songs, stating that the music comes to him first, followed by gibberish placeholder vocals, and eventually the lyrics pieced together into a story to make a song. In addition to performing selections from his latest album as well as older favorites, Legend performed a couple powerful, yet delicate cover songs. He did Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” revealing that Springsteen requested that Legend perform his interpretation of this song at the 2013 MusiCares event honoring Springsteen himself. After sharing a story about how his grandmother had such a strong influence on his music, Legend dedicated a soulful rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in her memory. After a standing ovation, Legend closed the show with an encore performance of his smash hit “All of Me.” Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.
Fresh off her On the Hill Series session, Philly-born Portland-based acoustic singer/songwriter, Mirah, will play Johnny Brenda’s tonight. Her latest album, Changing Light, was released on May 13 via Absolute Magnitude. You can find more info and tickets for the show here; below, revisit “Cold Cold Water” from her second LP Advisory Committee.
John Legend is playing the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center in York on Tuesday, May 13th and touches down in Philly on Tuesday, May 20th at Verizon Hall. Legend is touring in support of his recent studio album, Love In the Future. The R&B singer-songwriter and University of Penn alum is touring with a string quartet in what promises to be an intimate, soulful affair. Go here for tickets and more information.
In February, 2012, Bruce Springsteen was on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon for an entire week to celebrate the release of Wrecking Ball. Some of the guests during the week included Kenny Chesney, Elvis Costello, and John Legend who performed “Dancing In The Dark” with The Roots. Download it below.