John Legend helped tribute all of the incredible first responders who are on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic during his exclusive performance for iHeartRadio's First Responder Fridays with FirstNet, Built with AT&T. But, the EGOT winner also remembered the late Bill Withers, who recently passed away, by covering one of his most iconic songs — a song that fits today's circumstances very well — "Lean On Me."
During his performance, he spoke of Withers and explained of his impact on himself and the world, "This next song I have to dedicate to my friend we just lost, Bill Withers. He was one of the great American songwriters and performers, and I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time with him, and he's going to be missed by so many people. But, he wrote a song that's perfectly appropriate for this moment, because we all need to lean on each other during this hard times."
John also performed "Love Me Now," and two new songs "Conversations in the Dark" (which debuted on hit TV series This Is Us) and "Bigger Love" — both from his forthcoming new album. He explained of the latter, "I wrote it last year, and it's a song about love, it's a song about hope, it's a song about resilience, it's a song about dancing. And, I didn't know what 2020 was going to be like when I wrote this song, but it feels like it's a good pick-me-up for right now."
Legend also thanked all of the first responders everywhere by saying, "We are so happy to be here to honor our first responders for all the hard work that they're doing to keep us safe, to help us recover from this unprecedented crisis. We appreciate you, we love you."
The singer even thanked one first responder in particular, Detroit Police Department's Officer Lydia Ayar, after she introduced him before performing one of his songs. After she said, "We have been working tremendously hard to keep hope alive, and we are so thankful for all of your support," John replied, "I appreciate you being a part of this, and I appreciate your service."
Legend ended his special performance with his hit song "All of Me."
Apart from John Legend's performance, the iHeartRadio Living Room Concert helped shine the light on some of the essential first responders who are putting their lives at risk every day to save others. One of these amazing people is a paramedic at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center named Valerie. She said:
"Life, lately, has been a lot of change. [There are] new processes every single day to keep ourselves safe, to keep our patients and our families safe. The thing that gives me hope is the generosity and the love that you see from everybody; donating stuff, and donating their time, and just being kind and being good to one another. It shows the real resiliency of the human spirit. Things that I would like everybody to remember right now is, social distancing, and just try and be understanding of one another. Everybody is going through this in their own way, and [has] their own difficulties. We're all gonna get through this together."
iHeartRadio's First Responder Fridays with FirstNet, Built with AT&T is meant to pay tribute to and recognize the amazing work of the individuals on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the series also seeks to help raise money for organizations who are supporting these heroes. This week's special is helping to raise money for The Salvation Army, helping to bring food to those who need it most, in addition to helping with people with rent, utilities and transportation costs, among many other various services.
As host, Ryan Seacrest explained of The Salvation Army, "They're the largest social services provider in the country, and they're holding nothing back in terms of their COVID-19 response. At their shelters, they're working tirelessly to keep people safe. They're offering food to those who need it, they're helping people with rent, with utilities and transportation costs. And, they're even delivering board games, art supplies, and candy to kids in their programs."
Donations to The Salvation Army can be made by texting HOPE to 52000 — a one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill. All donations must be authorized by the account holder. Message and data rates may apply. You can also make donations via the organization's official website, www.salvationarmyusa.org.