Four albums into a massively successful career, John Legend has gone back to his roots — literally! The singer has teamed up with hip-hop legends The Roots for an album entitled Wake Up, covering some of their favourite songs of all time.
John Legend Q & A
Q. For the new collaborative album with The Roots, Wake Up, you’ve gone back to performing smaller venues — what has that been like?
A. You know, I remember playing in all those clubs when I was trying to get a record deal and trying to build a fan base. It’s cool going back there and doing those little grungy clubs in New York and LA and other places around the country, just to get back in touch with that feeling. Normally I play a lot bigger places now so it’s nice to reminisce a little bit.
Q. What happens if you’re performing and you need to use the bathroom?!
A. Oh, I’ve had to run out a couple of times before. You just tell the band to keep playing! A lot of artists like Madonna or Beyonce or Usher, they change outfits during the show anyway, so they have more toilet breaks than I do. But when I’m up on stage I really don’t leave except to go for an encore. So if I leave in the middle of a show, then you know I had to go to the bathroom.
Q. What is it like dealing with fans?
A. I definitely have some that go a little crazy! The wildest thing is when somebody cries in front of you because you’re never prepared for that. You don’t even know what to do, except to give them a hug. I don’t quite understand the emotion that makes people cry when they see somebody they like, but it happens and that’s probably like the weirdest thing for me, because it’s awkward and you just don’t know what to say.
Q. What’s the weirdest experience you’ve had with a fan?
A. I’ve gotten some strange letters, I’ll tell you that. Some would even make you want to take out a restraining order. But to be clear, most of my fans are super polite and cool and they’re not weird and stalker-ish. There’s the occasional one where you go, “Uh-oh, SECURITY!”
Q. You recently guest starred on Sesame Street! What was that like?
A. Sesame Street was fun! I’ve been on the show once and then I did a fundraiser with them and it was cool singing with Elmo and with some of the other puppets. It was a lot of fun. That’s how you know you made it, when you get to be on Sesame Street.
Q. I read that your nephew recently dropped one of your Grammy Awards…
A. Yeah, but it wasn’t his fault, really. I have these leaning shelves in my apartment in New York and if you touch the shelves the wrong way you can tip them over. That’s where my Grammy’s were. Normally, I don’t have to explain [how the shelves are set up] to anybody, because they’re not 10 years old. I was rushing him to go to the airport and he was putting his shoes on and he used the shelf to balance himself, and it just tipped over and shattered the Grammy.
Q. Does that mean you’re Grammy is gone for good?
A. I didn’t want him to feel too bad, so I got my manager to call the Grammy people and they were able to provide a replacement.