John Legend speaks about the “bold move” behind choosing his stage name

EGOT winner John Legend walked down memory lane during his Monday night appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon where he discussed the origins of his stage name and the heartbreak he had as a child.

First up, the decorated singer told host Jimmy Fallon how he went from John Stevens to John Legend.  

“I was a kid from Ohio with a dream to be a musician,” explained Legend. “It was a nickname that some friends started calling me in the studio” that “caught on.”

The name stuck after Kanye West dropped his mixtape, where he name-dropped Legend — forcing him to decide if he was going to permanently adopt the name or stick with his birth name.

Obviously, we all know what name he chose in the end — but John did note the choice was a “bold move” as he picked it before he had a record deal.

I was like, ‘I know this is a bold move, but I’m not going to go into this expecting to fail. I’m going to go into it hoping that I can try to live up to this,"” he explained.

Legend, an 11-time Grammy Award winner, also revealed that he had his heart set on making it big when he was a kid and aspired to appear on Star Search.

“I wanted to be on Star Search so badly,” he groaned, revealing that his hometown mall had a local “Star Search” competition, where the winner’s tape would be sent to the national show.

Legend said he won the competition and “they sent my videotape to the national Star Search,” but sadly, “I never got a call back… So that was that.”

On the bright side, the singer revealed, “I did get a $500 shopping spree at the new mall!”

By Megan Stone
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