John Legend Tells Us Why His Relationship With Chrissy Teigen Works So Well

Photo: Rob Latour/REX USA.
John Legend has mastered the art of sitting like a really cool guy. Lounging on a couch at a Tribeca hotel, he's unwittingly demonstrating just how perfectly he does it. Everything about him emits a sense of savvy. It doesn't hurt that he's incredibly articulate, or that he can't help but smile when he talks about his wife, Chrissy Teigen — or that he smells really good. Legend is the type of guy you trust to show you the ropes.

It's no wonder, then, that the Oscar-winning musician, who's 36, has been tapped to mentor a handful of aspiring artists — both music and design — as part of AXE's White Label Collective. With his own accolades behind him, not to mention years of guidance he's received from the likes of Kanye — Legend had a lot to say about what mentorship means and what Teigen teaches him beyond the kitchen.

His mentees ask him a lot about how to get seen, heard, and signed. And Legend's the type to tell you to risk it all. "Move to the city they need to move to...kind of step out there," he said. "If they're too conservative and don't take any risks, then they may not be able to take advantage. My advice has a lot to do with encouraging them to be bold and audacious."

If Legend is a good mentor, it's because he's had so many great examples of what one looks like. "I’ve had people throughout my career that have been helpful in different ways," he said. "I think it’s really valuable. That’s why we’re doing this project, because we feel like having good advice from people who have been successful in their field is really helpful." He mentions his high school choir director, his English and music teachers, and of course Kanye. "Kanye was one of my early advisors and producers that helped me get my music career off the ground."

When asked if Kanye ever gave him any specific advice that he's carried with him, he said it was more of a general impression of Yeezy that was integral to his art. "A lot of it’s just seeing how he operates creatively, what was successful for him," Legend said. "I was able to watch him on tour before I went on tour myself. I was able to watch him finish his first album before I finished my first album. Seeing that process and understanding what the challenges are and how to do it correctly, all those things have influenced me over the years."

Beyond the music industry, Legend's lucky to have the invaluable insight of his wife, model-chef-hilarious-tweeter Teigen. “We give each other advice," he said. "I think she has a good eye for marketing and understanding what’s funny and cool. She definitely gives me advice on that. We both try to help each other out.”

Okay. What about cooking? Legend said he's always cooked, but that Teigen is "more of a prolific and nuanced chef," adding that he's basically her guinea pig for making sure recipes are accessible to the lay person as part of her cookbook prep. "I’ve helped her a lot in the kitchen sous chefing. Sometimes she’s tired and she’s just like, ‘Can you make this according to the recipe?’ Because she wants to see if normal people who aren’t experts can make it."

So, what does that mean exactly? "I eat more than I cook.”

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