John Legend Talks New Chevy Impala Campaign, Kanye-Produced 'Love In The Future' LP

John Legend

Matthew Williams

Over the past 18 months alone, Chevrolet has featured new music from fun., Theophilus London, Frank Sinatra, Patty Griffin and OK Go in its national TV commercials -- sometimes even featuring the artists on-camera. John Legend became the latest artist to benefit from Chevy's support of music in an ad that debuted Thursday night during Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The 60-second spot, created by Spike Lee's ad agency Spike DDB, highlights the 2014 Chevrolet Impala as well as Legend's new Kanye West-produced single "Made To Love," released digitally Tuesday.

Speaking to Billboard from the New York City set of the Impala ad in May, Legend said the Chevy partnership hit very close to him. "Growing up in a family of autoworkers in the Midwest, I'm very sensitive to the fact that we want to support great American manufacturers that are making our cars," says Legend, whose father built trucks for Chevy's parent company General Motors in Dayton, Ohio. "I thought it was an exciting thing to support this classic brand being reinvigorated. The car's beautiful and I'm excited to represent it."

The Chevy ad will continue to air on broadcast TV as well movie theaters in the top 30 markets starting June 28. Additional behind-the-scenes footage from Legend's commercial shot will roll out over the next several weeks on Chevrolet's social media pages, with print and radio ads set for later this summer. "This new spot not only helps us launch the Impala but John's new song, and that tie-in is really exciting for us," says Chris Perry, VP of Chevrolet marketing. "The Impala driver is comfortable in his own skin, appreciates style and knows what he likes, he's very confident. And all those attributes match very well with John Legend."

Legend is prepping his fourth studio album Love in the Future for a September 3 release, and it's his much-anticipated follow-up to 2008's Evolver. Legend executive produced the set along with Kanye West and Dave Tozer. Hit-Boy, Malay, 88 Keys, Da Internz and DJ Camper are among the additional contributors, with guest vocals from Rick Ross (on first single "Who Do We Think We Are"), Stacy Barthe and Kimbra (on "Made To Love") also featured.

"It sounds like a lot of cooks in the kitchen, but the main cooks were the three of us," Legend says of working with West and Tozer. "We made something I think really presents where I am in my life right now. Lyrically, the title kind of embraces where I'm heading in life, I'm about to get married. It's the beginning of something new, I'm optimistic about it, and you can hear that in the tone of the tracks. I wanted to make a really great modern soul album."