By Nicole Sperling
Updated January 25, 2010 at 03:58 PM EST

John Legend fans who were thrilled to hear the musician sing “Motherless Child” at the Hope for Haiti telethon can thank George Clooney and YouTube. According to Legend, who flew directly to Sundance after the telethon to help promote the Davis Guggenheim documentary Waiting for Superman, it was Clooney who called Legend’s manager to ask him to participate. Not only did the actor enlist the Grammy-winning artist, but he also had picked the song out for Legend to sing. “I had done it years ago and they found it on YouTube,” says Legend of the spiritual song that dates back to the slavery era. “I was pretty impressed they found it because I never would have thought to pick that song. It’s not on any of my major releases, it was from a live solo acoustic album I did in 2003 before I had a record deal. I was really happy they asked me to do it. It just had that feeling you wanted to have for the moment. It came off beautifully.”

Owen Gleiberman’s Sundance 2010 Critic’s Notebook: