Interview: John Legend

By BEN WESTHOFF  |  August 5, 2009

EVOLVER CLOSES WITH "IF YOU'RE OUT THERE," THE SONG YOU SANG ON THE FIRST NIGHT OF THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION. WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU COMPOSED IT? I wrote it while we were on our tour for my Show Me Campaign, the anti-poverty charity and initiative I started. We had been going around speaking to young people at colleges. I wanted to write a song that was a rallying cry to the young people we talked to, to make them want to go out and do something. That worked out perfectly for the timing of the Obama campaign, because it was a central part of what he was telling young people.

YOU ATTENDED THE 2009 GREEN INAUGURAL BALL, WHICH WAS CHAIRED BY AL GORE. IS ENVIRONMENTALISM A CAUSE THAT'S CLOSE TO YOUR HEART? We expend a lot of energy touring, and we're trying to be more energy-conscious on this tour. We've brought in a company called Reverb, whose mission is to help artists be more energy-efficient.

NON-FLUSH TOILETS ON THE TOUR BUS? I don't know all the details, but they're working with my tour manager.

ARE YOU WORKING ON A NEW STUDIO ALBUM? I'm in the studio recording various things. I'm doing a project with the Roots that I'm going to put out next year. It's called The Wake-Up Sessions, and it's made up of remakes from the '60s and '70s, songs about social uplift and political protest, things like that. We'll be covering artists like Donny Hathaway, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and Bill Withers. There'll be some more, but I don't want to let all the cats out of the bag at this point.

John Legend plays Bank Of America Pavilion this Friday, August 7

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