John Legend: Tiny Desk Concert The soul singer retains the easygoing grace of a performer fit for any stage — even a tiny one. Here, Legend performs two songs from his album Love in the Future, as well as "Move," one of his contributions to the 12 Years a Slave soundtrack.

Tiny Desk

John Legend

John Legend: Tiny Desk Concert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/245218626/245213838" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

At 34, John Legend has sold millions of records, won nine Grammys, collaborated with many of the biggest stars in music (Jay-Z, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, The Roots, et al), and achieved the kind of statesmanlike musical-ambassador status usually afforded to artists twice his age. He is, in short, the sort of star who doesn't usually perform behind desks in offices.

But once we'd wedged a piano back there, Legend sounded perfectly at home. His rich, soulful voice never suffered for a lack of processing and production as he performed three songs for NPR Music and a few hundred of our rapt coworkers, loved ones and hangers-on.

Though he recently released a fine new album titled Love in the Future, from which "Made to Love" and "All of Me" were drawn for this set, Legend took special care to provide the backstory for "Move," which he'd recorded for the soundtrack to 12 Years a Slave. Legend executive-produced that soundtrack himself — don't be surprised if you wind up hearing him perform "Move" again on Oscar night — and recorded the album version with U.K. musician Fink. Here, though, it's stripped down considerably, with just Legend's piano and the acoustic guitar of guest Bobby Anderson providing accompaniment.

Legend doesn't play settings this intimate very often, and it's not as if he has anything to prove at this point in his career. But, just in case he did, he retains a busker's lung capacity, the charisma of a born star and the easygoing grace of a performer fit for any stage — even a tiny one.

Set List

  • "Made To Love"
  • "Move"
  • "All Of Me"

Credits

Producers: Bob Boilen, Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Becky Harlan, Abbey Oldham, Meredith Rizzo; photo by Abbey Oldham/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

The Comet Is Coming performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Oct. 2, 2019. (Catie Dull/NPR) Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Catie Dull/NPR

The Comet Is Coming

The Comet is Coming is a force of nature. The British trio makes the kind of instrumental jazz that takes music lovers out of their comfort zone and into a musical realm they may never have explored.

Weyes Blood performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Oct. 7, 2019. (Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Weyes Blood

Watch the band perform a blissed-out, gently sweeping set featuring three songs from its latest album, Titanic Rising.

Raveena performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Oct. 8, 2019. Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Catie Dull/NPR

Raveena

"I just want you to know," Raveena told the NPR office, "that in this space that we're in, you're extremely, extremely loved."

Freddie Gibbs performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Sept. 26, 2019. (Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Freddie Gibbs And Madlib

The enigmatic and reclusive producer Madlib joins hard-hitting emcee Freddie Gibbs for one of the most memorable Tiny Desks of the year.

Raphael Saadiq with Lucky Daye performs during Tiny Desk Fest, on Oct. 31, 2019. (Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Raphael Saadiq

The godfather of 21st century soul electrified NPR's Tiny Desk Fest audience, with a little help from rising R&B star Lucky Daye.

Sheryl Crow performs during Tiny Desk Fest, on Oct. 29, 2019. Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow's Tiny Desk Fest concert included a handful of early hits that have become pop standards.

Megan Thee Stallion plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR

Megan Thee Stallion

The budding superstar debuted a new song with Phony Ppl and performed hits from Fever and Tina Snow during the first night of NPR's Tiny Desk Fest.

Black Uhuru plays a Tiny Desk Concert. Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Black Uhuru

The influential reggae group, whose name means "black freedom," brought songs of solidarity and love to the Tiny Desk.

Mereba performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Sept. 17, 2019. Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Mereba

A nomadic storyteller with a cross-genre style ranging from folk to rap, Mereba slays the devil in her solo set behind the Desk.

Carly Ray Jepsen performs during Tiny Desk on Nov. 13. (Photo by Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Carly Rae Jepsen

The singer brought a sparkling pop-disco vibe and a lot of swagger to the sun-filled Tiny Desk.

Back To Top