It's a big deal for America's biggest-selling magazine — People has revealed the recipient of its annual honour, Sexiest Man Alive.

It's not George Clooney, Brad Pitt or Justin Timberlake but singer John Legend.

The 40-year-old, announced People — a publishing behemoth with a readership of almost 47 million adults — is "making history again" with the title.

That's because he's already what the mag dubs an Egot — someone who's won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards.

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"I was excited, but I was a little scared at the same time because it's a lot of pressure," was Legend's reaction, telling People: "Everyone's going to be picking me apart to see if I'm sexy enough to hold this title. I'm [also] following Idris Elba, which is not fair and is not nice to me!"

Legend, real name John Stephen, is the 34th recipient of the title. The first was Mel Gibson, then 29, in 1985.

Describing Legend as having a "buttery voice and unparalleled musical skills", People said his seamstress mum was his first and biggest fan.

"Whenever we had opportunities to sing in church or in school, my mom would suggest that I do it," he said. "She always encouraged me."

Legend's parents taught him to be humble and kind, People reported.

"I'm so proud that I have a wife and two kids I'm so in love with and so connected to. I'm also so proud of my career," he says. "I love writing songs and performing on stage. I get a lot of joy from it and give a lot of joy to other people. I'm pretty at ease with myself now!"

Legend, a coach on reality TV singing talent quest The Voice won his first Grammy in 2006. People described him as "unabashedly in love with his wife Chrissy Teigen and a doting father to their kids, 3½-year-old daughter Luna and 18-month-old son Miles".