Fresh off the release of his eighth studio album, John Legend sat down with Billboard‘s Deputy Director of R&B and Hip-Hop, Carl Lamarre, to discuss the inspiration behind his new LP, fittingly titled Legend.
“It represents so much of who I am as an artist, all of the artists who inspired me, all the music that I love. It’s a stage name that’s been following me for almost 20 years, and I feel like I’m ready to embrace it,” the EGOT winner explained, before revealing that he made the album throughout 2021 after his “Feeling Good” performance at President Joe Biden’s inauguration. “Part of it was fueled by that optimism and that sense that things were going to get better,” he said.
In reference to a song title on the new album, when asked if he feels that he has reached his “Fate,” Legend replied, “I feel like this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I’ve been wanting to do this since I was a kid, and I’m so grateful that I’m living my dream out right now. I feel like, man, pinch myself. This is amazing.”
Later on in the interview, Legend touched on his complicated relationship with his past musical collaborator, Kanye West, who ran for president in 2020. “He was upset with me that I didn’t support his presidential candidacy,” Legend recalled. “I don’t really know a way around that. I’m not going to take back the fact that I didn’t support his presidency, I’m not going to apologize for that because I believe that was the right thing for me to do. If that means he doesn’t want to be friends with me anymore, so be it.”
He continued, “We have great music that we made together. He helped make me who I am as an artist and I’ll never forget that. We just not seeing eye to eye right now and that’s life.”
Watch the full interview with John Legend above.