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This American singer, songwriter, musician and actor was born on December 28th, 1978 in Springfield, Ohio. He was originally named John Roger Stephens, but then changed his professional name to John Legend.
He came from humble beginnings, born to Phyllis Elaine who worked as a seamstress and Ronald Lamar Stephens, who was a former guardsman and then went on to become a factory worker. He was one among four children born to this family. He began exhibiting his musical talents at a very young age. Being home-schooled by his mother, John showcased his talents in church, beginning to sing in the choir at the age of four. By the age seven, he had beautifully mastered the piano.
He started attending Norton High School at the age of twelve and graduated as the salutatorian of his class. Even though he was given the options of attending Harvard and Georgetown University, John got his degree with a major in English along with African-American literature, from the University of Pennsylvania.
During his college years, he was the lead vocalist in the co-ed jazz and pop a cappella group. He met Lauryn Hill while in college and was hired by Hill to play the piano on the song Everything is Everything.
He was already an established star through collaborations with large names in the industry before the release of his debut album Get Lifted in 2004. The hit single Ordinary People propelled the album into platinum. The album brought him three Grammys. He went on to release several albums and in 2008 he made his acting debut with a supporting role in the Comedy Soul Men. His recent releases include Wake Up in 2010 and Love In The Future in 2013.
He also made his mark on reality television by coaching a performing with the contestants of the competition Duets. The all-time best song in his career, however, is All of Me which is a ballad. He won the Golden Globe in 2015 as well as the Academy Award alongside Rapper Common for the original song “Glory”
Legend is a strong believer in giving back to the world. He is heavily involved in numerous social causes and charities. Alongside the Harlem Village Academics of New York city, he aids in running several charter schools. He admitted in an interview that it pains him to see kids dropping out of high school and ruining their lives. He even lent his song Shine to a documentary called Waiting for Superman, which focused on the crack in the nation’s public schooling system.
He got married to model Chrissy Teigen in 2013 and they had their first child, a daughter in 2016. She was named Luna Simone.
(By Biopage writers. Photo credit johnlegend.com. Please contact Biopage for any inaccuracy)
John Legend is a wonderful artist. He’s a remarkable lyricist, and the songs he has giftedly crafted are straight-ahead beautiful melodies that will find a welcoming home in the great library of American songs. One of my personal favorites is “Glory,” the duet he performed with Common for the Selma soundtrack—a song with a powerful message about overcoming adversity. With songs like this, he has rewarded a diverse fan base, and I am pleased to be part of such a multitude. John uses his platform to push for meaningful social change, and the depth of his commitment is to be admired. He has visited prisons to raise awareness about mass incarceration—the new slavery—and he spoke out about the importance of Black Lives Matter at Sankofa’s Many Rivers to Cross festival, which I helped organize. I hope John continues to grow as an artist and an activist. (By Harry Belafonte, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and an activist)