15 Fascinating Facts About John Legend: His Pre-Show Meals, His Pets, and More

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World-famous singer John Legend has been a household name for decades. This all-around performer has the voice of a “legend” with his unique fusion of soul and R&B music.

Are you ready to get to know him better? In this article, discover 15 fascinating facts about John Legend that will make you adore him even more.

1. The “Legend” in His Name is a Nickname

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John Legend revealed that his stage name is something he would never have chosen for himself originally. It was a nickname given by his friends. John Legend’s real name is John Roger Stephens.

2. John Legend is an Intellectual Whiz

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The “Beauty and the Beast” singer skipped two grades, commencing secondary education at 12. He had scholarship grants from Harvard and Georgetown University and attained magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999.

3. He is a Certified Bookworm

a small bookstore with shelves filled with books
Image by John Michael Thomson on Unsplash

John Legend’s favorite activity to pass the time is reading nonfiction books, primarily memoirs of essential people in history. His top pick is Let the Trumpet Sound, the 1982 biography of Martin Luther King Jr. by Steven B. Oates. 

4. John Legend Started as a Wedding Song Performer

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We all start from somewhere, and it varies from one person to another. For John Legend, a wedding gig kick-started his singing career.

Related: Best Wedding Songs

5. It Was His Granny Who Inspired Him to Make Music

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His grandmother taught him about various music styles at an early age. Due to her influence, the “On Time” singer began taking piano lessons at a young age and was already singing in the church choir by six.

6. He Was Prom King at His High School

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We already know how incredibly bright John Legend was in college, but he was also a force to be reckoned with in high school. He was a student body president and a senior prom king.

7. He Was Once a Business Consultant

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On top of being a versatile performer and an academic standout, John has also explored the corporate world. In his interview with CNBC, he said his past career as a consultant shaped him as a musician today.

8. Kanye West Helped Him Get Signed

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John Legend’s college roommate was cousins with Kanye West, which led to the two superstars becoming friends for years. Ultimately, this unlikely collaboration led to John Legend’s first major record contract.

9. John Legend Is the First Young Black Person To Achieve an EGOT

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The suave singer is a member of the exclusive EGOT club, having won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards. Before achieving that feat, John Legend acquired an impressive 10 Grammy awards.

10. He Met His Wife, Chrissy Teigen, on Set

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Chrissy Teigen played John Legend’s love interest on the set of the video for his hit “Stereo” in 2007. The on-screen pair instantly hit it off. After the shoot, the two went to John’s hotel, had dinner, and began their relationship (so to speak).

11. The Legend Household is Home to Interesting Creatures

do dogs like music a dog licking his nose
Do dogs like music? Image by James Barker on Unsplash.

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen are both animal lovers. They are the fur parents of four dogs named Petey, Penny, Pearl, and Pebbles. They also have two birds and one hamster.

12. He Enjoys Rotisserie Chicken Before Going on Stage

a rotisserie chicken on a rack
Image by Tim Bish on Unsplash

Here’s a fun culinary John Legend fact: he keeps his pre-show meals simple, juicy, and flavorful. The “Tonight” singer revealed on a Twitter Q&A in 2014 that his regular pre-show feast consists of steamed vegetables and roasted chicken.

13. He Loves Being a Father

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Clearly, John Legend enjoys being a dad. If you check his Instagram profile, you’ll see his constant posts about his kids. He and Teagen are natural-born parents.

14. He is a Patron of Numerous Charities

a woman holding coins and a paper with the words "make a change" in her hand
Image by Katt Yukawa on Unsplash

The “Minefields” singer won an essay competition about social issues at age 15 and has advocated for societal change ever since. To this day, John Legend is an active sponsor of 51 charities and 27 causes.

15. John Legend was on Sesame Street

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John Legend made his first guest appearance in Season 37. He also performed “It Feels Good When You Sing a Song with Hoots the Owl” on Episode 4019.

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Written by Erik Ritland

Erik Ritland is a songwriter, musician, journalist, and podcaster based in Nashville, Tennessee. He’s released over a dozen albums since 2002, most recently Old Dog Almost Gone (2021), the first-ever multimedia album, and his latest collection of all original material, A Scientific Search (2020). During his 15+ years as a music journalist, Erik has written hundreds of articles for Music in Minnesota, Something Else Reviews, his own blog Rambling On, and more. In addition to continuing his music career, Erik currently runs The Cosmic American, a music journalism website, and is the editor of Music in Minnesota.


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