Back in 98 and 99 when we had the studio at 1650 Broadway going, we worked on a wide variety of recording, engineering, and writing projects. Some of those were klunkers, which we were doing just to get established, but one or two were sheer gold. The best example of the latter category was the work we did with a super talented young R&B singer named John Stephens. DC, our studio mogul and musical genius in his own right, had known John through a vocal jazz group they had both directed back in Philly. So we worked with John on a four-song demo CD. My contribution to the project was some mixing, engineering and a few guitar tracks. On top of everything else, it was great fun since I had never worked in the R&B genre. We knew John was destined for big things, and he was already hitting it big, playing some piano tracks on the critically acclaimed and smash debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. On top of all that, John was just a nice guy to deal with.
In the next few years, John was taken under the wing of Kanye West and given the kind of visibility he deserves. You started seeing him everywhere, on Gap ads, on TV shows like Leno. And hearing his songs, too. I knew that he had made it when I heard one of his tunes boarding an American Airlines flight last summer. Oh, and by this time, he had been re-christened John Legend! Which seems fitting, because at the last Grammys, John walked away with three awards, for best new artist, best male R&B performance, and best R&B album! So, to that, we at cyberkrunk say congratulations! (And would you mind putting those four songs on your next album?)