Yesterday, March 26, PEP(Philippine Entertainment Portal) was able to attend the press conference of John Legend at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. Considered to be one of the mostpopular R&B singer-songwriters of this generation, Legend just arrived that morning in Manila to conduct his first live concert in the Philippines. John Legend's Manila leg of his Evolver World Tour was held last night at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.
How does it feel to be in Manila?
"It feels good, the first time here. A lot warmer thanEurope was. And everyone's been so friendly since we got here. And I am verymuch looking forward to the show tonight."
So what can fans expect from his one-night concert?
"Best show of their lives [laughs]. No, it's gonna be funtonight, it's gonna be a lot energy, it's gonna be about my full band with me.And we're gonna give everybody a great show. We'll play songs from all threealbums, and a couple of cover songs, and it's a very soulful and energeticshow."
According to Legend, among his favorite songs in his currentalbum Evolver are "Everybody Knows," "Crossthe line," and "I Love, You Love."
How is Evolver differenthis last album?
"Uhm, this album, compared to Once Again, this one's a bit more up-tempo, the sounds aredifferent, the choice of instruments, this one's more electronic, sounds morepop. The previous one was very vintage, and classic.
"Those are different times in my life, and different moods.So, you know, it feels different. Every album takes on a life of its own, and apersonality of its own."
PEP asked more about his inspiration for his song "Cross theLine."
"I think every guy knows that story where there's a girlthat they are friends with, and might wanna be more than friends. Maybe girlsknow the same story the other way around, too.
"Yes, it happens to all of us," said a member of the press amidst the laughter in the room.
John Legend has popularized hits such as "Ordinary People," "Usedto Love You," "So High," "Save Room," "Heaven," and "Green Light." He said thatit really depends on the people if a song will be a hit or not.
"Well, you don't know until the people decide, you know. Youthink it might be good, that's why you release it. You think people are gonnalike it, that's why you release it."
According to Legend, "Green Light" is the biggest hit of hiscareer so far. It is his third biggest hit in the U.K. and his first top fortysingle since "Ordinary People." The song is also his second top 40 hit in U.S.The song features Andre 3000 of OutKast.
Aside from Andre 3000, Legend experienced working with KanyeWest, Brandy, and Estelle, as well. He admits that those people are people he'sa fan of, and people he respects as musicians and entertainers. "And I was very honored to work with each of them," he declared.
Legend started working with Kanye West since 2001. Theyworked on many many tracks together.
"I respect him tremendously, and I think he is one of themost important artists of our generation. Whenever I get a chance to work withhim is always a privilege. We only did one song together in this album, butwe'll continue to work together over the years.
"He's also a good adviser for me. He listens to my tracks,and let me know what he thinks. It's always helpful to get his critiques andadvice."
Legend reveals that this is the firsttime he has worked with Andre 3000. "It was a lot of fun having him on the set. He's really agenius, and he's one of the coolest artists that I can think of."
Legend admits that Lil'Wayne, Beyonce, and Amy Whitehouseare among the few artists he wants to try working with.
ON HIS HUMANITARIAN AWARD. John Legend previously received a Humanitarian Award for the "Show MeCampaign."
"The Show Me Campaign is a campaign that seeks to fightpoverty by raising funds to assist people who are living in poverty, byeducating people around the world about the issues that we face globally,"he described.
Other than being part of fighting poverty, Legend had been involvedin other charity events like fighting cancer. He also became part of Barack Obama'scampaign for presidency.
How important is it for artists to support advocacies andspeak up?
"I think it's up to every artist how they wanna use theirname and use their influence. I know that, for me, I read a lot about what'sgoing on in the world, particularly in politics. But every artist has to dodecide because when you use your name and attach it to something, it has animpact on you; on how people receive you, on how people perceive you. And youhave to make a choice about whether or not you wanna put yourself out there."
How does John apply his political inclination to his music?
"It is not always integrated. I've written songs that werevery integrated with my political beliefs, like if you're out there, on thisalbum. But there are times that I just want to write about love and romance,and relationship, and friendship, and things like that.
"And I think music, sometimes is supposed to be aboutescaping the realities of the world."
Since most of Legend's songs are about relationships, PEPtried to ask him if these are based on his experiences.
"Some of them, not all of them. I reserved the right to makethings up sometimes. [laughs]"
What does he love most about touring?
"The best part of the day is when I'm on stage. I love it. Ilove hearing the crowd. I love seeing their faces light up when I come out, andwhen they sing along to the songs. I love the energy that we exchange. It feelsgood."
What is his message to the Filipinos, especially to thecurrent generation of music lovers?
"Well, I'm excited to meet them. I'm excited to see what myfans are be like in my show tonight. Even when I'm at the airport, I felt a lotof love, and like people were excited to see me here, and now, I'm excited tosee them. I'm excited to sing for them, and perform for them, and interact withthem. Hopefully, we'll have a great audience."
The first time he made a demo trying to a have a record dealwas way back in 1999. He was signed up with a record label in 2004. Legend admits that during those five years, hegot rejected by a lot of recording companies quite a few times, including his current record label.
"But when I look back, I realized that I wasn't ready yetfirst. I wasn't ready to be successful yet. I thought I was, but I wasn't."
How much did he compromise as an artist from 1999 until thetime he had his record deal?
"It wasn't about compromising. It was about really gettingbetter. It was insane. This is me, and I change me to fit something else. I feel like, what I really was, wastrying to find what me really was.So, you know, trying to find a sound that fit me the best. And I'm still tryingto find it in each album. It changes to some degree. The core of me is alwaysgonna be the same. But some of the music, and some of the choices I make willbe different in each album. But they feel right for me at that time, becausethat's where I am in my head at that time."