"T.I. did a remix for me for 'Green Light,' with Swizz Beatz on the production," Legend told MTV News. "That was fresh. That'll be coming up soon. I switched up my lyrics a little bit to ride the beat in a different way. The beat is slower, a little more R&B-ish. Swizz slowed up the beat a little bit. T.I. did a different verse from Andre 3000's, obviously. It's kind of a different record, but it still has an element of the original."More importantly, Legend says his now-famous line "Do I have a girlfriend? Technically, no" isn't going anywhere.
"I still kept that one," he said of the playfully playalistic lyric. " 'Technically, no' — that's gonna get me in some trouble. But I kept it."
As for appearing on Paper Trail, Legend said it was smooth sailing. "It was easy," the Grammy winner said. "[T.I.] just laid out the format of the song, what he asked me to do for it. I knocked it out in an hour or something. The chorus was already written, then I wrote a little bridge at the end. That was it."
For the original "Green Light," Legend was able to get Andre 3000 for a verse and an even rarer music-video appearance.
"Well, Andre, he really loved the song 'Green Light,' " Legend said. "He wanted to be a part of it and was proud of his contribution, so he was down to do the video. I was honored. I know he doesn't do a lot of collaborations these days. I know he doesn't do a lot of guest appearances. He chose to do it with my song. I'm grateful, and he helped make the video what it was. He's a creative talent, great performer. We got on the phone and did a conference call before the video. He had a lot of ideas for the video. We had a good time. The people we hired — as far as the extras and dancers — they had a good time."
"Green Light" is the lead cut from Legend's third album, Evolver. The singer said that despite the song being recognized as an undeniable hit now, his circle was worried about it being the album's first single.
"Some people in my camp were kinda afraid," he explained. " 'Man, you've been known as the midtempo-ballad guy. People have seen you on the piano all this time. I don't know if you can come with this uptempo joint with Andre on it. It's gonna throw people off.' I felt like the record spoke for itself. It could get played on all the stations, people would love it in the clubs, and I wanted to make a statement that this album would sound a bit different."
Evolver comes out October 28, with guest spots from Kanye West, Brandy and Estelle. On November 19 in Minneapolis, Legend starts the first leg of what should prove to be a very soulful tour with Raphael Saadiq. That leg ends December 13, with a second jaunt ramping up January 12 and wrapping up February 9.
John Legend tour dates, according to Sony Music:
» 11/19 - Minneapolis, MN @ Northrop Auditorium
» 11/20 - Chicago, IL @ Chicago Theatre
» 11/24 - East Lansing, MI @ Wharton Center for Performing Arts
» 11/26 - Detroit, MI @ Masonic Temple Theatre
» 11/28 - Toronto, ON @ Roy Thomson Hall
» 11/29 - Montclair, NJ @ Wellmont Theatre
» 12/1 - Montclair, NJ @ Wellmont Theatre
» 12/2 - Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre
» 12/5 - Upper Darby, PA @ Tower Theatre
» 12/8 - Baltimore, MD @ Lyric Opera House
» 12/9 - Washington, DC @ DAR Constitution Hall
» 12/10 - Greenville, SC @ Peace Center Concert Hall
» 12/12 - Charlotte, NC @ Ovens Auditorium
» 12/13 - Durham, NC @ Durham Performing Arts Center