An Ode to John Legend

By Elizabeth Bacharach

Opinions Editor

Anyone that ran into me on Jan. 24 did not pass by without hearing the slightest mention about John Legend and his upcoming presence on campus. In simplest terms, I could not have been more stoked to touch the same ground as one of my absolute favorite celebrities and musicians, not to mention role models.

As an accepted student last April, I was browsing through our school’s Twitter and read a tweet announcing Mr. Legend’s potential performance. From that moment onward, I practically counted down the days until he stepped onto campus. I called everyone I knew and told them I was going to the best school ever, and also one that would host John Legend.

I started pursuing this performance the minute I returned to campus, pestering our Editor-in-Chief to make Legend our Arts and Life feature, maybe even pull some strings to get me an interview with the musician himself. As if a dream came true, 5 p.m. on Tuesday arrived and I was sitting side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder, face-to-face with John Legend in the flesh.

John Legend is a legend. From the moment he stepped into the lobby of the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, the room silenced, feeling the forceful presence of such an awarded celebrity. Mr. Legend walked slowly and humbly over to the eager media students waiting to simply shake his hand and hear him utter “Hello.” His voice is just as melodic, even while uttering just rudimentary words in person and his responses to rather trite—at this point, considering the amount of interviews he has endured—questions were well-composed, explanatory yet concise. In a 12 minute and 50 second interview, I felt as if John Legend was not of such high stature, but rather a relatable friend of a simple college journalist.

I was like a child on the night before Christmas, unable to eat, think or compose sentences, jittery with excitement after meeting such a legend.  Forget about dinner, all I could think about was seeing Mr. Legend again: listening to his speech and his musical performance.  I was in my seat at 6:45 pm, ready to see him saunter on to the stage, so close yet so far.

Mr. Legend’s speech was, if I do say so myself, beyond profound. He touched upon subjects that were relatable yet inspirational. John’s comments on creativity were so natural and well-spoken. His thoughts on creativity resonated throughout the audience, making me, as well as other students, feel as if we each have the capability to be as creative, talented and successful as he has come to be. Legend’s explanation as to his support of education was quite motivational. As he spoke about how lucky we are to be receiving such a prestigious and good education in comparison to those children, locked in place by socioeconomic immobility, who do not get the opportunity to expand their academic boundaries, I felt the urge to jump up and offer to join his Show Me Campaign, apply for Teach For America the minute I graduate and promise to donate whatever money I have to charities focused on education. A little drastic, I know, but that is how moved I was by Legend’s discourse.

As Legend’s voice reverberated through the Weis Center for Performing Arts, chills ran up and down my body. His acoustic performance blew away every one of his recorded songs on my iPod. This is not to say that I don’t listen to Legend daily—at the gym, walking to class and while doing work—but the combination of his voice live and his impeccable pianistic skills absolutely took my breath away. Legend surprised many, especially me, by playing, “Dream,” an unreleased song. His 11-song set list was a perfect culmination to a great evening.

It is quite clear that I have yet to come down from my John Legend high, so to speak. Since John mentioned he would love to come back to our university any time, I wonder … is now too soon?

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