Even as he hits the road in support of his A Wonder’s Summer Night 2008 tour, Stevie Wonder is in the midst of two and possibly three recording projects.
Wonder — whose last album, “A Time 2 Love,” came out in 2005 and won two Grammy Awards — told reporters on a teleconference that he’s continuing work on “The Gospel Inspired by Lula,” which he started following the death of his mother, Lula Mae Hardaway, in May 2006.
“Some of it is going to be traditional gospel but some of it is going to be … I’m trying to do some (different) stuff,” Wonder explained. “I might do something in Arabic. I might do something in Hebrew. My whole thing of the title is just saying ‘Spreading the good word, the message.
“I’ve written a few things on the road and … I’ve had songs throughout the years that I never recorded and so a combination of those songs and some traditional things will make up for the project. And I’m excited about it.”
Wonder initially hoped to have “The Gospel…” out on Jan. 11 to commemorate what would have been his mother’s 77th birthday. But he previously told Billboard.com that “if it’s not good enough, I might not put it out. You know how we roll.”
Wonder described the other project, “Through the Eyes of Wonder,” as a performance piece that will reflect his experience as a blind man. “What I want to do with our live performances is to create visuals that [give] my take on how I see the world and how most various things affected me,” he explained.
During the call Wonder also reiterated his support for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and said he would be involved in some special media pieces commemorating Motown’s 50th anniversary this year.
As for a rumored duets album with Tony Bennett — possibly a set of Marvin Gaye covers produced by Quincy Jones — Wonder did not confirm the project but said that, “I’m the last one to hear about it and the first one to agree. Definitely Tony and I talked about doing some stuff together. And Quincy and I have always wanted to work together on a project.
“So if this is something that Quincy is doing and Tony and everyone has decided to kind of go in that direction … obviously I’m a great fan of Tony Bennett and I’ve been since a little kid, you know, so I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Besides North America, Wonder plans to perform in Europe this summer and Australia later in the year.