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Tag: John Legend (1-9 of 9)

John Legend's 'You and I' music video reveals his feminist side

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John Legend’s “You and I (Nobody in the World)” premiered today, fighting the good fight for female empowerment.

The video features a handful of famous faces: Orange is the New Black‘s Laverne Cox, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air‘s Tatyana Ali, comedian Tig Notaro, and Legend’s own model wife, Chrissy Teigen. Teigen, of course, was the star of Legend’s music video for “All of Me,” a song he famously wrote about her. READ FULL STORY

Katy Perry, Lorde, Imagine Dragons all get early post-Grammys sales boosts

If Katy Perry is actually a witch, then she certainly cast the right spell on music buyers.

Though her performance during the 56th Annual Grammy Awards was met with mixed reviews (EW loved it; the rest of the Internet was more lukewarm), Perry has the biggest post-Grammys sales bump so far.

We won’t know which albums got the biggest spikes until next week (the sales numbers close Sunday night), though a number of songs—including Perry’s “Dark Horse,” featuring rapper Juicy J—have already seen noticeable increases following their appearance on Sunday night’s show.

“Dark Horse” has been on top of the iTunes singles chart all week, and it’s the number one song on Billboard‘s Digital Songs chart (which includes Monday’s sales) this week. It sold 294,000 downloads last week, up 12 percent from last week’s tally. That boost was enough to push “Dark Horse” into the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, which is Perry’s ninth trip to that plateau.

Other big gainers on the Billboard Digital Songs chart include Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” (up 206 percent), John Legend’s “All Of Me” (a 110 percent gain), and Pink & Nate Ruess’ “Just Give Me a Reason” (a 122 percent boost). Imagine Dragons also got a jolt with the release of the Kendrick Lamar-assisted remix of “Radioactive,” which helped the song to a 58 percent sales gain.

It’ll be interesting to see who will see their album sales boosted by the Grammys, which were watched by nearly 30 million people. Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories will almost certainly see a giant bounce, as should Lorde’s Pure Heroine, Kacey Musgraves’ Same Trailer, Different Park, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Heist. However, it’s entirely possible the biggest winner of the post-Grammys week could be 2014 Grammy Nominees, the compilation album that debuted at number two with 59,000 copies sold.

What music did you buy in the wake of the Grammys? Let us know in the comments.

John Legend, Hans Zimmer talk '12 Years A Slave' soundtrack featuring Alicia Keys, Gary Clark Jr. and more

Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave, adapted from the true story of Solomon Northrup, a free New York musician drugged, chained, and sold into Southern slavery in 1841, has already earned some of the year’s highest praise from critics and movie-goers alike.

Tasked with creating an audio companion, R&B singer John Legend — along with famed film composer Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight, Inception), enlisted an all-star lineup of artists, including Alicia Keys, Gary Clark, Jr., Laura Mvula, Alabama Shakes and Chris Cornell to contribute powerful renditions of inspirational songs.

For Legend, the project was intensely personal — his ancestors actually suffered a similar fate: “There’s a very close connection between what happened with Solomon Northup and with some members of my family, being kidnapped as slaves from Ohio back to the South,”  Legend told Entertainment Weekly. It wasn’t until 2011 that Legend found out about this revelation via Henry Louis Gates’s PBS documentary Finding Your Roots. (A record of the order still exists.)

Of his own contribution to the soundtrack, Legend says, “I wanted to do “Roll Jordan Roll.” a capella so that it was somewhat reminiscent of how slaves might have sung it back then. Everything we did for the album, I wanted it to be stripped down production-wise… I wanted it to be just my voice.”

Zimmer says he applied the same artistic vision to the score: “I think part of what was really important was to not have a heavy hand, not to sentimentalize everything,” he told EW. “Just like the cinematography, there’s a beauty about those images. And I thought if I use a very light touch to just open this door, it doesn’t tell you what  to feel, it just allows you to feel something. I think most of the music is really intimate and stays in character, and I really didn’t to get in the way of the performances, because I think some of the performances stand up for themselves.”

