Indy: With your 2004 debut, Get Lifted, and your new CD, Once Again, you've brought melody back to R&B in a big way. Have you had any influence in making R&B acts think about melody in a different way?
Legend: I doubt it because I don't hear it much on the radio. I think R&B is still very kind of beholden to hip-hop right now, so I think a lot of artists are trying to sound as much like rappers as they can. So melody is kind of disappearing, still.
Indy: You're known for having the throwback, '60s R&B-and-soul sound. How fair is it to put a retro label on you?
Legend: I obviously reference classic material a lot when I'm working, and the songs definitely have elements of all of that stuff in there. But when I look at it, I'm trying to reference things that I think are timeless, which is a little bit different than just trying to bring old stuff in.
Indy: In a recent Newsweek magazine article, you described yourself as a nerdy guy. That was surprising for a guy who's known for writing romantic music.
Legend: I've always been kind of when I was a kid, I skipped a couple of grades, graduated high school when I was 16. I was, like, a spelling bee champ. And I still read a lot. I don't really get that caught up in the ... Hollywood scene. I'm more likely to be reading The Economist or The New Yorker than I am to be reading Entertainment Weekly or Us Weekly. So what I was talking about was kind of showing that different side of me.
Legend's new CD, Once Again, was released Oct. 24.