Springfield’s John Legend remembers times before the legend began


It looks like singer-songwriter and Springfield native John Legend hasn’t forgotten his roots.

The Grammy Award-winning performer took part in Instagram’s “Flashback Friday” hashtag trend by taking to the site Friday evening and posting a series of pictures from his early days, including one from a 1989 Springfield News-Sun article detailing how he won the Springfield City School District spelling bee that year. The picture features a 10-year-old Legend — then under his given name of John Roger Stephens — studying with his mother, Phyllis Stephens, who used to homeschool him periodically. Legend went on to graduate from North High School as salutatorian of his class, and then from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in English.

Following his graduation in 1999, Legend began writing, producing and recording his own music until he was introduced to hip-hop artist Kanye West, who was gaining popularity at the time. After being hired by West to sing on some of his tracks and signing to the artist’s label, Legend changed to his current stage name after poet J. Ivy created the moniker, stating that Legend’s music reminded him of “music from the old school” and that he sounded like “one of the legends.”

In 2016, Legend helped raise $500,000 to donate to the Springfield school district to renovate the auditorium that now bears his name. He now resides in New York City with his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, and their daughter, Luna.

» RELATED: That time 10-year-old John Legend was a Springfield spelling bee champion

» READ MORE: Legend returns for ‘important center of Springfield’

» READ MORE: Video shows behind-the-scenes at John Legend Theater in Springfield

» WATCH: Behind-the-scenes of the John Legend Theater

» READ MORE: Springfield’s John Legend blasts Trump, supports protesting NFL players



Reader Comments


Next Up in Community News

Two lots of 9Lives Protein Plus wet, canned cat food voluntarily recalled
Two lots of 9Lives Protein Plus wet, canned cat food voluntarily recalled

Specific lots of 9Lives Protein Plus wet, canned cat food has been voluntarily recalled due to possible low levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1), the J.M. Smucker Company announced today. The product is being recalled out of caution. Impacted products should not be fed to cats and thrown away. No illnesses related to this issue have been reported. The impacted...
Father turns in daughter to face charges over starving dogs
Father turns in daughter to face charges over starving dogs

Two women are now facing charges after two dogs were left alone and nearly starved to death. >> Read more trending news  There has been an outpouring of support for the dogs at the Washington County Humane Society in Pennsylvania. The father of one of the women arrested said he turned her in himself, which wasn't an easy decision, because...
Naked man on roof damaged cameras, windows, burned clothing
Naked man on roof damaged cameras, windows, burned clothing

Officials from Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana are still figuring out how much damage an agitated naked man caused Sunday to its Dayton residential re-entry facility. >> Read more trending news   The naked man, who police haven’t identified, spent more than four hours on the roof of the organization’s Gettysburg Avenue...
Parents of girls allegedly assaulted on Ben Logan school bus speak out
Parents of girls allegedly assaulted on Ben Logan school bus speak out

Parents of the little girls who were allegedly sexually assaulted on a school bus by a Benjamin Logan High School student are speaking out about the teen’s recent release from detention. The father of one of the six-year-old victims said he feels physically sick every time he sits in the same courtroom with the teen. “To be honest with...
Area lawmaker pushing bill for how, when police body camera video is used
Area lawmaker pushing bill for how, when police body camera video is used

Miami Valley state lawmaker Niraj Antani is hoping to win passage of a bill on police body cameras this week. Under current law there are no rules for how and when police may use the cameras, or regulations on when that video may be made public, if ever. Rep. Antani, R-Miamisburg, said his proposal, House Bill 425, does not tell police when and where...
More Stories