“We need this film as a reckoning for America to understand how horrible the institution of slavery was,” says Legend. “We shouldn’t sugarcoat slavery.”

“I think that we’ve gotten really good at not speaking about things, not speaking to each other in the eye, not really acknowledging our past and so it’s sort of echoes into our present,” adds Zimmer. “One of the things I know of this movie is that it deeply scares people, and I think that’s what good movies are supposed to do. They’re supposed to provoke conversation, empathy, change and love.”

The soundtrack to 12 Years A Slave is available now on iTunes; the physical release will be out November 19. You can also listen to samples here.

John Legend drops new 'All of Me' video, including clips from his recent wedding

The pensive black-and-white clip for John Legend’s “All of Me” is certainly personal enough, what with all those intimate shots of him tickling the keys and hanging out shirtless with his model wife Chrissy Teigen.

But then the video steps it up at the end by tacking on actual footage from Legend and Teigen’s very recent wedding in Italy. Take a look at it below:

On the Scene: Alicia Keys' VH1 Storytellers

Image Credit: Michelangelo Di Battista

Alicia Keys’ VH1 Storytellers set at 106 and Park is small but sumptuous with the air of an upscale jazz lounge, the stage adorned with carpets and candles, a stately grand piano at the center.

Keys emerges wearing silver tights and a chin-length bob, strutting about in stilettos. She carries herself onstage with cool and confidence – not showy or attention-seeking, merely comfortable – and speaks in a voice so smooth you could drape it over your shoulders. Everything about the woman – her physique, her demeanor, not to mention her talent as a musician – broadcasts the fame and success that she accepts so casually. Seated in a crowd of perhaps 100, less than ten yards from the singer herself, I am in awe.

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2012 Billboard Music Awards: 20 essential takeaways from the show

Like most music awards shows, the Billboard Music Awards are so not about the statuettes that are doled out. The show — which aired live last night on ABC from the MGM Grand Hotel, with hosts, Modern Family stars Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell — is typically more about everything but the awards: performances, tributes, collaborations, and other sundry craziness.

Hell, even the fashion — hello to Miley Cyrus’ barely-there suit jacket — is more important than the prizes! And that was no different this year. Just a handful of the 46 awards were actually given out during the show (LMFAO dominated), which was jolted to life with performances from Katy Perry, Cee Lo Green, and Linkin Park; tributes to Robin Gibb, Donna Summer, Whitney Houston, the Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch, and Stevie Wonder; a collaboration between Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys; and a heartfelt speech by Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown.

Here are 20 essential takeaways from the evening:

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Kanye West at SXSW: Jay-Z, John Legend, Kid Cudi and more join all-star festival closeout

Maybe it’s true that no one man should have all that power. Or maybe Kanye West just needed his own power station—specifically, the city’s long-dormant nuclear-era Seaholm Power Plant—to host his bold-faced SXSW festival blowout on Saturday night.

The free show, announced via high-production-values promo video by sponsor Vevo only days before, attracted scads of hopefuls livin’ in the 21st century and very much hoping to do something mean to it. Though for nearly two agitated hours, the only aspirants allowed entry were the already-famous: a leather-jacketed Diddy (with three-car convoy), tennis star Andy Roddick and his swimsuit model/actress wife Brooklyn Decker (“YEAH, PETE SAMPRAS!” yelled one witty lineholder), and other assorted sunglasses-at-night types who rolled up in SUVs with full security details, not on foot or via ubiquitous pedicab. READ FULL STORY

John Legend and the Roots bring soulful sounds, strong messages, and Jennifer Hudson to NYC's Terminal 5

JOHN-LEGEND-ROOTSLike that one cool teacher we all had way back when, John Legend and the Roots schooled a sold out crowd at New York City’s Terminal 5 last night. Promoting their collaborative release Wake Up!, comprised mostly of Civil Rights-fueled ‘60s and ‘70s covers, the soul crooner and hip-hop’s baddest band in the land ran through several tracks from the new set—as well as a few of Legend’s biggest hits. It was filmed by director Spike Lee and live streamed on Youtube and Vevo as the latest installment in American Express’ Unstaged concert series.

