A Time To Love - Press Release
Wonder takes 'Time'
Wednesday October 11
Stevie Wonder isn't trembling over seismic shifts that have rocked
the music landscape since his last studio album surfaced in 1995. What's
a little shake-up when you have rock-solid music on your side?
A positive buzz is heralding A Time to Love, a meticulously crafted
R&B collection that has been under construction for the past decade.
Incorporating pop, jazz, R&B, funk and hip-hop, the album blends
Wonder's soulful voice and crisp arrangements with input from
prestigious guests, including Paul McCartney, Prince, India Arie, Kim
Burell and Kirk Franklin. But is Time multifaceted enough to reach the
multiple niches feeding the airwaves?
"You've got too many formats — adult contemporary, adult
alternative, soft rock, neo-soul — come on!" Wonder says with a laugh.
"I'm hoping I will fit in all the marketplaces and not be limited to one
place in music."
After repeated postponements, Time is due in stores on Tuesday after
a late-September release to online sites to qualify for Grammy
eligibility. Pundits are debating whether Time can recapture the glory
of the Wonder years when the prolific prodigy produced 1972's Talking
Book, 1973's Innervisions and 1976's Songs in the Key of Life, which
formed a sonic holy grail for generations of R&B and rap artists.
(Related story: Still reaching higher ground)
His hit count and productivity have waned over the years but not his
enthusiasm or attention to detail. After rolling past earlier due dates,
Wonder again yanked Time for further tooling just before the June
release, derailing press and marketing campaigns.
"I didn't want to settle for anything less than what I wanted," says
the notorious perfectionist. "I didn't feel comfortable with some of the
mixes, and I wanted to work a bit on some vocals. You could always say,
'I want a couple more songs or this or that musician.' You could go on
and on. I'm pretty happy with everything now."
Making records in his youth, when no other responsibilities
intruded, was much easier than carving out long days in the studio at
"It's more challenging now than it was doing Songs in the Key of
Life when I was about to be the father of one child," he says. "Now I
have seven. Even when I'm in the studio, there are phone calls and
things that get in the way. Being older changes everything."
Except his passion. After being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall
of Fame in 1989, receiving a Grammy lifetime achievement award in 1996
and joining the elite Kennedy Center honorees in 1999, Wonder is a
warhorse with nothing left to win. And he's champing at the bit. "I
still get excited," he says. "And it never becomes routine."