The surprising way that John Legend's Grammy-winning music career got its start

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John Legend's favorite subject in high school was chemistry and he "loved math," so it might seem a little weird that he made a career from music. But the two aren't that different, he told Business Insider at a recent event for his new song "Under the Stars."

"Music and math and science are so related to each other anyway, and so it's not a leap to connect them," he said. "So much about the way music is created with vibrations and frequencies and all of those things, it has a mathematical side to it. They say the people who are good at music tend to be good at math as well."

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Music is numerical, and understanding how it's made can help you think about math, and vice versa, the musician said.

Even though science and math were his favorite subjects growing up, Legend said he started to focus on his creative tendencies as he got older.

"For some reason, I became more in touch with my creative side as a writer, just reading and understanding text more," he said. "I had some English teachers who were influential to me later on, so I got involved with that and decided to major in it."

He majored in English, with an emphasis on African-American literature, at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also began his music career by playing piano on Lauryn Hill's solo debut. Hill's single "Everything Is Everything" marked the first commercial appearance of Legend's playing, which is a pretty phenomenal way to start.

From there, John Legend's music career took off.

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