Photographer: Charl Marais @ Kayte Ellis Agency
Fashion Editor: Kristine Kilty
Grooming: Kristina Vidic using: Mac cosmetics, skincare Dr. Hauschka
Photography Assistant: Lotti Brewer-Gmoser
Model: James Magee @ Select
Photographer: Charl Marais @ Kayte Ellis Agency
Fashion Editor: Kristine Kilty
Grooming: Kristina Vidic using: Mac cosmetics, skincare Dr. Hauschka
Photography Assistant: Lotti Brewer-Gmoser
Model: James Magee @ Select
Kehlani – ‘A Rise With Grace’
Words: Miles Holder
The rise of Kehlani hasn’t been an easy one; at every stage in her career she has been given a new cross to bear or obstacle to climb but despite all her hardships, she has always emerged triumphant. Releasing her critically acclaimed debut album ‘SweetSexySavage’ in January 2017 and currently on her highly rated world tour, while it’s been a long time coming, it would seem that Kehlani is finally seeing the fruits of her many years of hard labour. Speaking with a delicate manner but a hardened confidence far beyond her 21 years of age, we sat down to find out more about one of R&B’s most exciting artists.
Looking back, were you happy with how your album did?
I think it was really good for the time that it came out. There was a lot of negative commotion happening especially in my country with the US election so I think that something easy and positive was definitely needed at that time.
You air your personal feelings and fears out there on the album, is it hard to expose so much emotion for the world to hear?
With me, it’s all or nothing; go hard or go home. We all as know what’s really going on and people will feel it if it’s not really me on the track. I want to make people feel through my music – we all put up with fake shit all the time so I wanted to contribute something that’s the real me.
Music has always been your life and it’s something you’ve been working on for so long, did that not put a lot of pressure on you to succeed when dropping new music?
For me, the pressure doesn’t come from outside people, it’s all what I put on myself in the creative process. I’m asking myself “Could I hit that note better” or “should I shift beats differently”, but I’m not thinking about the sales-numbers because that doesn’t really matter. I just worry about making sure whatever I’m working on is a better project than the last.
How do you deal with the pressure of all the show business?
I’m doing so much that I never have time to really stop and think about it all. I don’t have the focus and it’s hard to manage but at the end of the day, it’s got to get done! Ain’t non of this shit easy for anyone.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I’d tell myself to just stay focused and get as much rest as you can because you’re about to turn up! [laughs] But seriously, I’d tell myself to learn how to prioritise myself and to learn how to protect my energy. If I had entered the industry with more knowledge on self, how to protect myself and emotional take care of my life then things would have been much easier.
Being a sensitive, open and loving person has definitely led to some downfalls but I do wish I’d learnt some emotional grounding as a kid but I don’t beat myself up about it because it’s hard and most people don’t even learn half of that until they’re old.
When you shut your eyes and you think of your perfect future, what is it?
I want to be a mum. I want to have my kids and just settle down. If I keep going as fast as I’ve been going, I’m going to be over it and it’ll be time for the quiet life one day.
What’s your message to all young people out there who might have gone through or are going through the same struggles you have?
Don’t let the world discourage you or let the things that weigh on your shoulders crush you. Know that for me, it’s really hard and as a woman especially because we’re so caring and we have large hearts which make us want to fix the unfixable and carry a weight too large to bear. I just hope everyone out there knows to just breathe through it and to take everything at their own pace. Most importantly, people should never forget to take care of themselves.
What is your FAULT?
I don’t know how to answer that because I’m so human and I never stop to imagine that I’d only ever have one fault. We all have FAULTs, being twenty-one-years-old reminds me that I’m human because I’m pretty sure I have a fuck up every single day. I can’t think of just one thing -that’s my FAULT.
Surely you remember the Counterfeit. boys fronted by our FAULT issue 22 Cover Jamie Campbell Bower. Long story short, they’re basically part of the FAULT family now. When we last caught up, the boys were only just releasing their debut EP. Well, fast-forward six months and they’ve got a brand new record out. We caught up again with the group and here’s a little teaser for what’s about to come out in our FAULT Issue 25.
