- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Stevie Wonder held a virtual press conference on Tuesday during which he said, “I’m going to do something today I’ve never done before.” He then made three major announcements.
First, the 70-year-old legend revealed he has left Motown after spending his entire career on the label. He’s now signed to his own imprint, What the Fuss Records, under Republic Records, which keeps him within the Universal Music Group family.
Additionally, Wonder revealed he’s releasing two new songs today. All of the proceeds from the first single will benefit Feeding America.
Last summer, Wonder revealed during London’s BST Festival that he would be taking a break from performing to undergo a kidney transplant, which allegedly happened this September. “I’m all good, I’m all good, all good,” Wonder assured at the time. “I have a donor and it’s all good.”
“I feel great. My voice feels great,” he said.“I feel like I’m about 40 right now and I just thank everyone for the prayers and the love.”
He’s been on hiatus since.
Berry Gordy, now 90, first signed Wonder to a recording contract with Motown’s Tamla label in 1961 — Wonder was just 11 years old. Since then, Wonder has earned 74 Grammy nominations (he’s won 25) and collected 28 Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hits. He’s also become an active voice in political issues, from his 1980 campaign to make Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a holiday in the United States, to his current calls-to-action amidst ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.
In September, Wonder uploaded a seven-minute video on his YouTube page called “The Universe Is Watching Us — Stevie Wonder In His Feelings,” which has accumulated more than 200,000 views. He posted it in response to the news that a Kentucky police officer had been indicted on charges related to — though not directly connected to — the murder of Breonna Taylor during a March raid at her home. The video was similar to one that Wonder shared in June, during the initial rise of protests following the killing of George Floyd.
Last year Motown celebrated its 60th anniversary with a succession of events, activities and special releases that filled 2019. And last month, Motown announced its expansion with the launch of Motown Records U.K. Current label president Ethiopia Habtemariam — who joined the label in 2011 as senior vp and became label head three years later, replacing Sylvia Rhone —‚ has largely helped rejuvenate Motown over the past several years, partly thanks to a joint venture with Quality Control (Migos, Lil Yachty, Lil Baby and City Girls).
However, Wonder hasn’t released a new studio album since Rhone took over in 2005; his 23rd studio album, A Time to Love, arrived that October and hit No. 5 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. (“So What the Fuss” was an album single by Wonder featuring En Vogue and Prince.) But now, these two new singles and fresh start may mean there’s more to come.
A version of this story first appeared on Billboard.com.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day