How do you follow up a debut album that earned three Grammys in 2004? Songwriter, singer and pianist John Legend has just released his sophomore album, "Once Again." It is the follow-up to "Get Lifte," which earned him four Vibe Award nominations, two Brit Award nominations, two Soul Train Awards, and led to an appearance at this year's Superbowl (American football championship) in Detroit, Michigan. Larry London sat down with Legend to talk about the differences between the two albums.
"I think this album just shows me growing up as a musician a bit more,” says Legend. “I think I have learned more about different kinds of music and listened to different kinds of music. I think that range of influence shows itself on this album more so than it did on the first album. I think as a songwriter and as a singer, I have developed more and learned more, and I think this album is more interesting overall."
"There will be some elements that people did not hear on the first album that they will hear this time. Some more alternative sounds, more jazzy sounds. And different vibes [feelings] than they might have heard on the first album. I went different places [musically], and that is the only possible surprise there will be. But I think my fans expect me to continue to grow as a musician, and to do what feels right musically."
John Legend is 27. In a short time, he has achieved what many artists fail to do in a career.
"It has been an amazing two years now, I guess. We put the album out, "Get Lifted", in late-2004. Now it has almost been two years since that point. We have had amazing success and it feels good."
Legend has achieved superstar status not only in the U.S., but around the world as well.
"People have just really embraced me everywhere I go. It is funny. You go places where they do not speak much English. But they know your songs by heart. It is a pretty amazing feeling to know that the music travels the way it does."
In 2004, Legend's song "Ordinary People" reached the top 30 in the U.S. and in Britain. That led to a performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Last December, he performed in South Africa. Legend plans to tour extensively for his second album.
"We start in the U.S. for about a little over a month and then we go to Europe for three weeks. Next year (2007) we will probably go to Asia, Australia, hopefully Latin America, and Africa as well."
John Legend sang with Tony Bennett on his new CD, "Duets - An American Classic", and also contributed to the new Fort Minor CD. In addition, Legend found time to record a song for the United For Africa benefit CD. His music is something that is enjoyed and shared by many people across the globe.
"What I love about music is that it brings people together. It is universal. It travels so easy it makes the world smaller. It makes it a better place. And so I look forward to sharing that with people around the world."
Music video courtesy: Columbia