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John Legend brings Yuletide cheer, camp, and stately soul to The Met Philly

John Legend | photo by Senia Lopez | senialopez.photography

John Legend is corrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrny. That’s a compliment when it comes to doing Christmas right. At least in the manner in which he — the one-time University of Pennsylvania student/singer — has this season: giving modern R&B heft, humor and sensuality to a Nat King Cole sense of savoir faire for everything from last week’s NBC TV special, A Legendary Christmas with John and Chrissy (Teigen, his model/actress/author wife), to a holiday album of newly-penned and classic carols with A Legendary Christmas, to this Christmas-themed gig at The Met Philly.

The Tuesday evening concert, in the bitter chill, no less, was part of the opening week of Live Nation and North Broad Street’s newest, most dramatic entrée into the venue scene: an old one, all 110-years and $56 million dollars’ worth of rejuvenated proscenium arches, gold leaf rosettes, mezzanines and large scale stages and sightlines. Continue reading →

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Watch John Legend get into the holiday spirit with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” video

John Legend in “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” | still from youtube video

There’s plenty of holiday music to go around, but the season always seems a little more festive when a new tune comes our way. John Legend recently put his own stamp on some classic holiday songs with his new album A Legendary Christmas, and just released a fun, retro-inspired video for “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The singer duets with Esperanza Spalding on the track, and the video sees both musicians decked out in their holiday best, reveling in the season’s festivities as they sing. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: John Legend will bring his Christmas tour to The Met in December

John Legend | photo by Doug Interrante for WXPN

Singer-songwriter John Legend is infused with the holiday spirit this year, and drops his first holiday LP, A Legendary Christmas, via Columbia Records on October 26th. The album features collaborations with Stevie Wonder and Esperanza Spalding, with Raphael Saddiq executive producing, and Legend takes the album on the road starting in mid-November and stretching to the end of the year. Continue reading →

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Love Rules: John Legend plays an empowering set at BB&T Pavilion

John Legend | photo by Doug Interrante for WXPN

In 1995, John Stephens — aka John Legend — stepped onto the campus at the University of Pennsylvania as a senior in high school. Now, 22 years later, he brings to the Philadelphia region the gift of music therapy. With his soulful and soothing voice, his wise and calm manner of speaking to his audience, his graceful and easy stage presence, and his thoughtful and emotional songs, he delivered an uplifting and memorable show at BB&T Pavilion Monday night that elevated the live experience to new heights. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: John Legend at BB&T Pavilion, Graham Nash at Ocean City Music Pier

John Legend | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Although he may now be just as famous for his relationship with model Chrissy Teigen as he is for his insanely good voice, soul singer John Legend continues to put out hit after hit. The 10-time Grammy Award winner released his fifth studio album Darkness and Light last year, and he is currently touring in support. Catch the crooner tonight at BB&T Pavilion. For tickets and more information, see the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Watch the trailer for the John Legend-produced film “Can You Dig This”

John Legend: www.johnlegend.com |Official poster : https://www.facebook.com/CanYouDigThisFilm/
John Legend: www.johnlegend.com |Official poster : https://www.facebook.com/CanYouDigThisFilm/

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 →

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Listen to Kwesi K cover John Legend on WXPN’s Copy That

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 →

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John Legend headlined The Mann Center in peak form

John Legend | Photo by Cameron Pollack
John Legend | Photo by Cameron Pollack

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 →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: John Legend at the Mann Center, The Box Tiger at The Fire, Song Dogs at Boot and Saddle

John Legend | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
John Legend | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Philly R&B legend John Legend plays the Mann Center tonight. The nine time Grammy winner played a wonderful show at Verizon Hall earlier this year, in support of Love in the Future. Listen to  the smash hit “All of Me” from Love in the Future below. In May, Legend also gave the stirring, wise commencement address for this year’s University of Pennsylvania’s graduation. Get more info at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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John Legend dazzles in a homecoming show at Verizon Hall

John Legend | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
John Legend | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

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.