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Stevie Wonder leaves Motown, starts label with two new singles

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Wednesday, October 14, 2020

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He's just launched his own record label, Stevie Wonder says he'll always be part of Motown.

"Even though I have left Motown, I never leave Motown. That's Detroit," Wonder, 70 -- who signed to Motown as an 11-year-old prodigy and became a cultural icon during his time there -- said Tuesday, Oct. 13, during a virtual press conference to announce the release of two new singles on his So What the Fuss Music. "I'm sure that we can figure out how we can do some things at Motown."

Wonder specifically mentioned "Lula," a gospel-inspired project named after his late mother, which he first announced during 2013.

During his tenure with Motown the Saginaw-born Wonder amassed worldwide sales of more than 100 million units, scored 31 No. 1 singles and won 25 Grammy Awards as well as an Academy Award and Golden Globe. He also received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and received Gershwin Prize for Popular Music from the Library of Congress -- where his album "Songs in the Key of Life" is part of the National Recording Registry.

In the present, however, Wonder has launched So What The Fuss Music with "Can't Put It in the Hands of Fate" and "Where Is Our Love Song," both now available on digital and streaming services. With a new distribution deal with Republic Records -- like Motown, part of the Universal Music Group conglomerate -- Wonder also spoke about a compilation EP that will include the new songs, as well as a new album, "Through the Eyes of Wonder," that he's been talking about for several years. He did not specify release dates for either.

Wonder's last album, "A Time to Love," was released during 2005.

The socially conscious "Can't Put It in the Hands of Fate" features guest appearances from rappers Busta Rhymes, Rapsody, Chika and Cordae, as well as five of Wonder's nine children. "When I first wrote it, it was about a relationship," Wonder said of the track. "And then I was thinking about where we are in the world and I was thinking this craziness is unacceptable. We're not going for it anymore.

"Change is right now. We can't put it in hands of fate. We can't put voting in the hands of fate. "

"Where is Our Love Song, meanwhile, dates back to the late 60s according to Wonder, and the finished version features Grammy Award-winning guitarist Gary Clark Jr. All proceeds from the single will benefit Feeding America. "If I can do anything to use the gift of song to help to feed people, to share my love, it is my joy," Wonder said. "This year came all the confusion and all the hate...It's just a heartbreak...a lot of confusion...In these times, we are hearing the most poignant wake-up calls and cries for this nation and the world to, please, heed our need for love, peace and unity."

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