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All of him: John Legend is all about R&B and gritty hip-hop sounds

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —

R&B singer John Legend is touring in support of his current album, “Love in the Future.”

R&B singer John Legend is touring in support of his current album, “Love in the Future.”

John Legend wears many hats. He’s a singer-songwriter, producer, philanthropist and entrepreneur.

He’s also a nine-time Grammy Award winner and his current album, “Love in the Future” has spawned the top-10 hit, “All of Me.”

Despite all of his success, the 35-year-old remains humble and is confident in his music.

“‘Love in the Future’ is a celebration and meditation on love,” he says during a recent interview. “I was envisioning what a modern soul album should sound like; wanting to create something compelling. Even in these single-driven days, I still want to reinforce the idea of listening to an album as a whole piece of work.”

Legend’s album is his first solo body of work since 2008′s “Evolver.” His 2010 album, “Wake Up!” featuring The Roots was the last piece he put out.

He says going into making this album he wanted to release an R&B and soul album that harkens back to another time.

“As an artist, you don’t want to entirely go back to where you started,” he says. “While this album is polished, it still reminds me of the gritty hip-hop soul I did when I first started. I loved working with my core team but also mixing in these fresh collaborations. While it has the feel of my first two albums, ‘Love in the Future’ takes that sound forward.”

Legend has cemented himself as a voice in R&B, which is a long way from when he used to be a session player for Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z and Kanye West.

“It’s all been a blessing for me,” he says. “I continue to work hard and it all keeps growing.”

Aside from music, Legend serves on several boards, including the Equality Project, Stand for Children, Teach For America, the Harlem Village Academies and PopTech.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I have an optimistic outlook on life,” he says. “And you can hear that in the tone of the album’s tracks. I live and breathe music.”


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