Dayton Daily News

When John Legend forgot his clothes at 2006 Grammys

Local journalist­s came to the rescue of Springfiel­d’s superstar.

- By Lisa Powell Staff Writer

John Legend is no stranger to the glitz and glamour of award shows, but there was a time when he was still a rookie in the spotlight — and he let the local newspaper tag along.

In 2006, the Springfiel­d North High School grad allowed two journalist­s from the Springfiel­d News-Sun to tag along with him in Los Angeles for the 48th annual Grammy Awards.

Photograph­er Marshall Gorby and reporter Andrew McGinn spent behind-the-scenes time with the singer and his family in the days leading up to the ceremony.

Recently Gorby, now a team leader with Cox Media Group Ohio, recalled standing in the lobby of Legend’s hotel when a woman spotted his camera gear and asked whom he was there to cover.

When he replied “John Legend,” the woman told him she had never heard of him. “Well, you’ll know him tomorrow,” Gorby told her. Legend had been nominated for eight awards, including Best New Artist.

Legend holed up in a suite on the 11th floor of the Millennium Biltmore using his real name, John Stephens, to book the room.

“You could tell he was living out of his suitcase,” Gorby said, “and focused on what was going on around him.”

Gorby photograph­ed Legend as he prepped for his big night, checking his laptop, dining on grilled salmon and sitting shirtless as his brother Ronald II gave him a shave and haircut.

“I don’t think he was putting on airs for us because he continued to do what he was doing and let us do what we did,” Gorby said.

“It was nice that he invited us in, considerin­g all of the people who wanted to see and talk to him. I wasn’t a fan before, but I am now. He’s a nice kid, he really is, and his family is outstandin­g.”

The highlight of the story for the journalist­s came when they played a role in preventing Legend from potential embarrassm­ent at the Grammys.

In the hubbub and excitement, Legend headed to the Staples Center with only the white tuxedo on his back, leaving behind several outfits he needed for wardrobe changes and his stylist, Lisa Sellers.

Gorby, McGinn and the stylist, along with Legend’s clothes, jumped into a rented gray Pontiac Vibe intent, McGinn later wrote, on being able to say, “Yeah, we saved the Grammys.”

McGinn’s narrative published the following day in the Springfiel­d News-Sun tells it best:

“As we drove toward the center, about to take our place in line as the only car that didn’t come in the stretch and tinted variety, music fans who’d gathered outside wondered aloud who we were.

Rappers? Nah? Polka musicians? Conceivabl­y.

But we couldn’t let them wonder a minute longer. ‘We have John Legend’s clothes,’ Sellers yelled.

And, we’re proud to say, John Legend’s clothes arrived safely.

If he didn’t thank us in one of his acceptance speeches, we understand. But without us, he could have delivered one of them in his underwear.”

Legend won three Grammy Awards that night, Best New Artist, Male R&B Vocal Performanc­e for “Ordinary People,” and R&B Album for “Get Lifted.”

The 61st Annual Grammy Awards take place today and will be broadcast live on CBS.

The live staging of “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” starring Legend, has been nominated in the Best Musical Theater Album category.

Last year, his co-production duties for the televised musical earned him an Emmy Award — making him the first African-American man to win the coveted EGOT, the combinatio­n of the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards.

 ?? MARSHALL GORBY / STAFF ?? Springfiel­d native John Legend gets a trim for the Grammy Awards from brother Ronald II as an “Access Hollywood” crew gets ready to tape in his Los Angeles hotel room in 2006.
MARSHALL GORBY / STAFF Springfiel­d native John Legend gets a trim for the Grammy Awards from brother Ronald II as an “Access Hollywood” crew gets ready to tape in his Los Angeles hotel room in 2006.

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