It’s been 6 months since we last caught up and back then you were only just releasing your EP. Look at us now, with you guys releasing your debut album! What’s the vibe in the Counterfeit. camp at the moment?
Jamie: It’s pretty good. We’ve made an album over the past six months since we saw you last. We’ve sort of been gearing up for the release ever since, while being locked away in a tiny room.
Now that you’ve got a full body of work that represents Counterfeit. if we were to listen to your EP back to back with your album, would we notice any differences?
Tristan: Yes definitely, it’s a step up from our EP. Mitch, the guy who we worked with on our album, is really talented. He’s worked with people like Rattlesnakes and the sound that he’s created for us is really raw.
Jamie: The album in comparison to the EP is a lot tighter and closer. Sonically, it’s a lot beefier and thicker than what we’ve done before. The sound that we wanted for the album compared to the EP comes from this love of a nice kick and a heavy snare rather than a roomy sound, so that’s definitely a step up in terms of how we went about it. But it’s still very much Counterfeit. It hasn’t changed. There’s room for mistakes in the record and those moments of ‘Oh what’s that?’ are really nice on an album. As opposed to, you know, something general and clean-cut from beginning to end.
I remember you were saying that most of your songs come from a very personal and honest place. Which one was the hardest for you to write and put out there and what’s the back-story?
Jamie: There are a few out there that are quite tough. The record opens with a song called ‘Washed Out’ and that’s a reflection of a period of my life from about 15 to 26 when my life was going in a direction and I didn’t really know which way it was going. I would actively do things that were negative that would have a negative impact on my life. Just the way that I acted or certain actions that I did, I wasn’t really ready to accept life on life’s terms. It was more about blowing everything up, because I didn’t really feel I had control. I was always trying to put a brave face on, like ‘No, I’m fine, I’m cool, I’m grand!’ But the past like two and a half years, I think all of us collectively just did some growing up. I also made some significant changes in my life, in regards to the way I behaved and the things that I did. ‘Washed Out’ was probably one of the first tracks that I wrote. It was a tough song to write. It’s hard to talk about being a mess and it’s not an easy thing to look back on.
What was the most difficult part of producing this record? You already had quite a solid body of work beforehand, but surely there must’ve been times when you felt stuck.
Sam: We all had moments when we went away from it for a little and when we came back we could discuss what troubles we had with the others with a clear head. We work quite well together when it comes to communicating ideas.
Jamie: There was one song – You Can’t Rely – that we’ve never played live, it was written at home and it was still very much in demo format. The chorus part needed to be changed and as soon as we got into the studio we realized that it needed some work. But it wasn’t like something that took a week to get over; we did it in like 4 hours. But the record was made quite quickly; it just took a while to find the time to do it, because we’ve all got our own things going on. But if you were to accumulate all the time that we spent together, it basically just took us 25 days to make a record. And I think that’s a really important factor in terms of what this record is. It’s frantic and struggling to survive and I think recording it over such a sort time-span contributed to those feelings.
Come March-April – you’re going back on the road again. Will we see anything different from Counterfeit on stage?
Jamie: I think the show this time is going to get like bigger and better. We’re getting our own technicians in to do our stuff for us. This band is very much home grown and passion grown, so it’s very important to us to have our own people with us on the road. We want to continue to take the show to bigger and better places. The way that we see it and the way that we see it in our minds is like a huge fucking rock show, and that’s what it needs to be and that’s what we have to provide for these people. We’ve done the tours already, it’s great, cool, and fun, call it whatever and we want to step it up. We want to give it the beans in terms of visuals as well. But yeah, Sam will definitely be put in danger again. I’m thinking less boat this time. I don’t know, maybe an inflatable whale.
Sam: Or just floating from above. Hang me from a cable. Sounds fun.
Without getting political – but taking into account the current political climate, you come across as the kind of band who is not afraid to speak up. Now that people have something to rebel against, is this an area you’re willing to explore?
