Stevie Wonder is reworking some of his biggest hits with help from a symphony orchestra. Almost 10 years after his last studio album, the 64-year-old singer is preparing to release two new records, including one featuring tenor Andrea Bocelli.
Bocelli will appear on Wonder’s reimagining of Isn’t She Lovely, singing a completely new vocal melody, which “goes to a whole other place”, Wonder told Billboard. This is just one example of Wonder’s proposed reinventions: he and producer David Foster are recording an entire album’s-worth of re-dos, titled When the World Began. “[David] had this idea ... where we’d take some of the songs I’ve done and give them a whole other interpretation by using a symphony orchestra,” Wonder explained. “About eight songs” are finished so far.
Besides the symphonic project, Wonder is also “maybe 75%” through his next album of original material. Under the working title of Through the Eyes of Wonder, the artist wants to revisit some of the “incredibly great things” and “incredibly horrible things that have happened” since 2005’s A Time To Love. “I’ve been able to witness all that,” he said, “[and this record] is kind of from the perspective as I see it.”
Judging from these comments, Wonder has jettisoned earlier plans for the gospel album Ten Billion Hearts. Speaking in 2013, he said he wanted to pay tribute to his late mother with a collection of religious songs: “traditional gospel stuff, but I’m [also] thinking about doing a gospel song in Arabic,” he told the Associated Press. “I’m going to twist it all up in different ways, because ... the word of gospel really is love and it really is about people following the word, whether they read the Qur’an, the Torah or the Bible, whatever they read.”
Nine of Wonder’s preceding albums have reached the UK’s top 10, and he has released 19 top 10 singles. He is currently touring the US in as part of his celebration of 1976’s Songs in the Key of Life.
On Wednesday, Wonder revealed that he and fiancée Tomeeka Robyn Bracy are expecting a daughter in December. It will be his eighth child.
This article was written by Sean Michaels, for theguardian.com on Friday 7th November 2014 07.45 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010