''Plays well with others.” That tagline trailed John Legend wherever he went, from collaborations with Lauryn Hill and Alicia Keys to Kanye West and Jay-Z.
Maybe it was inspired by years of singing in the church choir or the a capella stints in college. But the soulful throwback singer has always been a solo force to be reckoned with.
His latest hit ballad, “All of Me,” is the perfect example as he finds beauty in the simplicity of just vocals and piano.
“I told my label early on that this could be the biggest song of my career if we don't mess it up,” he told Billboard last month.
Written as a gift to his wife, Chrissy Teigen, a Sports Illustrated swimwear model, the song is now officially the biggest hit of his career, climbing to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Before the nine-time Grammy winner returns to the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night, here are the top 5 things you should know about Legend:
1. Born John Roger Stephens in Springfield, Ohio, he took on the larger-than-life nickname after a Chicago spoken word artist kept repeating it to reflect Legend's “old school” vocals. But it was Kanye West who officially crowned him “John Legend” after signing him to his GOOD Music label in 2004.
2. Legend got his big break in 1998 when he was still an undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania (and still named John Stephens). A mutual friend introduced him to singer Lauryn Hill, who tapped him to play piano on the song “Everything is Everything.” Her album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” went on to sell 19 million copies.
“I went back to college, and I was the man after that,” Legend has said.