Latin Conference & Awards
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Legend Avoids The Obvious On Sophomore Album
John Legend will follow-up his Grammy-winning 2004 Sony Urban debut "Get Lifted" on Oct. 24 with a new album, "Once Again." Among the producers involved with the project are Kanye West, Raphael SaadiqR&B singer/songwriter John Legend will follow-up his Grammy-winning 2004 Sony Urban debut "Get Lifted" on Oct. 24 with a new album, "Once Again." Among the producers involved with the project are Kanye West, Raphael Saadiq and will.i.am., with whom Legend wrote seven songs in their first five days of collaboration, including the single "Save Room."
"I didn't go into the new album thinking about the Grammys I had won," Legend tells Billboard. "It's one of the greatest challenges of writing music-for it to not sound like what you think it's supposed to sound like or sound like the last album."
"The mind state we kept while working on this record was one of hunger, humility and fear," will.i.am says. "Since John and I first met, both of us have sold a lot of albums and won a bunch of Grammys. But we didn't think about that."
Saadiq adds that the pressures of recording a follow-up to a Grammy-winning album can be extraordinary. "You always put the pressure on yourself," he says. "That's how bad [songs] happen."
Legend spent about six months working on "Once Again," during which time he amassed 30 songs. "It was one of the most productive periods of my life," he says. "I was focused only on music. For the first time I didn't have to worry about school or a job."
Though many of his new songs are about the emotional angles of love == from bliss to the pain of a cheating partner, "Once Again" also houses a few social gems reminiscent of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, particularly the song "Show Me."
"It's a spiritual love song," Legend says. "You could be talking to God or your loved one in bed at night. It asks real questions about what's happening in the world today -- about wars and people dying and why God takes some and not others."