You'd think that anyone with an ego big enough to call himself John Legend would be a big-head
full of bombast.
But not the case. In fact the Oscar-winning singer-composer turns out to be a modest, quietly-spoken, low-key guy when we meet at the Four Seasons Hotel to talk about the TV series Underground, which he is producing.
Born John Stephens, he explains his name change: "John Legend started off as just a nickname among a group of friends in the studio but eventually I decided to take it on as a stage name. I knew it was a bit ballsy and I knew there was a risk that if I failed it would be a pretty silly name to have but I decided to just work hard to try and live up to it and that's what I've been doing."
He certainly has. Nominated for 24 Grammy awards and winning seven, he also won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for composing the song Glory for Selma with Common; he has produced two shows on the New York stage and his film company has produced several films and television shows. His song All of Me, which he wrote for his wife, supermodel and TV chef Chrissy Teigen, was an international chart success and is one of the biggest-selling digital singles of all time. His TV series, Underground centres on a group of slaves who plan a daring escape from a Georgia plantation., aided by the Underground Railroad.
He was half an hour late for our meeting because he was at the doctor's with Chrissy, whom he married in 2013 after they dated for four years, and who is expecting their first baby in June.
She is a success story in her own right. As well as appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, she writes a cooking blog, has hosted TV cooking shows and has written a best-selling cookery book, Cravings.
"I put on weight and gained about 5 or 6 pounds while she was writing the book but it was fun," says John. "It was a very enjoyable weight gain."