John Legend: 3 things you might not know about the Springfield star


There’s no denying entertainer John Legend is a hot item in the music scene. The Springfield native has earn multiple awards and nominations for his songs and even has one for producing ensembles for Broadway.

But how did he get his name? And how did he get his start?

Here are some facts you might not know about the talented musician.

1. He was given his stage name by a poet

His name wasn’t always John Legend. Legend was born John Roger Stephens on Dec. 28, 1978. He didn’t become John Legend until after he was the first artist to be signed to hip-hop artist Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. music label in 2003 and met poet J. Ivy, who called him “Legend.” Ivy said Legend’s musical style reminded him of “one of the legends,” and the artist took it as his stage name.

2. He got his first critical acclaim in college

While Legend attended the University of Pennsylvania, he was the president and music director of a co-ed jazz and pop a cappella group called Counterparts. While part of the group, he performed the lead vocals on a rendition of Joan Osborne’s “One of Us” and received wide praise. The track ended up compiled on the 1998 edition of “Best of Collegiate a Cappella.”

It was also during his college years that Legend played the piano part on Lauryn Hill’s track “Everything is Everything” from her 1998 debut solo album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” which was included in the U.S. National Recording Registry in 2015.

3. He was in the movies before “La La Land”

Many know Legend played the role of Keith in the Golden Globe-winning film “La La Land,” but that wasn’t his first stint on the silver screen. His actual first time in the movies was a minor role in Kevin Bacon’s 2005 film “Loverboy,” and in 2008, he played the role of a band leader in “Soul Men,” which starred Samuel L. Jackson and late comedian Bernie Mac.

He’s also had a few appearances on the small screen, such as appearing on the popular HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm” in 2007 and tracing his history on “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.,” as well as acting as a judge and coach on ABC’s “Duets,” in 2012.

More John Legend stories from the Springfield News-Sun

No Grammy nod for Springfield’s John Legend

John Legend and family go to Fairmont, Springfield HS football game

Springfield’s John Legend blasts Trump, supports NFL players



Reader Comments


Next Up in Springfield Entertainment

Pete Davidson appears on 'SNL' after concerning Instagram post, deleting account
Pete Davidson appears on 'SNL' after concerning Instagram post, deleting account

Pete Davidson made an appearance on this week's "Saturday Night Live," putting worried fans at ease hours after the comedian told his Instagram followers that he didn't "want to be on this Earth anymore" before deleting his account. "I'm doing my best to stay here for you but I actually don't know how much longer I can last...
Offset crashes Cardi B show, takes stage to beg for forgiveness
Offset crashes Cardi B show, takes stage to beg for forgiveness

Awkward. Less than two weeks after Cardi B announced her split from her husband, Offset, the Migos rapper made a surprising attempt to win back his ex Saturday night as she performed at the Rolling Loud Festival in Los Angeles. According to Variety, Cardi, whose real name is Belcalis Almanzar, and her fans looked stunned as Offset took the stage. Standing...
’Blurred Lines’ lawsuit: Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams must pay Marvin Gaye’s family $5M
’Blurred Lines’ lawsuit: Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams must pay Marvin Gaye’s family $5M

The legal dust-up between Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and the family of the late singer Marvin Gaye is finally over. A judge has ruled Thicke and Williams must pay Gaye’s family nearly $5 million over a copyright infringement lawsuit that claimed the songwriters used Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up” in their 2013...
Chris Pratt makes Katherine Schwarzenegger relationship social media official
Chris Pratt makes Katherine Schwarzenegger relationship social media official

It was one of the worst kept Hollywood relationship secrets, but now actor Chris Pratt has made it Instagram-official. He is dating Katherine Schwarzenegger, daughter of actor and former governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger and his ex-wife, Maria Shriver. Pratt, 39, posted photos and a birthday message for Katherine Schwarzenegger. While the couple has...
CBS paid actress $9.5M over 'Bull' star's sexual comments
CBS paid actress $9.5M over 'Bull' star's sexual comments

CBS reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement last year with actress Eliza Dushku after on-set sexual comments from Michael Weatherly, star of the network's show "Bull," made her uncomfortable when she was beginning a run as a recurring character. CBS confirmed the settlement Thursday night in a statement to The Associated Press. Dushku...
More Stories