A Time To Love - Press Release
Stevie Wonder: It's 'time to love'
Despite a career stretching back more than 40 years, only this week
is Stevie Wonder making his first-ever promotional visit to Japan solely
in support of an album. This is a sign of how seriously he is taking A
Time to Love, his first studio recording to be released in 10 years.
As suggested by the title of the album, which came out in Japan on
Oct. 19, the theme of this latest work is the need for more love in the
world. The title song points out that while there seems to be plenty of
time for conquering nations, drilling for oil, plus hatred, violence and
terrorism, there doesn't seem to be much attention paid to love.
"People say I'm always so optimistic and happy, but I don't always
have joy--I go through pain like everyone else," Wonder said at a press
conference held Wednesday at a Tokyo hotel. While he wowed the assembled
media, interspersing his comments with riffs and fills on his keyboard,
a stream of funny voices and jokes with his daughter Aisha Morris,
Wonder also had time to deliver a serious message.
"In one sense we are all suffering, any of us that have hearts and
care, we are suffering because there are wars in the world, there is
hatred in the world and some people would say there is more than ever
before," Wonder said.
"As long as we are on this Earth we have to do the best we can.
There has to be a solution. If politicians really looked into their true
hearts they'd see other solutions apart from war and destruction.
"The God that I know, the Allah that I know would not want to kill
or poison innocent people or children or cause destruction, because I
believe that the life we have been given is for perpetuation and we must
continue to preserve it and make it better for the less fortunate," he
said, adding that scientists should put their efforts into curing
diseases and helping the disabled rather than putting their knowledge
and our resources to destructive use. But if the heavyweight content of
this musical heavyweight's comments implies A Time For Love is a dark,
brooding, preaching sermon, that couldn't be further from the truth.
Featuring a slew of collaborations with artists such as Doug E.
Fresh, Prince, Bonnie Raitt, India.Arie, Paul McCartney and Aisha,
Wonder's 28th original album is full of the uplifting, catchy melodies
that have characterized his career.
"I'm a music lover and I write for different reasons, for expressing
myself and hopefully for expressing the feelings of other people,"
Wonder said, explaining that his interests and influences cover the
whole gamut of music from hip-hop to classical. "But I always have to
like them [my songs] objectively...as a music lover outside of Stevie
Wonder and all that, if I feel I don't like [a song], then it won't come
Among the tunes on the album he spoke about were "Positivity" and
"How Will I Know," which feature Aisha, and "Shelter in the Rain," the
proceeds of which Wonder is donating to victims of Hurricane Katrina. In
"Positivity" he refers to a refrain of his friend Minnie Ripperton, who
said that she always wanted to see the glass of life as half full, not
half empty, and while the thrust of the message seems obvious, again he
says this is what we need more of. "We have to have hope," Wonder said.
"As without hope we become hopeless."
On a lighter note, Wonder says he wrote "How I Will Know" one
Tuesday morning in New York about 10 years ago after "a wonderful night
of making incredible love." He said he wondered how he could possibly
know if the other party really felt the same way about him as he did
about her. After singing the tune around the house, eventually Aisha
started singing it, too, and a better version to boot, hence the
recording, he said.
"I have no words to say how happy I was to be on the album," said
Aisha, who first gurgled on record with Stevie on "Isn't She Lovely."
"He's not just my father, he's my best friend." Wonder said he wrote
"Shelter in the Rain" at a low point in his life when his brother was
diagnosed with a terminal illness and his former wife Syreeta with
breast cancer. "I planned for Syreeta and I to sing it together, but she
decided that as she was having more bad days than good days she wanted
me to sing it," Wonder said. "Two years ago Syreeta passed away. At that
time I felt a lot of pain...even though we were not married, we were
Feeling he had been blessed with the song by God, he decided to use
it to help those affected by the hurricane. As for the album itself,
there's already premature talk of a Grammy, and Wonder made quite clear
what he felt about the prospect of bagging another.
"I'd honestly like to tell you that at this point in time, I haven't
had enough Grammies!" he joked.