John Legend: What’s his secret brainy talent?

John Legend

John Legend is a household name; known to most for his artistic work in music. John has won multiple Grammy awards, an Oscar and a Tony, but years before achieving his global fame, the Legend-to-be took home another prize: spelling bee champ.

A 1989 story in The Springfield News-Sun proclaimed, “Product of home teaching wins bee.” The newspaper noted the future R&B singer’s sharp attire, his steady gaze and crisp enunciation, saying the 10-year-old Legend “came to win … and win he did.”

John Legend, born John Roger Stephens in Springfield in 1978, credited his mother, Phyllis Stephens, and a tutor with helping him study for the contest. He and his siblings were home schooled.

The newspaper says he took a no-nonsense approach, not cracking a smile during the competition until his tutor cried out with joy when he correctly spelled the winning word: “prejudice.”

A 2016 YouTube video shows the “All of Me” singer competing in a “bee” for Radio Disney.

Long before he met his super-model wife, Chrissy Teigen, and became Dad to daughter Luna, Stephens was still a Legend in the making. It’s hard to say if the soulful singer/songwriter was hard at work on emotional lyrics during his spelling bee days, but it certainly seems the talent served to help build his repertoire.

As if we needed more confirmation of the manifold talents of Mr. Lengend, he presently has crushed 3 of the 4 hurdles in the quest for the coveted EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards).

10 Grammy awards, 1 Oscar, 1 Tony, to be precise.

The exclusive EGOT club has allowed a scarce 12 members thus far. But Legend needs only to add E to his GOT (as coined by Teigen following his Tony award win last June).

With such a range of aptness, this orthographer should have no trouble collecting an Emmy, and will most likely accepted it with an eloquently composed and perfectly spelled speech.


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