Legend taps West, Pharrell for album


DETROIT -- John Legend's third album is officially in motion. The multiplatinum Grammy winner said he has "three songs I love already" and is just about to start working on the follow-up to last year's "Once Again," which has sold more than 2.5 million copies worldwide.

"We're really just starting," Legend said. "I'm usually pretty prolific and pretty quick with my output, so I'm guessing I'll be done with it by the end of the spring and put it out either late summer or early fall. That's what I'm headed towards."

Legend -- who will release one more single, "Show Me," from "Once Again" -- says it's too early to predict a musical direction or theme; "The songs I've done so far are different from each other," he says. He's already worked with will.i.am and Rick Knowles and plans to hook up with the Neptunes' Pharrell Williams, longtime friend and mentor Kanye West "and we'll see who else."

The album isn't Legend's only musical endeavor, however. He's also busy launching his Homeschool Records label with "Shine," the second album by British vocalist Estelle, which is due out in February. Legend duets on one of the tracks and, as executive producer, was "very involved with the whole thing. I wrote with her on just about every track and ... made a lot of key decisions when it came to track selection, producers, getting the right people involved. I treated it almost like it was my own."

Legend plans future Homeschool releases for his younger brother, singer Vaughn Anthony, and the rapper Diggy. "I just want to hear good music," Legend says. "I feel like if nobody else is making it or not enough people are making it, I want to be part of the crew of people who are -- not just me but other artists I can work with, too."

The Homeschool artists will be showcased with Legend and Jill Scott on a TV One special taped at a Nov. 9 Bailey's Get Together concert in New York, which debuts Dec. 16.

Legend's thoughts these days are also with West following the sudden death of his mother, Donda West. Legend dedicated a performance of his hit "So High" to her at a Get Together show Wednesday in Detroit and said afterwards the he plans to attend her funeral next week.

"She loved him and supported him unconditionally," Legend said. "She was really there for him a lot and was ... really a great example for him. You could tell how close they were, and I just can't imagine how devastated he is right now."