Jamie: I don’t think we are the kind of band that is afraid to speak up. We are reactive to what we experience and what we’re shown around us. Would I be afraid to take it into a political direction? No. But would I consciously make an effort to be a beacon? I don’t think I would do that either because I’m sure as shit no pillar of morality myself. Of course there are some horrifically negative people in this world and the things that are happening around us right now tare very scary. I think that maybe if we feel the desire and burning passion to make a socio-political comment on that, then we should and it would be right to do so. But I would never force us to go into that direction. It wouldn’t be a conscious thought. If we were to do it and if we had to do it, it would have to be genuine.
Roland: Another interesting thing is the fact that the album is called ‘Together We Are Stronger’ and for us, it’s like a thank you to our fans. But at the same time it’s a message of unity and coming together. We seem to just live in a world where people just cut you off and simply don’t care. Our message is basically that whoever you are, it’s all good.
Jamie: The world does feel very fractious. I definitely get the sense of fracture and isolation and I think that’s terrifying. Because I don’t come from a place where I want to live on my own and lock all my door and shut all my windows. I’m not a small-minded individual. I truly believe in acceptance, love, understanding and peace.
And on that happy note, have you guys acquired any new FAULTs over the past few months?
Sam: I’m still losing things! I’m losing fewer things though cause I’m taking less things with me.
Jamie: He’s losing less things cause he lost most things already.
Roland: I used to be very good at bowling, but last time I went I lost, so that’s a fault.
Jamie: Over the last six months, I think I’ve been under a lot of pressure and haven’t actually managed to deal with stress in a positive way. I let it get to a point where I just blew up.
Tristan: My fault was disappearing for two days while doing the album.
Jimmy: I’m perfect.
You can order Together We Are Stronger here – available NOW
In anticipation for FAULT Issue 25 – check out an exclusive behind the scenes video with Counterfeit. More to come!
Words: Adina Ilie
Photography: Chris Moore
Upon the release of Dan Croll’s third single ‘Away from Today’ taken from his yet untitled upcoming new album, Dan sits down with Fault Magazine to discuss studio life in Georgia, and his past struggle with anxiety but coming out the other side stronger with a new label and a renewed drive to succeed.
Hey Dan, how are you?
Yeah, good man. Bit tired, but good.
You enjoying the campaign so far?
Yeah been up and around today, things are good. We’ve decided to pencil in the release date and to get things going. So now I guess the PR wheels are turning and there are a lot of interviews and stuff, and its great. It’s this part that I like, when you start to get people excited, you know?
It’s the start of something much bigger isn’t it?
Yeah definitely, and to remind people that you’re alive.
You’re doing a lot of social media, for the likes of pancake day!
Oh god yeah, that was such a depressing one! [Laughs]
So you’ve got this new single out, ‘Away from Today’?
[Pause] Oh yes! [Laughs] it’s been really busy. I’ve been trying to keep up with what’s going on! The single has been doing well; it’s been fun to see it out there. It’s a different sound but in a good way I think, it’s something that is probably the first track really that has revolved around a heavy sample; so its been quite fun from the whole writing process to people hearing it.
Did it make a big difference with the sampling?
Yeah I think the sampling is typically considered something hip-hop scene and Rn’B and stuff so it’s quite weird to bring it into a different element.
Brings a different vibe to your music, would you say?
With the horn section included, is that something you’re hoping to bring across to the live performance?
Oh god I wish yeah [Laughs], I’m already broke so I’d need to find some trumpet players to come with me and break me even more! But no, I think we’ll find cleverer ways to do that but I would love to don’t get me wrong. Maybe there are some fans out there who would want me to do it, but yeah.
It would be awesome to see! You’ve got the video for the single that was recorded within a deep forest, where was it filmed?
Its funny that actually, when the director Greg rang me and he was like “Oh Dan we’ve got the location for the video”, and I was like “Wicked!” because I knew what the idea was and everything so I was like “Oh amazing, where are we going to do it?” and I had a few ideas, like we might be going up to Skye in Scotland or something like that. He was like “you’re going to Portland” and I was like “you’re fucking kidding me? We’re going to Portland?” And I was absolutely buzzing. Then I asked “Portland, Oregon?” and he was like “no, Portland in Dorset”. [Laughs]. So we just ended up in Dorset which wasn’t as cool as Portland Oregon but it was good, it has a major (going really geeky now) but it has a major port from the war – batteries, big long range guns so it was quite…
…a historical site?
