For a man who started his career doing session work in the shadows, most notably on Lauryn Hill's "Everything Is Everything," Alicia Keys' "You Don't Know My Name," and a gaggle of Kanye West confections, you would think Ohio's John Stephens would have picked a more humble stage name than John Legend. But over the course of the past decade, the R&B singer/songwriter/pianist has lived up to his moniker.
Each of his four solo albums (along with Wake Up!, a 2010 collaboration with the Roots) has garnered massive critical and commercial success. His latest album, Love in the Future, is no exception.
Released last September, it debuted at number four on the Billboard album charts and pushed Legend to look to the future of music instead of toward the soul singers of yesteryear to whom he has often been compared. "I was envisioning what a modern soul album should sound like, wanting to create something compelling. Even in these single-driven days, I still want to reinforce the idea of listening to an album as a whole piece of work," Legend wrote on his website. "While this album is polished, it still reminds me of the gritty hip-hop soul I did when I first started."
His latest All of Me Tour has two South Florida dates. Legend promises on his website this "will be unlike any tour I've done before. Intimate, raw, and unplugged." Reviews of early stops back up these claims, as it's just Legend and his piano onstage without accompaniment, playing songs that span his career and even throwing unlikely covers of Bruce Springsteen and Simon & Garfunkel into the mix.
John Legend. An Evening with John Legend: The All of Me Tour. 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Au-Rene Theater, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $40 to $100 plus fees. Call 954-462-0222, or visit browardcenter.org.
Also 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 23, at Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Tickets start at $31 plus fees. Call 561-832-7469, or visit kravis.org.