Legend says his latest album, 2020's Bigger Love, was the ultimate message about what he means to put out to the world. And that message remains the same now.
"It's hard to call [Bigger Love] new now," he says. "It came out over a year ago, and I'm finally able to tour now. In some ways, we've frozen time."
As the pandemic restrictions begin to loosen and unfreeze time, Legend is overjoyed about getting back to performing.
"It's great to finally be out on the road with the music," he says. "The music was always about celebrating love and resilience and connection. It always was about color and soul and joy. To finally put that on stage and celebrate with people and us all being able to get back together, that's a true pleasure for me."
The EGOT winner's national Bigger Love tour is the R&B singer’s first outing in three years. He started writing Bigger Love in 2019 and released it in June 2020 in the middle of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests last summer. The whole experience tied to this release, he says, has been strange, coming during such unprecedented times.
But the times also serve as a powerful reminder to consciously cherish what you have and who you love, on a daily basis. Whether they're listening to his albums or attending his concerts, Legend wants his audience to think about what they cherish in life and then celebrate that.
“Celebrate the idea that love is powerful, and love can help us get through tough times — even in tragedy and mourning,” he says. "So much of me creating albums as bodies of work is about making it so people want to keep listening. Making it so that it brings them energy and inspiration and keeps them coming back."
The music Legend has been writing lately, which he'll release as a new album next year, has been inspired by weathering his own difficulties, such as grief, mourning and loss. Specifically, the personal tragedies he and his family have endured over the past year, especially the loss of his and wife Chrissy Teigen’s third child due to pregnancy complications. Teigen described the loss as “utter and complete sadness” at the time, and Legend says they still feel that sorrow as Sept. 30 marked the one-year anniversary of that loss.
Legend says Teigen has been doing well, and it’s been “so much fun” having her travel with him on the tour.
Over the last year, the artist has been able to spend more time at home with Teigen and their children Miles and Luna. Although the pandemic has been just as challenging for the Legends as for any other family, it did allow them to spend more time together.
“Celebrate the idea that love is powerful, and love can help us get through tough times — even in tragedy and mourning.” – John Legend
“I didn’t love not being able to tour, but obviously the silver lining to that was being able to be together more, and watch my kids grow up even more closely than I would have been able to otherwise,” Legend says.
It’s no secret that the singer is a family-oriented man and a huge supporter of his wife. He chuckles when we asked about his unofficial title “Mr. Teigen,” but says he’s all for it.
“She’s dynamic, and she’s so beloved by so many people,” Legend says. “Everywhere I go, people ask me about her. It makes me proud to be her husband.”
Teigen is straight off a national controversy, which resulted in many lost endorsement deals, after TV personality Courtney Stodden accused the model of cyberbullying her, posting some of Teigen's old tweets directed at Stodden when Stodden was a teenager.
Legend can’t wait to stop in Dallas. The one thing he missed most, he says, about performing live is interacting with his fans and feeding off their energy in the audience.
Legend's visuals — on the album and at his shows — are all about color and flowers and celebrating life and love. Everyone needs a bit more of that, and Legend says he hopes his show can help them find it.