A collaboration with Donald Glover/Childish Gambino? Stevie Wonder hinted at that, his next album and another national tour during an intimate two-hour set at the Peppermint Club in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
Billed as “The Stevie Wonder Song Party: A Celebration of Life, Love and Music,” the soiree rocked well into the early morning with Angela Bassett, Motown founder Berry Gordy, actor/comedian Craig Robinson, T.I., Nick Cannon, actor/activist Jesse Williams and Warner Bros. artist Gallant among the revelers packed inside the small venue. Capping the evening: an impromptu rendition of the Wonder classic “Superstition” featuring Glover, Kelly Rowland, Luke James, Jessie J and Sheléa.
Watch the “Superstition” team-up below:
“I want to give you a sense as to why I wanted you all to come,” said Wonder, who turns 68 on May 13. “We’re living in a time where there’s so much is going on in the world, so much bullshit. But the one thing that we know for sure that we can celebrate is life, love and music. I’m very thankful that you all have been so wonderful to me, giving me your life and allowing me to share my music with you since I was 11 years old, which was just a little ago. So we’re just going to play and have fun.”
Then Wonder — rocking a black jacket emblazoned with flashes of bold primary colors — switched into party mode, ripping into “As If You Read My Mind” from his 1980 album Hotter Than July. Between responding to audience shout-outs (“We love you,” “Your jacket is fresh”), he energetically performed a string of hits and album gems, including “Master Blaster (Jammin’),” “Superwoman,” “Higher Ground,” “You’ve Got It Bad Girl,” “My Cherie Amour,” “I Wish,” “As,” “Golden Lady” and “Living for the City.”
Almost an hour into the show, Wonder delivered his own shout-out to Glover. Referencing the rapper’s new single “This Is America,” Wonder said to audience cheers and claps, “Donald, I saw your last video. So I have this idea for my next project that I think would be great for us to collaborate on in terms of visuals. We’ll talk.”
Noting it wasn’t a night for sermons, Wonder did add one last serious note: “At a time where the world seems so asleep, it’s great to know that people are awoke, and that’s everyone of every ethnicity. We still stand strong as human beings trying to make the best of this because [being] positive will win in the end.”
During the evening, Wonder also referenced his forthcoming album, Through the Eyes of Wonder, telling the audience that he wanted to play some of the new material. But he joked that “unfortunately, the players don’t know it.”
Chatting briefly with Billboard backstage following the “Superstition” finale, he said the new album was close to being finished. When asked how close was close, he laughed and said, “You know how close is with me. But hopefully in a couple of months or so.” Beyond that are several other projects, including an album with Take 6, recording in Africa with various singers and drummers there and the long-anticipated gospel album that he promised his mother he’d do.
While not revealing a specific start date or itinerary, Wonder spoke about his next national tour. In addition to carrying over the evening’s theme of celebrating life, love and music, the tour will incorporate visual interactive elements that he’s planning to collaborate on with Glover.
“I’m wanting people to BYOP — bring their photos to put into the show to celebrate life moments they’ve had with me via my songs,” explains Wonder. “Since I’ve had a chance to talk with Donald a little bit to get a sense of what can be done visually, I want to have a marriage of visuals and music this time. That marriage is very important for people to get the complete message. We [he and Glover] haven’t done anything yet, but we’re going to make it happen. I’ve got about 24-25 songs I want to work with.”
As for how he plans to celebrate his birthday this weekend? “I’ma get me some cake,” Wonder said with a mischievous smile.