Horn Section

What was it like to work with Stevie Wonder?

” (Laughs) I never can get used to him being my friend. He calls me and says, ‘This is Stevie.’ I always say ‘Stevie Wonder?’, and he’ll just say, ‘Stevie.’ Remember when I said, ‘please welcome Stevie Wonder’ on that song (“Never Give You Up”)? He wasn’t on the record when I said that, I called him afterwards and told him, “I need you on this record real bad.”  We’ve done a couple of things together; we did the Luther Vandross tribute, where he sang and I produced that, so we have a history. We’re also both Tauruses, and our birthdays are one day apart, so we call each other ‘Taurean Brothers.’ My old friends back home in Oakland probably fell on the floor when they heard it, because they know how we all used to just sit there and go ‘wow, Stevie Wonder….’ He did the same thing when he invited Dizzy Gillespie to be on his song (“Do I Do”), and just then, it was my turn. It’s pretty incredible: people asked me what it was like to win a Grammy, and I say ‘Man, I won when I got Stevie Wonder to play on my album.’ It’s just a blessing.”

A blessing indeed. Stevie’s harmonica break shifts Never Give You Up from the sublime to the…ridiculously sublime. The rest of Raphael Saadiq’s new album is also pretty damn good too.


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October 2008
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