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Tag: John Legend (1-10 of 13)

John Legend on 'Selma,' Ferguson, and singing his Oscar-nominated song to Common on the phone

John Legend was not expecting to be an Oscar nominee a few months ago. “I hadn’t planned to have a song in a major film,” he told EW. “I was on the road, I was focused on touring, and Common called me up with this really amazing opportunity.” Now, the song Legend wrote with Common for Selma, “Glory,” has made him a Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee. “Glory” also explicitly connects the movie, which chronicles Martin Luther King, Jr.’s activism in 1965, to present-day events.

EW spoke with Legend about his nomination and the relevance of the song last night before he performed at a launch event for AXE White Label. Legend is mentoring artists as part of a program called AXE White Label Collective. Artists can submit YouTube videos for the opportunity to work with Legend and be featured during an SXSW event.  READ FULL STORY

Common, John Legend, Pharrell to perform at Grammys

Common and John Legend are making the awards show rounds this season: After winning a Golden Globe for Selma‘s “Glory” and nabbing an Oscar nod for the same song, the two are now set to also make an appearance on the Grammys stage to perform the track. READ FULL STORY

Idina Menzel to sing national anthem at the Super Bowl

Idina Menzel is set to perform at a major event and she won’t have to sing “Let It Go.”

The Today show announced this morning that the Broadway star will be tasked with singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl. John Legend, now an Oscar nominee for his song “Glory” from Selma, will sing “America the Beautiful.” Last year, Renée Fleming performed the national anthem.

Katy Perry is the game’s halftime performer, and she has announced that Lenny Kravitz is her “first special guest.”

Iggy Azalea, Katy Perry, Pharrell lead American Music Awards nominations

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Iggy Azalea just got fancier: The Australian rapper is nominated for six American Music Awards, more than any other artist this year.

Dick Clark started the American Music Awards in 1973 and they’ve become the fan-based alternative to the Grammys: Nominations and winners are based on public polls and data from music sales. Other nominees this year include Katy Perry, John Legend, and Pharrell Williams, who trail Azalea with five nominations each. READ FULL STORY

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.

READ FULL STORY

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:

READ FULL STORY

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