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John Legend Biography

Birth Name:
John Roger Stephens
Birth Place:
Springfield, Ohio, United States
Singer, songwriter, pianist

Fast Facts

  • Grew up in a musical family; began taking piano lessons and performing in church at a young age
  • Graduated from high school at age 16 and was salutatorian of his class
  • Served as choir director at Bethel AME Church in Scranton, PA, for nine years
  • At 19, played piano on Lauryn Hill's "Everything Is Everything," a key song on her 1998 CD The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
  • Changed name from John Stephens to John Legend after friend and poet J
  • Ivy nicknamed him "The Legend" during a studio session
  • Did session work for a diverse roster of artists, including Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Janet Jackson and Kanye West
  • First album, Get Lifted, debuted at No
  • 7 on the Billboard 200 in 2004


  • 2020Grammy-Best R&B Album: winner
  • 2018Emmy-Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie: nominated
  • 2015Golden Globe-Best Original Song - Motion Picture: winner
  • 2015Critics' Choice Movie Awards-Best Song: winner
  • 2015Grammy-Best Song Written for Visual Media: winner
  • 2014Oscar-Best Achievement in Music (Original Song): winner
  • 2011Critics' Choice Movie Awards-Best Song: nominated


  • Ronald Stephens II -- Brother
  • Luna Simone Stephens -- Daughter
  • Ronald Stephens -- Father
  • Phyllis Stephens -- Mother
  • Miles Theodore Stephens -- Son