John Legend Working With Kanye West On New Album
Billboard spoke with John Legend backstage at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, the site of the NBA All-Star game. Legend sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the event. During the interview, he revealed he was working on new material with Kanye West.
When asked about singing the national anthem, he said: “This is probably one of the most high profile years for controversy and for virtuosity. It’s just something that is part of the cannon of songs that, if you are a singer, you should be able to nail. It’s almost like a demonstration of ability. It takes some ability to do it right. It takes some range and it takes some skill. It’s not an easy song. Start low enough. Because you have to take it high by the end. You’re going to start slightly lower than what’s comfortable for you because you have to get so high by the end and if you start right in the heart of your range, it’ll get too high by the end. So the biggest key is starting low enough. So I have my little pitch pipe on my iPhone to make sure I start off in the right range.“
He will release his fourth solo album, Love in the Future in June. He said: “We’re basically done with it. Kanye [West] produced it with me, the same core team we’ve had since [my debut album] ‘Get Lifted’.“
West hasn’t been a producer of new music lately, as his most recent album, Cruel Summer (for G.O.O.D. Music in 2012) was a compilation album he executive produced. Instead he is acting as an editor to productions from others, including on this album.
Legend added: “He doesn’t actually make beats anymore. That’s what he’s been doing on my album, kind of supervising and getting younger producers to kind of craft the sound. We oversee it together. It’s been great working with Kanye, because I think he has a great ear and he pushes me in the right direction and that’s been good for the project.“