John Legend takes his restaurant recommendations seriously. So seriously, that when he can’t remember the name of where he ate—and, as it turns out, really enjoyed his meal—last night, he pulls out his phone to figure it out before we can move on. “Hold on, one second,” he says, scrolling through his calendar app. “I want to remember because it was amazing and if only for the reason that it was delicious. Oh, Crow’s Nest! It was so good!”
Legend was soaking up all that Montauk had to offer for his weekend out East—a rare occasion for the California-dweller. “We are based in LA so it’s quite a long trip for a weekend,” he said. “But I’m really enjoying it. I had some fun last night. Not too much fun. Whenever I have to sing the next day, I put some necessary restraint on my partying the night before.” Just a few hours later, the singer would hit the stage for an intimate concert at perennial hotspot The Surf Lodge. The occasion was posed to be the hottest event of the weekend—if not, entire summer—even prompting a Page Six article hours before the concert warning those without reservations to not even bother trying to get in. By 6 p.m., the bar deck was packed with people like Cuba Gooding Jr., Christie Brinkley, and Don Lemon, among others, as a pack of very strategic kayakers docked their boats right up at the deck’s edge.
For his part, Legend was just as excited to be there as his waiting crowd. “I’ve been here once before, but I’ve never performed here before,” he said. “I do a lot of intimate events, and some of them are private gigs for someone’s birthday or anniversary. I like the conversational vibe of it. I don’t mind requests. But you can’t be too obvious. Like, don’t ask for ‘All Of Me,’ because of course I am going to play ‘All Of Me’ at your anniversary.”
Legend did indeed play ‘All Of Me’ for the crowd as the last song in his hour-long set, and even though there was no known anniversaries at play, there still was plenty of cause to celebrate—namely Legend’s LVE wines and their brand new sparkling rosé, which plenty of the crowd was swigging while taking in the show. “I had wanted to start a wine brand for a really long time,” Legend explained beforehand. “I felt like it went really well with what I like to drink and what I think people like to drink while I listen to my music. It felt like the right kind of thing.”
Legend launched the brand back in 2015, first releasing a rosé, the unofficial drink of summer, last year. “The rosé is from Provence, while the previous ones were all from Napa Valley,” he said. ” It’s been going so well. We did 500 cases last year and they sold out really quickly. This year we did 8,000 cases and next year we’re going to go even bigger.” He also happens to be a personal fan of the wine himself. “I am and Chrissy is too. It started when we started going to the South of France more. We realized that we really enjoyed it and it started making its way back to LA with us. Eventually, we found ourselves drinking more of that than other vintages, so we decided to go with it. A lot of my decisions with LVE are based on, ‘Will Chrissy like it?’ And I knew she’d like the rose if we hit it out of the park, and she’s in.”
Testing things on wife Chrissy Teigen is not just limited to wine, the singer noted.”I try everything on her. Songs, ideas, wines,” he said. So what is she hardest on? “Songs. We work on the wine until we think it’s really good, and by the time we get it to her, she’s like, ‘This is really good.’ But I write a lot of songs, so I need her to tell me which ones are her favorites.”
If you know anything about Teigen, you know she loves to cook, making for an easy wine pairing situation at the Legend household, but Legend would like to note that she’s not the only cook in the house. “And my meals!” he said of mixing the wine with meals at home. “I’ll pair it with my soul food. We entertain so much. It’s a big part us, entertaining. We’ll have people over during the day and barbecue and serve some rosé.”
And even some 3,000 miles from home today, he’d still be doing something of the sorts once he was officially off the clock. “I do not [drink onstage],” he said. “I knew from very early on that it’s better for me to stay hydrated in a real way and not drink alcohol. But after I’m done, I’ll have plenty.”