John Legend Covers Nina Simone At Sundance: Watch

Christina Lee | January 25, 2015 8:06 am
John Legend And Common's "Glory" Video: Watch
See their powerful new video for the Golden Globe-winning 'Selma' song.

John Legend helped kick off this year’s Sundance Film Festival by performing three songs made famous by legendary vocalist and civil rights activist Nina Simone.

Right after the credits for opening night selection What Happened, Miss Simone?, Legend appeared from behind the theater screen, seated at a grand piano. He played some of Simone’s best-known covers from the ’60s, from “Lilac Wine” to “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” (which he also recorded for his joint album with the RootsWake Up!) and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”

“I’m so grateful to be here today honoring the legacy of the wonderful, powerful, dynamic, super-talented Nina Simone,” Legend said, adding, “I find myself studying her versions of all kinds of songs, thinking about her words, thinking about her boldness, thinking about her commitment to justice. I’m truly humbled to be here tonight to honor her legacy.”

The “All of Me” singer just won a Golden Globe for his and Common‘s Selma theme “Glory” — an awards show moment made epic because of Prince presenting the award, Common’s rousing acceptance speech and Legend’s wife Chrissy Teigen‘s awkward crying. “Glory” is also up for an Oscar.

Watch John Legend perform “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” as made famous by Nina Simone, up top.

Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.