It's hard to think of a soul artist more legendary than Stevie Wonder - and he's continuing his incredible journey with a pair of new singles - his first solo releases in more than a decade, and the first away from his longtime musical home of Motown Records.
The 70-year-old Wonder announced on Oct. 13 the formation of his own boutique label, So What the Fuss Music, to be released through Universal Music Group's Republic label. The imprint takes its name from the 2005 single from his most recent studio album, A Time to Love, which featured guest appearances by En Vogue and Prince.
For the urgent "Can't Put It in the Hands of Fate," featuring guest rap verses from Rapsody, Cordae, Chika and Busta Rhymes, Wonder continues his career-long streak of urgent political commentary, condemning those who would criticize the Black Lives Matter movement and the new wave of anti-racist protests that galvanized the planet in the summer of 2020. "You say that you believe in all lives matter," Wonder pointedly sings. "I say, I don't believe the f--- you do."
The other track, a yearning tune called "Where is Our Love Song," featuring a guest appearance by Grammy winner Gary Clark Jr., has even deeper roots. Wonder explained in a press conference that he wrote the melody when he was only 18, and was inspired to complete it by “all the confusion and all the hate and all the east versus west, left versus right. It’s just a heartbreak.”
Taken together, these songs continue the story that began nearly 60 years ago when Wonder made his debut a "12-year-old genius" on the Motown label, earning his first chart-topper in 1963 with "Fingertips - Part 2." Wonder spent the '60s, '70s, '80s and beyond pushing the boundaries of pop and R&B, winning 22 Grammy Awards (including back-to-back-to-back Album of the Year wins for Innvervisions, Fulfillingness' First Finale and Songs in the Key of Life), earning induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and receiving the Kennedy Center Honors, the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.