With a leading eight Grammy nominations, R&B newcomer John Legend finds himself in good company. He is tied with multiple Grammy winners Mariah Carey and Kanye West in leading the field of nominees for the 48th annual awards.
“To be nominated this many times is really big for my career,” Legend tells Billboard.com. “It’s inspiring, and it lets you know that if you do the right thing, you can succeed.”
Legend’s nominations include best new artist, song of the year (“Ordinary People”), best R&B song (“So High”) and best R&B album for his Getting Out Our Dreams/Sony Urban Music/Columbia debut, “Get Lifted.” The West-produced disc peaked at No. 4 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 1.5 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
“We had to spend a lot of time convincing people who didn’t get it to get it, and then once we had a team of people who were ready to go — Sony was ready to go, me and Kanye were ready to go — we put it out there,” he says. “It just did so well, and it did beyond what a new artist is supposed to do.”
This year, Legend ventured out on his first solo tour after tagging along on an Alicia Keys outing in support of her 2003 J album, “The Diary of Alicia Keys.” Next week, he will trek to South Africa for the first time to headline MTV Base Live, a three-city concert tour with stops in Johannesburg (Dec. 15), Cape Town (Dec. 16) and Durban (Dec. 18).
While he’s enjoying the spotlight and the recognition for “Get Lifted,” Legend is already looking to follow up his West-helmed debut effort with another hit album.
“This validates the work and it inspires me to go work some more. I want to go make another album and try to beat this one,” he says. “I put pressure on myself, but not with the awards. Creatively, I want to be the best I can and make the best music I can make [and] give my fans something they really love.”