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Nov 15th 2004


Lifting to new heights - John Legend John Legend - Let's Get Lifted: (Columbia/Sony)


A new R&B singer appears on the R&B/soul scene is nothing new but then again one of this caliber is. You've already heard him (really), if you've ever listened to Kanye West's 'Jesus Walks', Black Eyed Peas 'The Boogie that Be' or Jay-Z's 'Encore' and wondered who sings the hooks on the records then you've just found out - it's young gun John Legend.

The Philly native has always had music in his blood as evident in his childhood singing and performing in the family's church. That path led the way for John who turned all his efforts into what he now realised was an attainable reality. It materialised in college where performed with his collegic acapella group in between classes. He would met friend and producer Dave Tozer and the two got together and worked on material for John which was later released (2000's self titled and 2001's Live At Jimmy's Uptown).

Now that he's got a taste of the action, the singer/songwriter (born John Stephens) is gearing up to make a name for himself with his debut set called 'Get Lifted (due December 28). The album was done in demo fashion long before the singer signed his deal with Columbia Records. It wasn't until Kanye took him under his wing, however, that people really started to take note of his talent.

"I was getting turned down by labels with the album that I am now releasing," Legend said. "I guess timing is important. So the timing worked out, and it is all good. We re-recorded everything and finished the album in June."

During the shopping around his album process, he had the opportunity to work with several artists including Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, Janet Jackson and Britney Spears, among others, all coming with his affiliation with West which would eventually get him noticed.

"Clearly, it gave me a lot of experience working with great artists on classic albums," said Legend. "Anytime you get that kind of experience it will rub off on you. I learned to make the best of those opportunities, and it helped me to make my project better. The exposure for me was great, as well, It all started to build excitement around my project for both consumers and labels. Kanye's album. really got things going and now here I come."

The lead off single is the somber groove 'Used to Love U' but the track I'm reviewing here today is the smooth groover 'Let's Get Lifted'. The song has some quality moments in particular with the production (sounding like Wyclef in some respect) but the temperment of this young mans vocals makes the song what it is - an original old soul track.

If this song is any indication to what we have to look forward to on the full length then we are in for a treat. A worthy TY-D pick indeed - period


Listen to John Legend - 'Let's Get Lifted'




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