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John Legend to write new album and produce TV shows at the same time

Published 07/06/2016

John Legend
John Legend

John Legend relies on his English degree when choosing projects to pursue for his production outfit, Get Lifted Film Company.

Grammy-winning musician John Legend won't be quitting his day job while producing film and television projects.

The Glory singer launched his Get Lifted Film Company in 2011, and the business is doing exceptionally well, but don't expect the star to forfeit making music as his production career takes off.

"I’m not giving up my day job," he tells Variety. "I’m finishing an album now, I’ll tour on it and do all the things I’ve always done. But I have a great (production) team, and all of us have a mandate to try to tell great stories and make the world a more interesting place by getting those stories out there. So while I’m on the road, I’ll be reading scripts."

Some of the screenplays he'll be reading on the road in the near future are for episodes of Get Lifted's current television project Underground. The historical drama centres around America's Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses and secret routes created to help African-Americans escape bondage before slavery was banned at the conclusion of the United States Civil War in 1865.

WGN America network bosses have just ordered a second season of Underground, and John reveals his degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania came in handy when the idea for the show was first pitched to him.

"I was an English major in college who concentrated in African-American literature and culture," he explains, "So I read quite a few slave narratives and stories of escape, and I grew up in Ohio, which was a common stop on the Underground Railroad.

"These stories are very resonant, and I thought it made perfect television, because first of all, it’s a subject that hasn’t really been covered in this type of format - or really on TV or film in any significant way. And if you just look at the core of what the show is about, it’s about courage; it’s essentially a prison break, a dangerous journey across hundreds of miles where around any corner there’s death awaiting, or capture. And I felt like it would make for really engaging television."

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