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John Legend on fatherhood: ‘You want people to have justice’

UPDATED: Fri., Dec. 8, 2017

In this June 30, 2017  photo, John Legend performs at the 2017 Essence Festival at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, in New Orleans. (Amy Harris / Associated Press)
In this June 30, 2017 photo, John Legend performs at the 2017 Essence Festival at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, in New Orleans. (Amy Harris / Associated Press)
By Mark Kennedy Associated Press

NEW YORK – The Nobel Peace Prize winners will be serenaded by John Legend on Monday and for that they can thank Legend’s infant daughter – and a second baby on the way.

The Grammy winner will take the stage at the Telenor Arena in Oslo, Norway, on Dec. 11 for Nobel Peace Prize Concert, a gig he takes mindful of the world he’d like to leave for his children.

“Having kids puts in context for me the kinds of things kids need to be successful and healthy and happy. And realizing that far too many kids don’t have that,” the singer-songwriter said by phone from Los Angeles. “That’s what being a father has done for me.”

Legend, who performed at the 2006 peace prize concert, said he’s honored to celebrate the same award that was handed to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and former President Barack Obama. “I’m glad it’s being given to a group who is dedicated to actually making the world safer for everybody,” he said.

Other performers include Zara Larsson, Sigrid, Matoma and Lukas Graham. Actor David Oyelowo will host and its highly likely Legend will sing “Glory” from the film “Selma” starring Oyelowo as King. It can be seen live online .

Longtime concert executive producer Odd Arvid Strxmstad said asking Legend to return this year made sense. “We had John Legend as one of the artists in 2006 in the beginning of his career, and that was a very good experience. Since then he has had an amazing career. Therefore, we have over the years discussed inviting him back,” he said.

Late last month, Legend and his wife, Chrissy Teigen, announced they were expecting their second child. Their daughter, Luna, was born in 2016. He said he goes to the concert this year mindful of his new role as a father.

“It puts a little more focus on what the world is going to be. You want it to be safe. You want it to be peaceful. You want people to have opportunity. You want people to have justice.”

Legend has lately found himself more vocal politically, backing a protesting NFL player, pushing for reforms in the criminal justice system and aiding marchers in New York demanding justice for a man who died in police custody.

“Having our current president in office, it makes all of us a bit more aware of what’s happening because he’s causing a lot more concern that previous leaders have,” he said. “I’ve always been really aware but I think it’s making me speak out even more than I have before because there’s so much we have to be concerned about.”

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