Let's take the time out to wish R&B sensation John Legend a happy birthday today! John Legend (born 12/28/1978) was born John Roger Stephens in Springfield, Ohio. He is the son of Phyllis, a seamstress, and Ronald Stephens, a factory worker and former National Guardsman. Throughout his childhood, Stephens was homeschooled on and off by his mother. At age four, he began playing the piano and at age seven, he performed with his church choir. When he was ten, his parents divorced. At the age of 12, Stephens attended North High School, from which he graduated four years later. He graduated salutatorian. He was student body president of Springfield North High School his senior year. According to Stephens, he was offered scholarships to Harvard University, Georgetown University and Morehouse College. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied English with an emphasis on African American literature. While in college, he helmed Counterparts, a co-ed jazz and pop a cappella group as president (1997–1998) and musical director (1998–1999). Stephens' lead vocals on the group's recording of Joan Osborne's "One of Us" received critical acclaim landing the song on the track list of the 1998 Best of Collegiate a Cappella compilation CD. Stephens was also a member of the prestigious Sphinx Senior Society while an undergraduate at Penn. While in college, Stephens was introduced to Lauryn Hill by a friend. Hill hired him to play piano on "Everything Is Everything", a song from her album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. During this period, Stephens took time to hold a number of shows around Philadelphia, eventually expanding his audience base to New York, Boston, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. He finished college in 1999, and thereafter began producing, writing, and recording his own music. He released two albums independently; his self-titled demo (2000) and Live at Jimmy's Uptown (2001), which he sold at his shows. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Stephens began working as a management consultant for the Boston Consulting Group. During this time, he began working on his demo and began sending his work to various record labels. In 2001, Devo Springsteen introduced Stephens to then up-and-coming hip-hop artist Kanye West; Stephens was hired to sing during the hooks of West's music. After signing to West's label, he chose his stage name from an idea that was given to him by poet J. Ivy, due to what he perceived as Stephens' "old-school sound". J. Ivy stated, "I heard your music and it reminds me of that music from the old school. You sound like one of the legends. As a matter of fact, that's what I'm going to call you from now on! I'm going to call you John Legend." After J. Ivy continued to call him by the new moniker "John Legend," others quickly caught on, including Kanye West, and the name stuck. In spite of John's reluctance to change his stage name from John Stephens to John Legend he eventually announced his new artist name as John Legend. Stephens' vocals can be heard on several tracks including Alicia Keys' "You Don't Know My Name", Jay-Z's "Encore", Kanye West's "Never Let Me Down", also featuring Jay-Z and J. Ivy, Dilated Peoples' "This Way" and Slum Village's "Selfish". Stephens released his debut album, Get Lifted, in December 2004. It debuted at number thirteen on the billboard 200, selling 12,000 copies in its first week. It went on to sell 540,300 copies in the United States and was certified gold by the RIAA. It has sold 850,000 copies worldwide. The album produced two singles: "Ordinary People" which debuted at 39 on the hot 100, peaking at 29 and "Used to Love U" which debuted at 45 and peaked at 30. The first single from his second album, Once Again, was "Save Room". The album was released October 24, 2006, and boasts production from Kanye West, Raphael Saadiq, and will.i.am. In an interview with MTV, he said that this album contained his favorite song that he had written to date, entitled "Again". He said he came up with the idea for the song and wrote some of it while sitting on a subway. He stated that the song was also the inspiration for the album's title. In August 2006, Stephens appeared in an episode of Sesame Street. He performed a song entitled "It Feels Good When You Sing a Song", a duet with Hoots the Owl. He also performed during the pregame show of Super Bowl XL in Detroit and the halftime show at the 2006 NBA All-Star Game. John Legend interviewed on the Red Carpet during the Toronto International Film Festival, 2008. Stephens released his third studio album, Evolver, in October 2008. Rapper Andre 3000 of OutKast is featured on the first single of the album on a song entitled "Green Light". "It's going to be a surprise for a lot of John Legend fans, because it is a lot more upbeat than John is — than people think John is," Andre insisted. "I was actually happy to hear it. This is a cool John Legend song". The next single from Evolver was confirmed as "Everybody Knows". Speaking in July 2008 to noted UK R&B writer Pete Lewis of the award-winning Blues & Soul magazine, he explained his reasons for calling the album Evolver: "Well, I think people sometimes come to expect certain things from certain artists. They expect you to kind of stay in the same place you were at when you started out. Whereas I feel I want my career to be defined by the fact that I'm NOT gonna stay in the same place, and that I'm always gonna try new things and experiment. So, as I think this album represents a manifestation of that, I came up with the title 'Evolver'." In 2009, Stephens performed in The People Speak, a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. John Legend and The Roots teamed up to record a collaborative album, Wake Up!, which was released on September 21, 2010. The first single released from the album was "Wake Up Everybody" featuring singer Melanie Fiona and rapper Common; a