Parting the audience, Legend and the Roots entered like a New Orleans marching band and stepped up the stage to open with Curtis Mayfield’s “Hard Times,” their hard-hitting cut where John plays the part of a man surrounded neighbors who are quietly racist towards him. The song, like many others from their album embodied the evening’s lesson: Yeah, these songs were inspired from music created during the Civil Rights movement decades ago. But as much as things have changed, they’ve also stayed the same. As a U.S. flag waved in the background, Legend coolly sang Mike James Kirkland’s encouraging classic “Hang on in There.” The song’s breakdown, which included some spoken words about how Legend couldn’t turn his back on his friends or his country, did fall on some deaf ears, though.

“They better play some of their old stuff,” said one disgruntled man to his date. Presumably, he came for a more lighthearted show and not a Wake Up! call to action rally. Others also used some of the show’s most thoughtful moments to talk amongst themselves. It’s already tough to perform a record that came out two days before. Combine that with it being one rife with heavy messages and like a high school history lesson, the audience tuned out.

Eventually they got what they wanted. Legend dipped into his stash of R&B hits and pulled out his upbeat suggestive jam “Green Light.” Then the Roots brought out English siren Estelle for “You Got Me.” The crowd was alive and attentive again. From then on, there were no letdowns. In a white shirt, black vest, and matching sunglasses, Common joined songstress Melanie Fiona on stage for “Wake Up,” earning the night’s biggest applause.

As the lights dimmed, Legend followed with his biggest hit to date, “Ordinary People.” But just when people thought they got their money’s worth and were just about set to go, the encore brought the night’s biggest surprise guest. A slender Jennifer Hudson glided out to sing Walter Hawkins’ “Be Grateful” along with John.

Fans usually come to concerts to escape from the day’s harsh realities. Instead tonight John and the Roots smacked their audience with unabashed truth, still managing to make them groove. Racism’s still alive. Poverty exists within our boarders. And there is a war going on. I guess everything sounds better to Questlove’s beat.

Watch them perform “I Can’t Write Left Handed” and “Compared To What” after the jump.

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The Roots enlist Joanna Newsom, John Legend, Jim James for new album

Roots-Joanna-NewsomImage Credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images;Annabel MehranHere’s your random yet awesome music news of the day: A rep for the Roots confirms exclusively to the Music Mix that Joanna Newsom, John Legend, and My Morning Jacket/Monsters of Folk’s Jim James will all appear on the Roots’ upcoming album How I Got Over.

It’s been ten months since the Roots debuted that album’s excellent title track on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and the rest of the record has yet to appear. That’s okay — we fans are willing to wait, and we all know the Roots are busy with their day late night job. Still, the delay has made me, for one, desperate for any new information about How I Got Over. Last night, Roots drummer ?uestlove dropped just such a tantalizing crumb on Twitter: “yes indeed we are working hard on #HOWIGOTOVER (first look) mixing the Joanna Newsome Jawn.” Could that possibly mean what I thought it meant? Yep! Now we know it’s true: The brilliant indie harpist and the baddest hip-hop band in the land will be together on wax at last.

This combination is as cool as it is unexpected. Just imagine the possibilities: Newsom could sing a hook like no other, sure. Or she could pluck out a counter-melody to Captain Kirk’s guitar and Tuba Gooding Jr.’s Sousaphone on her harp. Or maybe, just maybe, she could get a verse to herself, or trade lines with Black Thought “Double Trouble”-style. After all, Newsom’s complex rhyme schemes often feel closer to hip-hop than anything in typical indie rock. (UPDATE: The Roots’ camp clarifies that the song in question samples one of Newsom’s old songs — from this in-studio teaser clip ?uesto just posted, it sounds like 2004’s “The Book of Right-On” — but that Newsom has also recorded new vocal over-dubs for this track.)

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