Nine-time Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter John Legend graces Borgata’s Event Center Saturday night.
When baseball stars Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley are in a room, they are used to being the focal points. That was the way it was at the Wanamaker Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia — until John Legend stepped behind a piano.
The acclaimed singer-songwriter stole the spotlight from the Philadelphia Phillies’ heavy hitters when he performed during the Cole Hamels Foundation fundraiser in late August. Legend delivered such hits as “Ordinary People” and “Used to Love U.”
The prominent ballplayers and their bejeweled wives swayed to the neo-soul singer as he helped their blood start pumping after dessert was served.
It’s not easy to steal the show from those regularly featured on SportsCenter, but Legend managed to pull off such a feat.
“It’s just fun to be part of this,” Legend says. “I had a good time.”
Legend, 33, is fine with giving back in Philadelphia, since that’s where the Ohio native started to rise. While attending the University of Pennsylvania, Legend was hired by Lauryn Hill to play piano for “Everything Is Everything.”
While working as a management consultant, Legend pursued a musical career, which obviously panned out. After being signed by iconic rapper Kanye West, Legend released his first album, 2004’s Get Lifted, which catapulted the son of a factory worker and seamstress out of obscurity. The soulful singer has achieved a great deal without compromising.
“I’ve been fortunate,” Legend says. “I’ve been able to make music that is mainstream but I’ve avoided conforming to the mainstream. I’ve never been about following what other people do. I’ve never been about writing jingles. I write the best songs that I can write. More than anything, I want to write great songs that stand the test of time. I think it’s true that when you listen to what I record, you know that it’s me. I’m not going to be confused for anyone else.”
Prior to hitting the stage at the Q 102/I Heart Radio event at the Wells Fargo Center two months ago, Robin Thicke was smiling. He had every reason to be grinning from ear to ear. Thicke, who possesses a mane that lives up to his last name, is finally emerging as a star. The nattily attired singer has eclipsed his father’s fame.
Legend helped those suffering in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina hit. He participated in the Live Earth benefit concert in 2007. He toured with Professor Jeff Sachs in 2008 to talk about sustainable development. He has contributed funds for AIDS-related health issues and he participated in “Chimes For Change,” which is all about raising awareness for women’s issues.
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