Stevie Wonder has been through a lot in his long life. Besides a long musical career and countless hits, the singer has recently undergone a kidney transplant. Now, after reporting a noticeable improvement of health, he breaks 15 years of artistic silence by releasing two new tracks.
Just as notable is the fact that the music was released on his own label under Republic Records making it the first Stevie Wonder release not to come out on Motown Records since 1962.
Wonder talked about the new music from his Southern California home via Zoom. He explained that the track “Where is Our Love Song” is one he began working on in 1968 when he was just 18 years old. He recently unearthed it and added new lyrics. The song is a bluesy, laid back ballad with a slightly jazzy feel. Gary Clark is featured on guitar. Proceeds from the song’s sale will benefit Feeding America.
The second track “Can’t Put it in the Hands of Fate” has a modern feel and a rap vibe. The distinct conga beat gives the track a tribal feel. Busta Rhymes and Rapsody come in for rap guest spots. Wonder’s bluesy vocals give the song its charm. The singer’s five children also appear on the track guesting on backing vocals.
Wonder explains how this song, which has been several months in the making, came to be, “When I first wrote it, it was about a relationship. And then I was thinking about where we are in the world and I was thinking … this craziness is unacceptable. We’re not going for it anymore. Change is right now. We can’t put it in hands of fate….. We can’t put voting in the hands of fate.”
The songs will be coming out on So What the Fuss Records, Wonder’s label, and will be distributed by Universal’s Republic Records. It is likely that the two tracks will be a part of an upcoming star studded EP which Wonder is still working on.
Wonder is also considering including them on an LP he has been working on for some time called, “Through the Eyes of Wonder”. He is also talking about eventually going back to Motown to release a gospel album he is working on called “Gospel Inspired by Lula” named after his mother.
During his interview, Wonder also spoke about the state of the world. “A group of people planned to kidnap and possibly murder the governor of a state,” he said, referring to the recent plot against Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer. “How did we get here? So-called Christians, how do you do that?… It’s emotional for me.”
“I want the world to get better,” he added. “I want us to get beyond this place. I want us all to go to the funeral of hate. That’s what I want.”
Wonder also addressed his health issues saying he was “blessed with a new kidney.” He confirms that he feels great. He closed the interview by playing an few bars of “Superstition” on the keyboard that was by his side.
It’s great to see Wonder still making music after all these years. Check out the new tracks to lift your spirits during these uncertain times.