Wonder Saluting Late Mother On Next Album
The death of his mother 16 months ago has inspired Stevie Wonder to get cracking on a new album, "The Gospel Inspired by Lula," that he hopes to have out as soon as January.The death of his mother 16 months ago has inspired Stevie Wonder to get cracking on a new album, "The Gospel Inspired by Lula," that he hopes to have out as soon as January.
"I've been working on it in my mind and in my hotel room," the Motown icon told Billboard.com during a press conference following his homecoming concert last night (Sept. 12) in suburban Detroit. "I have my little set-up; with technology being what it is today, I'm able to work on putting it together ... and then I'll get real musicians to play certain parts, or I'll play them live.
"We'll just do it like that, very similarly to what I did with (2005's Grammy-winning) 'A Time 2 Love,' where I put it all down and I knew exactly what I wanted to do and I played a lot of the stuff live."
Wonder said he'd like to release the album by Jan. 11, which would mark Lula Mae Hardaway's 77th birthday. "I'm inspired, yes, by it," he said of the deadline, which would make the release of a second album in just over two years something of a land speed record for the notoriously perfectionist Wonder in recent years. But he cautioned, "if it's not good enough I might not put it out. You know how we roll."
Wonder said he does "have a lot of material already" for the set, including covers of some of his mother's favorite songs as well as songs that she taught him, along with originals. "It's not the traditional gospel -- at least not all of it is like that," Wonder said. "It's gonna have a wide spectrum, I can tell you that much. I might do a song in Arabic. I might do one in Hebrew. I might do one in Zulu. I might do one that sort of has an East Indian feel to it. It will be songs of celebration, really."
During the press conference, Wonder also said he's considering a fall version of his A Wonder's Summer Night tour -- his first road trek in more than a decade -- which has three shows left plus an appearance at the Dream Concert for the Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial fund in New York.
He's also thinking about taking the show to Australia and has ideas for some even larger stage productions that would incorporate orchestras and dance companies.