John Legend Talks Kelly Clarkson Collab, New Album and EGOT Aspirations
By Sophie Schillaci
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Kicking off 2015 with an Academy Award last month, John Legend says "I don't know what else I could ask for at this point."
Legend teamed up with Common on the song "Glory," featuring in the film Selma and landing the singer-songwriter smack-dab in the middle of awards season insanity. The 39-year-old spoke with ETonline on Saturday in Austin, Texas, at the South by Southwest Music Festival, where he reflected on a life-changing phone call from Common.
"I didn't know I was gonna be part of Selma until right before I wrote the song, because Common called me as they were editing the film," he said. "It totally changed my year, totally changed my life."
With nine GRAMMYs already under his belt, Legend is now halfway to the coveted "EGOT" (Emmy, GRAMMY, Oscar, Tony).
"I have a TV and film production company," he told ETonline in an interview at SXSW. "Hopefully one day we'll get an Emmy and maybe if I write some Broadway music, I'll get a Tony, but we'll see. I'll take it one day at a time and one year at a time, and just focus on doing projects that really excite me and interest me."
Among those projects was a recent re-team with his Duets co-star Kelly Clarkson. Legend features on Clarkson's new album Piece By Piece on the heart-tugging ballad "Run, Run, Run."
"Kelly's one of the best singers in the business, I think," he says. "When she reached out to me, I thought it was an easy decision. I thought the song was great and it'd be great to reunite with my old friend from Duets."
Clarkson recently made headlines for claiming that "I honestly would collaborate with a lot of people, but everyone usually says 'No,'" but Legend doesn't buy it.
"I think she was just being self deprecating," he says.
For his part, the "All of Me" singer has worked with with countless superstars over the course of his career. Asked who he'd still like to team with, Legend replies with a laugh.
"There's not many people left!" he says. "I'm just focused on trying to make great music and whenever the collaborations come, they come, but I don't focus on who I want to work with next. It's usually about just trying to make great music."
That's good news for fans, because Legend is gearing up for his Love in the Future follow-up.
"It's happening," he says of a new album. "I'm just about to start now. I don't know exactly who I'm gonna work with yet, but as soon as I get back from a week off, which is about to happen [on Sunday], I'm gonna start writing new songs."
In the meantime, Legend says that we can expect to see he and wife Chrissy Teigen, 29, in the buff for DuJour magazine. After paparazzi photos hit the web, showing the couple posing in their birthday suits on the beach, Legend had a good-natured outlook.
"We were working with Bruce Weber, who's one of the greatest photographers on the planet. We wanted to do some great stuff," he said. "We don't mind showing off our bodies - we just feel like there's no problem being natural and nude when you're with the right photographer and it's done the right way. We weren't shy about it. Some lucky paparazzo [laughs] caught wind of it - but Bruce's presentation will be a lot better."
Legend was in Austin to promote his new collaboration with AXE White Label, with the star hand-selecting five unknown musicians to perform at SXSW and ultimately, share a stage with him. Says Legend: "It was all about finding new talent."