John Legend on Fatherhood, How to Handle Failure, and Essential Albums Everyone Should Listen To

THE VOICE -- "Live Cross Battles Results" Episode 1611B -- Pictured: John Legend -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
 Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images


John Legend is a man of many talents. The singer, songwriter, producer, and occasional actor has 10 Grammy Awards to his name, an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a Primetime Emmy, and a Tony Award, making him one of only 15 people to win the “EGOT”, not to mention the multiple best-selling albums and chart-topping songs from his long music career.

But none of those jobs quite match the one that he has at home: Father. Legend and wife Chrissy Teigen have two children, Luna and Miles, and Legend has totally jumped in head-first into everything about being a dad. Whether it’s giving shoulder rides to Luna, marking milestones on Instagram, or changing diapers, Legend has enjoyed all aspects of fatherhood.

Speaking of changing diapers, that’s something that Legend has had fun with in the past, going viral in a Pampers commercial where he sings his “Stinky Booty” song for Luna. But being a father has also opened up Legend’s eyes to the hardships they sometimes face with their children, including not always having access to changing rooms in men’s restrooms. Legend is working with Pampers on the Love the Change campaign to help install 5,000 changing tables in mens’ restrooms all across America over the next two years.

“I love being a dad, but it’s definitely frustrating when I am out with Miles and the men’s restroom doesn’t have a baby changing table,” Legend says. “When dads can’t change diapers, it affects the whole family. Chrissy shouldn’t have to change every diaper when we are out.”

Legend spoke with Men’s Journal about his love of fatherhood, how a man should handle success, where he loves to travel, and more.

Men’s Journal: What do you enjoy most about fatherhood? What are your favorite things to do with your family?

John Legend: I love doing big things, like going on vacation and going to amusement parks, but the most fun is just hanging out at home and dancing to our record player with them.

What albums should every person make sure they listen to?

Anything by Stevie Wonder, especially from the 70’s. I love Jay Z. My favorite of his is probably American Gangster. I love Marvin Gaye “I Want You” and Curtis Mayfield “Superfly” too.

US singer John Legend and daughter Luna watch the International Women's friendly football match between the US and Belgium at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles on April 7, 2019. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

What’s one adventure or trip that most changed your life?

My first trip to Lake Como, Italy with Chrissy. We fell in love there. Years later, we shot the All of Me video and got married there. It’s a special place for us.

How should a man handle failure? How about success?

Failure is a part of life. It’s a part of trying for something big. Learn from it and persist. I was turned down by every major label when I was trying for a record deal. I kept working, writing, recording, and playing live. Keep going. Learn from your struggles. Persevere.

What made you want to work with Pampers on this campaign?

Nine out of 10 dads have gone into a public restroom that hasn’t had a changing table. Ultimately, it will change life for us dads for the better. By providing these changing tables, Pampers is enabling hands-on dads like myself and Donte Palmer, who started #SquatForChange, to have access to the tools we need to succeed as parents to our babies. Of course we have ways of getting it done on our own, but now with the support from Pampers and Koala Kare, it helps make diaper duty that much more convenient. It started organically, based on a song I sang to Luna when she was a baby while I was changing her diapers. We’ve done exciting work together and now we get to champion dads and call for equality for parents everywhere.