Yeah definitely. It had been battered itself so it’s quite a rough and ready environment to shoot a video in, so it was quite cool.
Did that sort of fit the theme of escapism?
Yeah it sort of was, it was all about escapism and being your own worst enemy, all of that.
It comes across that you’re washing your hands with the events of the past?
You got it, I’m glad [Laughs]. You nailed it.
You’ve got the new tour coming up in May, what’s your plan before that? What is your tour preparation?
Just stay busy, lots of interviews to do and sessions and hopefully radio, just keeping very busy. Rehearsals and I’ve just recently built a little home studio in my house. So I’ve actually been writing a lot so it’s been quite nice. Trying to keep busy.
More tracks for the new album?
Just whatever comes, yeah. All sorts! Like I say, I go mad when I’m not busy so I’ll be keeping very busy.
Especially with the tour, you’ve got the likes of Glasgow, Manchester on the bill…
Yeah just the kind of standard little UK run just to kind of test the water I guess before the album comes out and then we’ll hopefully go from there and visit more places afterwards.
Does that mean the setlist will be more of a mix?
Yeah definitely, it’s been quite weird and it’s the first time that I’ve ever had too many songs and it’s quite a weird sensation to have to axe some of them. I’m obviously attached to them all because they’re my songs, so it’s been weird.
Will it tell a story?
Yeah, a lot of it is to do with just the basics of pace and tempo, I like the kind of science behind it. I really like the phycology behind a setlist I think; it’s kind of an artful thing. So yeah I’d like to spend a bit of time doing that. Tried a few ways out and I think I’ve got the right way now.
To help perfect it?
Yeah, it’s like do you start with a bang? Do you build? Do you dip in the middle? Do you finish on a high? Do you do one of those pretentious sort of encores where you walk off and prepare for it.
What do you do in that kind of situation?
You know what we’ve done it a few times I think it’s so; I get why people do it but at the same time it’s like you’ve know you’ve got another 2 songs to play. Unless the gig is bombing just play them all [Laughs].
Do you try and gage the vibe in the room?
Yeah, it’s weird. Its just kind of an egotistical slap on the back you know? You’re going to get a cheer. So between now and the tour I’ll be working on the perfect setlist.
Who is supporting you on the tour?
You know what, we’re just about to chat about that today. Yeah it’s good because when you usually do your tours, it’s everyone’s names in the hats. So the booking agent will throw in names, the manager will throw in names, I’ll throw in names and band members will throw in names. It all goes into a big pot and it’s nice to have some fresh music after a while. People you’ve not really heard of, people you’ve heard of with new material, it’s exciting. So we haven’t confirmed anyone yet but there’s a lot of great people I think. People are really up for it, lots of talented bands.
Any favourite venues on the upcoming tour?
A favourite? Well London is usually the big gig.
Heaven this time around…
Yeah, I’ve never been so I don’t know what to expect there. I like The Thekla in the ship, I’ve heard a lot of good stories and tales from Thekla. Actually the last time we were at Thekla, the last time we were in Bristol we ended the gig in A&E, which was quite mad.
Do I ask?
We had a freak accident on stage with my sound guy so we had to run to A&E during the gig. Something always happens at Thekla, that’s the thing.
Is Thekla cursed?
Yeah, it’s quite like exciting to go there though; there’s also the Great Escape Festival that is in the mix as well, as part of the tour. I love Brighton.
Always a good line-up there!
To tell the truth I haven’t checked out the line-up for this year yet but when I go its always good, it’s my fourth time probably there now so I enjoy it.
Do you try to check out the other acts that are playing?
Yeah all of that, to be honest I’m a sucker for a seaside town.
Well Liverpool is a seaside town I would say!
