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John Legend reveals why his kids are 'happiest in quarantine'

"So much of (quarantine) has been about keeping the kids entertained," Legend told Sunday TODAY's Willie Geist in a virtual Sunday Sitdown.
A Legendary Christmas with John & Chrissy - Season 2018
John Legend has been spending plenty of time with Miles, 2, and Luna, 4, during the coronavirus pandemic. NBC
/ Source: TODAY

For musician John Legend, the coronavirus pandemic has meant spending much more time with wife Chrissy Teigen, daughter Luna, 4, and son Miles, 2.

During a virtual Sunday Sitdown with Sunday TODAY's Willie Geist, Legend, 41, said that both he and Teigen, 34, have spent most of their time trying to keep the kids entertained during the long months of lockdown. There has been plenty of family music time, and the kids have made brief appearances during his live-streamed performances, shared on Instagram.

Now, even interviews need to be cleared by Legend's little ones — he had to pause the movie he and Luna were watching to chat with Willie.

"So much of it has been about keeping the kids entertained," Legend told Willie. "Chrissy's so good at it. And I think for (the kids), they're happiest during quarantine, because they get to see us all the time ... They're not used to that, and I'm afraid they're getting too used to seeing us all the time."

The family has celebrated regular milestones, like birthdays and family holidays, in quarantine, often documenting the sweet moments on social media. Up next, of course, is Father's Day.

"Any idea what the kids and Chrissy might have up their sleeves for you?" Willie asked.

"I have no idea," Legend replied. "But I've worked harder for this Father's Day than any other because I have an album coming out."

Airbnb Concerts - John Legend Summer of LVE
Legend told Geist that a major part of quarantine has been keeping his children entertained. Jerod Harris / Getty Images

The album, "Bigger Love," was released on Friday, June 19. Legend said he used to joke that the album was "the sexiest album" he'd ever made, a reference to when People magazine dubbed him "Sexiest Man Alive" in 2019. But the project has taken on new meaning amid current events.

"There's so much more to it," Legend said. "You know, there's a lot of love, there's a lot of joy, a lot of hope. Some nostalgia. Songs about getting through tough times together. And it's a little bit of everything."

"It's definitely got a nice section of good baby-making music," he laughed.

While the album has been in the works since long before the coronavirus pandemic gripped the country, Legend said that some of the songs "actually feel right in this moment."

"As people are trying to emerge from what's been a really rough spring, I think (the music) will be pretty uplifting," he said.

"Music isn't going to save the world," he continued. "We're not going to cure the virus. We're not going to fix all the world's problems, but we can give people a bit of an escape. We can lift them. We can inspire them. We can give them some hope. We can make them feel a connection to their loved ones and make that feel even stronger. And so that's what music can do. It does have some kind of magic to it that transcends a lot of differences that we may have otherwise."

John Legend
John Legend said he hopes that his newest album provides some "love," "joy," and "hope" to listeners. Nigel Waldron / Redferns

Legend also addressed the country's ongoing grappling with racism following the death of George Floyd — and how he worries for his family.

“Well, we do see our family members when that happens,” Legend said, referencing the video that showed a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly 9 minutes. "My younger brother has a son, who's 19 or 20 years old, and I could see him in moments like that having a misunderstanding with officers.

"I worry for him. I worry ... particularly once they hit a certain age and their body is deemed as threatening to other people (that) they could experience that same thing," Legend said.

He went on to explain how his album fits into the country's current discussions about race.

"I think we've seen so many images of Black people in mourning and in outrage," Legend said. "I feel like this album is kind of an antidote to that ... It's about celebrating joy and celebrating love and celebrating resilience. And though this album wasn't written in response to what happened just now, I think we could all use a lift right now and some love right now and some joy."

For years, Legend has been an active been an advocate for prison reform and education, and has financially supported those causes while trying to amplify the voices of experts, organizers and activists.

"This conversation around the difficult relationships Black people have had with the police has been going on for the longest time," he said. "You know, this nation was founded on slavery, and then so many aspects of the way Black people have been treated in America are kind of descendants from slavery."

He continued: "What's inspiring about it is you've seen a real multiracial coalition coming together in the streets of America, and it's making people as k some serious questions about the way our society is structured. And we need to think big and boldly about the kind of change that we wanna see."