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San Diego Native to Take the SXSW Stage with John Legend

Timothy Wilkins was handpicked by the award-winning artist on social media


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San Diego's Timothy Wilkins was handpicked to be mentored by John Legend

One day, singer-songwriter Timothy Wilkins was merely following John Legend on Instagram, looking at his filtered life and double tapping his successes. The next, he got an opportunity to be mentored by the Grammy- and Oscar-winning musician.

Tomorrow the 26-year-old San Diego native will join Legend for a performance at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music, Film, and Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, as part of The Axe Collective, a yearlong music and film mentorship program, which includes tomorrow’s AXE Collective + Crew Powered by SPIN performance, bringing five musicians' stories to life through music collaborations.

In a mid-January Instagram video, Legend challenged followers across the country to show off their musical talents and filmmaking skills, using the hashtag #FindYourMagic.

“I follow John on Instagram, so when I saw the video he posted, I immediately entered the competition,” Wilkins says. “I’ve always felt like I had good songwriting chops, so it was a no-brainer for me.” The San Diego native ultimately won Legend over with his track “Electric (When We Make Love).”

“I think a lot of growing up is trying to live out the values we naturally embody when we are in love. This song was my attempt to capture and continually reaffirm that experience,” Wilkins says.

There will be additional live performances by Rae Sremmurd, Aluna George, Gallant, and Alex Newell, along with the four other AXE Collective musicians mentored by Legend.

“Being mentored by John is surreal,” says Wilkins. “He only recently actually became a real person to me. Before, he was just kind of this unreal larger-than-life figure that I grew up idolizing. But now having spoken with him, related to him, had awkward silences, and shared a couple laughs with him, I can see that he is just an incredibly talented human, and I feel immensely grateful to get a chance to learn from him.”

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