Yeah you can go across to New Brighton and stuff but a bit depressing than traditional do you know what I mean? That sounds bad but you know.
It’s like, can you get an ice cream or not?
You know I think places like Brighton or even Blackpool have got a weird charm about it than other seaside towns I think.
Yes, great reputations.
When you go to these places, do they inspire you through the writing process?
Not so much Brighton and Blackpool [Laughs]. But definitely new places do massively; massively. Especially if they have something about them in terms of [Pause]
Yeah I guess so, kind of green cities, which are usually quite a nice thing. Places that are immersed in kind of a natural beauty; they are quite nice. That’s why I love going to America, it’s not like we haven’t got it in the UK but when you go there it drastically goes from desert to city or forest to city. That’s also inspiring.
It’s crazy how 2 vastly different ecosystems work well together like that.
Yeah it’s very steady, all over the shop! It’s mad.
It is, so the campaign is going well?
Yeah I can’t wait for it to get busier to be honest, looking forward to really getting going!
Have you got a name for the album yet?
I have but I’m not allowed to say just yet, this is the thing. I don’t know so for safety reasons I’m going to say no for now.
In terms of a release date?
I know that we’ll be aiming for the very end of June, start of July. But I think we’re just confirming that today. Today is my London day for things like that so I think we’re going to hopefully announce that very soon.
Nice summer album for your fans to look forward to.
Yeah, pre-orders up soon to get people excited.
Will there be a vinyl release?
You’ve got the likes of PULS Open Air Festival to look forward to playing?
Great, where is that? [Laughs]
Great! [Laughs]. That’s not in a snobbish way, we’ve had things flying through and so I’m trying to keep up with a lot of things especially these types of festivals where; to tell the truth I haven’t kind of done a great deal of European festivals and I’m really excited to do them.
Obviously when names come through I’m just “Oh yeah!” One went up the other day that I forgot about called Summer’s Tale festival. I’m doing that and look at the line-up; great! My previous management and my previous label they were very much centered around the UK and East and West coast America and I feel that maybe on my first album campaign that I neglected Europe.
So I’m very excited to go, I’ve got quite a bit of work to do to build back up in Europe but I’m very excited to kind of try hard this year to push for lots of European festivals, lots of European touring and stuff. UK as well but its just such a mad idea that you wouldn’t go to these places, you know.
Easy to get across to Europe from here, lots of possibilities.
Yeah it is, so yeah I think they’ll definitely be some touring and festivals in there. Where about is Open Air?
I think it’s in Germany.
Oh cool! Know the line-up?
Nope, me neither! But that sounds cool, lets go there.
It’s a great difference to play there and then your home country.
Yeah we’ve done a lot of UK festivals and it’s not like I don’t enjoy them, I love them. But there is something to be said about them, a new experience of a new festival.
Yeah definitely, new friends and new experiences.
Yeah for sure!
The new album was produced by Ben Allen?
Yes so it was me and Ben Allen in Atlanta, Georgia which was great.
You got to America in the end then!
Yeah, it was 2 months living in Atlanta on my own; it was cool. It was a fun experience, very hot place for a pasty white guy. [Laughs]. It was very hot, so that was great. Loved Ben and I think we’ve done a great job and it’s been mixed by a great guy over here so I just want people to hear it. There’s obviously been 3 tracks off it already so far.
You started off with ‘One of Us’ back in 2015…
That’s coming back around actually, there’s a re-release and a remix and stuff. So ‘One of Us’, ‘Swim’ and ‘Away from Today’ so that’s kind of 3 of 11 tracks I think, and we’ve got one more to go and then the release.
Brilliant. One more single so that means another video?
Yeah god, another video; hopefully not running this time. [Laughs] Hate running.
That was a good effort though!
Oh yeah, I don’t hate running really I just wasn’t prepared for that really. That was like one day off between America and coming onto the European tour so I was really ill. It was like “so you’ve got a video shoot.” and I was like “oh my god!”
I bet you missed that during your transition from the first album to this one, you kind of had a long break in a way?