video for the song has been released. "Hard Times" is the second single. In February 2011, John won three Grammy Awards (one by himself and two with The Roots) at the 53rd Annual Grammy Music Awards Ceremony. Legend won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song for "Shine", and he and The Roots won Grammy Awards for Best R&B Album (Wake Up!) and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for "Hang On In There". In March 2011 Legend and the Roots won two NAACP Image Awards –one for Outstanding Album (Wake Up!) and one for Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration. Summer 2011, Legend completed a 50-date tour as a guest for British soul band Sade. In the San Diego stop, Legend confirmed that he is working on his next studio album and played a new song called "Dreams". Later, via his official website, he revealed the official title of the album to be Love In the Future, and debuted part of a new track called "Caught Up". The album will be produced by Legend himself, along with Kanye West and Dave Tozer. This same production team worked on Legend's previous albums Get Lifted and Once Again. Legend was granted an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Howard University at the 144th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 12, 2012. Legend was a judge on the ABC music show Duets along with Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Nettles and Robin Thicke. Legend's spot was originally for Lionel Richie but he had to leave the show due to a scheduling conflict. Duets debuted on Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 8/7c. He released his fourth studio album, Love in the Future, on September 3, 2013, debuting number 4 on the Billboard 200, selling 68,000 copies in its first week. The album was nominated for Best R&B album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. Legend's third single of the album named, "All Of Me" became a big success peaking at #1 on both the iTunes charts and Billboard Hot 100. The song is a ballad that was dedicated to his wife that he recently married, and has been performed at the "56th Annual Grammy Awards". In 2014, Legend paired with the rapper Common to write the song "Glory", featured in the film Selma, which chronicled the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches. The song won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song as well as the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Legend and Common performed "Glory" at the 87th Academy Awards on February 22, 2015. Legend was featured on Meghan Trainor's debut studio album on track 6 "Like I'm Gonna Lose You." On February 1, 2015, he sang "America the Beautiful" in the opening ceremony of Super Bowl XLIX. He provided guest vocals on Kelly Clarkson's song "Run Run Run" for her album Piece by Piece (Kelly Clarkson album) . He also co-wrote and provided vocals for French DJ David Guetta's song "Listen", as part of the album of the same name. John Legend released his new album Darkness and Light, with first single "Love Me Now," on December 2, 2016 with songs featuring Chance the Rapper and Miguel. For the 2017 film Beauty and the Beast, Legend and Ariana Grande performed a duet on the title track, a remake of the 1991 original version sung by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson. On December 19, 2017, NBC announced that Legend had been cast in the title role in the live concert production of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Marcy Avenue Armory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The production was broadcast live on NBC television on April 1, 2018 (the date of Easter Sunday that year in Western Christianity). On May 8, 2018, Google choose John Legend as one of the six new Google Assistant voices. Legend was one of the only celebrities to appear and speak out in the Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly. The six-part docuseries details sex abuse allegations spread over four decades against acclaimed R&B singer R. Kelly. It highlights women who claim that the singer and record producer for decades used his power and influence to sexually and physically abuse women and underage girls. Legend lambasted R. Kelly during his interview in the final episode of the series, asserting that "R. Kelly has brought so much pain to so many people. Time's up for R. Kelly." Despite countless public allegations and controversies concerning Kelly, Legend stands as the only major recording artist willing to come forward and speak against him in the documentary. In response to fans who labeled him as "brave" for his actions, Legend stated the following on Twitter ahead of the program's debut: "To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn't feel risky at all. I believe these women and don't give a f**k about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision." Executive producer Dream Hampton revealed that it was "incredibly difficult" to get men and women who had artistically collaborated with Kelly to come forward, including those who had criticized him. During an interview with Detroit Free Press she said, "We asked Lady Gaga. We asked Erykah Badu. We asked Céline Dion. We asked Jay-Z. We asked Dave Chappelle. [They're] people who have been critical of him. That makes John Legend even more of a hero for me." On May 21, 2019, Legend was the winning coach on The Voice and won the competition with his artist Maelyn Jarmon. In November 2019, Legend was named People's Sexiest Man Alive. Legend was working on a seventh album. On May 13, 2020, he announced the album would be titled Bigger Love. It was released on June 19. On May 28, 2020, Legend received an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music. Legend is featured on Carrie Underwood's Christmas album, My Gift. Legend wrote his featured track entitled "Hallelujah". Happy birthday once again, John Legend! Today is his 42nd birthday!