Last night, John Legend was a guest on The Tonight Show, and played a medley of “What Christmas Means” and “Bring Me Love” from his holiday album, A Legendary Christmas.
If you need a dose of the Christmas spirit, look no further.
There’s a reason why Legend’s music has such strong gospel underpinnings: He’s a former church choir director and grew up in the church. As he explained to RELEVANT earlier this year:
I grew up with not only my parents being very religious, but also my grandfather was our pastor. My grandmother was our church organist. My uncle took over for my grandfather when he passed away. I have uncles on my dad’s side who are also ministers and pastors, and one of my uncles is a bishop in Cincinnati. I grew up playing gospel music.
Gospel music, particularly—and the black church—have been a part of black music culture for so long. If you just go back and look at Aretha Franklin, she grew up in a church and made gospel albums. If you look at Marvin Gaye, he grew up in the Church and made songs that talked about his faith and Jesus and his views on spirituality. Stevie Wonder has done it. I think all the great artists we grew up listening to, they grew up in the black Church and that tradition doesn’t just go away even though you’re making secular music.