Yeah I mean it’s been a big break. There has been a lot of hardship really being dropped and losing management and all of that. Going back to square one has been tough mentally, a very tough couple of years but thankfully I managed to pick myself up and Communion I owe a lot of thanks to for picking me up.
You’ve come back stronger, do you think?
I hope so! I just hope it’s going to see the light of day. There was a point last year when I nearly uploaded it for free just to get it out there; it’s driving me mad.
Because you’ve been sitting on it for so long?
A long time, you forget how long you’ve been sitting on it but not in a bad way. You’ve heard it a lot and you just want to get it out there.
You had the single ‘Swim’ come out just before your Village Underground show just down the road, how was that? Sold out show and everything.
It was amazing, it’s an incredible venue and I had tickets to go and see Loyle Carner there and I think he played a few weeks before me so I couldn’t make it, so I thought I’d know what the venue would be like but I didn’t.
First time you’ve been there?
First time I’ve been and I loved it. I think as a venue it is pretty spectacular. It is this almost kind of a German and European kind of venue with the big warehouse brick structure. It’s quite a brutalist venue so I loved it. So yeah ‘Swim’ came out and it had a good reception and I was chuffed that, that one came out as a single. It’s got one of my best mates on it singing, Becky from Stealing Sheep. So it meant a lot to have her on it.
You had a lot of collaborations didn’t you in the first album?
Yeah we had quite a few, this new album is definitely a bit more sheltered in a way, Becky is the only collaborator on it. This album was more me on every track with a few band members pitching in on the first one. This was more a challenge; I think I’m a very competitive person. I’ve come from a very competitive sporting background so when it came to the idea of creating an album its like how far can I push myself? So here’s an idea, I’ll play everything possible. And I’ll compete with myself in a weird way to see if I can do it, you know.
Did you gather new sounds and new ideas that way?
Yeah there was definitely a point when I was recording my drums on the track, I’m not a drummer and I had a drum kit as a kid; but I’m kind of self-taught. I’m not amazing but I know the basics so I was doing takes for my own songs and like sweating in a very hot Atlanta. Then the producers found a way to really push me in quite a clever way, they kind of realized that I was very competitive so on the talk back, if I wasn’t doing well enough it kind of subtly threatened with the idea of that he could find someone else to play it, but in a very nice way. He was like “Dan you’re looking pretty knackered, I’ve got a friend who is a really good drummer and I reckon he’d do a really good job of this.” I was like “no!” and sweating. He got the best takes out of me so it was quite a smart way of doing it really.
How did you feel in the studio with him?
It was great, the studio was beautiful; it was kind of an old railway signalling house.
They’re kind of modernized in the UK now, right?
Yeah kind of, they’re in a weird brick over there and it was hollowed out and built into a big studio; it was great. Basically it was one big live room and that suits me very well. The way that I work is kind of uninterrupted chaos a lot of time, you’ll hit record at the start of the day and take it off at the end and try to make sense of it all.
My nightmare of a studio is when there are individual live rooms where each member would stand in a separate room, so there would be a lot of start and stop. Setting up and re-mic’ing and so when we’re looking for a studio because we’d already found Ben, we’d need to find a place to house all the instruments but have them permanently set up and mic’d. So there was no touching them from day 1. They were all ready to go from day 1; uninterrupted chaos.
I guess that is why it was quite a relatively quick recording process, only 2 months?
Only two months yeah, and maybe a week’s break in the middle. So one month and three weeks if we’re being really picky. [Laughs]
Got any phobias?
Yeah! To tell the truth I have this Emetophobia I think it’s called, I might be wrong, it’s a daft one since the kind of rough couple of years I’ve had; I developed a lot of anxiety and I had a real tough time with having a phobia of actually being sick in public. For some reason that became a very big thing for me, and stopped me from taking public transport for a while and made me very sheltered. I didn’t go out a lot and for some reason I was just very paranoid about embarrassing myself in public and being sick. It’s not quite a funny phobia but I think I’m alright with everything else; no phobia of cows or anything.
What is your fault?
