Multiple Grammy Award-winning artist John Legend will return to the UAE to headline the second day of the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival on February 22, Gulf News tabloid! can exclusively reveal.
Legend, who is currently touring to promote his fifth studio album, Darkness and Light, has been at the annual festival twice — in 2008 and 2015 — and will join English synth-pop band Duran Duran, who open the three-day event on February 21.
A third artist is yet to be announced.
“We’re thrilled to welcome back audience favourite John Legend for our 16th edition. With the great reception of Darkness and Light album, we found that adding him to our line-up is a big reward to his growing fan base in the Middle East.” said Anthony Younes, founder and CEO of Chillout Productions.
Legend, 38, who won a Best New Artist Grammy in 2006 for his debut album, Get Lifted, has won the Grammys 10 times. The last one was for Glory last year, the song he wrote with rapper Common for the movie Selma.
He has also won, among many achievements, a Golden Globe, a Tony Award, and a few Billboard Music Awards.
Besides that, he starred in last year’s acclaimed musical La La Land. But despite winning many accolades since his debut, it was Legend’s 2014 song All of Me, a ballad he dedicated to his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, that’s been his biggest hit so far. The song, which became Legend’s first No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit, spent three weeks at the top and became the second-biggest selling song of that year in the US, behind Pharrell Williams’ Happy. It would go on to spend 23 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100’s Top 10.
Legend and Teigen, who married in 2013, last month announced they were expecting their second child together. Their daughter, Luna, was born in August last year.
Since the 2016 US elections, Legend has stepped up his activism. He was the initiator of the #freeamerica campaign, an initiative aimed at criminal justice reform in the US, and wears his ‘celebrity activist’ tag proudly.
“I’m concerned about what’s happening in America when it comes to race and racism,” he told Time magazine in April. “I’m also heartened by the response that the American people have shown. I’ve seen the activism on the street. I’ve participated in marches. I’ve seen really a surge of interest in the political system and how ordinary people can get involved in the political system and make change happen.”
His latest album and tour, both named Darkness and Light, reflect his current state of mind, he said.
“There’s a lot of darkness in the world, pain and conflict,” he told Billboard last month. “But the album also represents the desire to find light, optimism, love and joy in the midst of all of that.”
Don’t miss it
The Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival runs from February 21 to 23 at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. Discounted early bird tickets for John Legend’s performance go on sale on December 11. Regular tickets start at Dh325 on dubaijazzfest.com