Stevie Wonder will release "A Time 2 Love" on April 2005, his first new studio album since 1995. Details are scant about the Motown project, but Wonder is expected to be in the public eye more than he has in years around the release date.
In the weeks ahead, the artist is expected to perform on an episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" devoted solely to him. He is also scheduled to appear on ABC's "Good Morning America."
"A Time 2 Love" is the follow-up to "Conversation Peace," which debuted at No. 16 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 366,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The single "For Your Love" reached No. 11 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
The set will be a single-disc affair, although Wonder says, "in these nine years I've done more than just the songs that will be on the album. And it's going good. In these nine years I've found the songs that feel most comfortable for me."
Among the tracks earmarked for the set are "If the Creek Don't Rise" ("something I wrote a while back that I recently revisited," Wonder says) and "If Your Love Cannot Be Moved," the latter of which features live instrumentation by Wonder and several guest spots.
"I have myself playing, some symphony musicians from [Los Angeles] and Doug E. Fresh doing a little beat-box thing," he reveals. "I also have a female talking-drum player from Nigeria. And we're going to have the West Los Angeles choir sing. I'm going to record the choir at the church."
After "Time" is released, Wonder says he has "three immediate goals": a "jazz album with harmonica," a gospel album and a musical.
As previously reported, the artist will receive the Century Award, Billboard's highest honor for creative achievement, Wednesday (Dec. 8) at the Billboard Music Awards. Several artists, including Diana Ross and Mary J. Blige, will be on hand to salute Wonder during the event, which will air live on Fox.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y
Billboard Interview, extract
"As an artist, you get anxious and excited -- you want to show what you can do," Wonder tells Billboard in an exclusive interview for the Dec. 11 issue, on newsstands today (Dec. 3).
"But for me, I had to make a real decision not to rush. I wasn't feeling that the timing is right. A lot of what I do when I do an album is based on whether the timing is right."