I think being as competitive as I am is both good and bad. Kind of at times can be a fault; I think it’s because you’re so bothered and driven about succeeding so you know taking any pleasure in succeeding or failing and learning from your mistakes and stuff like that. So I think being very competitive sometimes can bring out a bad side but trying to learn to enjoy the small things.
Dan’s latest single ‘Away from Today’ is out now on Communion, you can watch the video for the single here. Dan is on tour around the UK throughout May 2017, you can get tickets for his upcoming dates at dancroll.com
Words – Stuart Williams
Photography – Dan Wilton
Timothy Bouyez Forge
Luke Anthony Rooney
Photographer: Taras Shymbra
Casting my mind back to 2005 and the re-emergence of outlandishly dressed musicians and over-the-top performances that had to be done for a fleeting spot in the top 20; it’s humbling that one shy man and his piano have stood the test of time. Fast-forward to 2017 and John Legend is now a household name with six albums under his belt, a family and most recently starred in and executively produced the Oscar-tipped blockbuster movie ‘La La Land’. I caught up with John to discuss music, family life and fears to discover if “Legend” is more than just a name.
How do you think you’ve changed as a person since your debut all those years ago?
I’ve grown up a lot in the last twelve years and had a lot more life experiences. Getting married and having a baby have added new perspectives and depth to the subjects I sing about too. Just from living in the world and seeing more contemporary issues have added new layers to my music which weren’t there before.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
My life has turned out pretty well so I wouldn’t change much but I would want myself to be bolder growing up. I was shy in college and I would tell myself to be more willing to come out of my shell and dare to be confident.
You’re married with a baby daughter; do you think the positivity they bring to your life spreads throughout the album?
I think I’ve always been an optimistic person and I think that streak of optimism runs through each of my albums. I think there is just more depth to what I’m feeling because everything means more to me now I have a wife and daughter. Everything is more significant and I’m thinking more philosophically about things and thinking about life and death a lot more. Before what I sang about were my ambitions of making money, getting girls and having fun which was a lot more selfish but now I have better perspective and depth on what’s really important in life.
Raising a bi-racial daughter in Trump’s America, does that scare you?
Hopefully “Trump’s America” won’t last very long and we get him out of here within the next four years. By the time Luna is old enough to be aware of what is happening, America would have elected a far better president. Trump promised to do things which are really bad for the country and some which are good and the hope is he’ll just do the good parts but I don’t have a lot of faith in him. I’m just hoping for the best and when we need to resist and speak out, we need to hit the streets and do it. For now, I’m more worried for the people less fortunate than my daughter, people who might lose their healthcare or get excluded because of the colour of their skin, their religion and country of origin.
Fans have differing ideas of what a John Legend album should sound like. Is that added pressure when it comes to releasing new music?
Not everyone is going to be happy with every album and with every song but when I put music out, I do it with the confidence that my fans will love it or at least give it a chance. The feedback from Darkness and Light has been amazing and it has been my best-reviewed album to date. When I was finishing it, a lot of my friends felt like it was my best work and I felt the same so I was more excited that nervous for people to hear it. I don’t go too much into numbers and charts, what’s important is that people love it and I’ve heard they do.
From the album title, I presumed the songs would be either extremely high octane songs or heart-wrenching ballads but listening to the lyrics, for the most part, it’s an uplifting album and I wondered if that was always your intention?
I think what the title means to me is that darkness and lightness always coexist and theirs a push and pull and it’s not really about one song being dark and one being light as you said you expected, it’s about mixing it all into one song. In Surefire I talk about a nightmare but regardless “I’m surefire” and that’s me inviting darkness and light into one song.
What scares John Legend?
Rats! I’m really scared of rodents.
La La Land has received rave reviews, how was that whole experience?
I loved it and it was really fun to be a part of it. I loved working with Ryan and I didn’t work much with Emma but she’s a wonderful actress and did great in the movie. It was a really cool experience and to be part of something so special and meaningful to so many people.
What is your FAULT?
I don’t like confrontation. Sometimes that’s good because I’m good at keeping the peace but when in times when you have to confront things head on I’ve never been good at that.