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Stevie Wonder on Keys of Life

"If God didn‘t want me to sing it, he wouldn‘t have given me the talent to do it“ - Stevie Wonder in 2005

AIRED: March 06, 2017 | 0:05:21

(tape rewind)

- [Stevie] You follow me?

- [Barney] Yeah.

- When I come to England,

we got to get together and go to a pub.

Have some drinks, definitely. - [Barney] Go to a pub.


Going to a pub with Stevie Wonder.

- [Stevie] Yeah.

- (laughs) Sounds good to me. - Hey mate, you Stevie Wonder?


If you're Stevie Wonder,

tell me how many fingers I got up.

If you're Stevie Wonder you can't tell me

how many fingers I got up.


See I knew you weren't Stevie Wonder.

You weren't supposed to tell me that.

(Barney laughs)

♪ Whoa little girl

♪ How happy I would be

I remember hearing an album by Sam Cooke.

♪ If some miracle would win your love for me

♪ Win your love for me

(finger snaps rhythmically)

I think melodies are like

angels from heaven expressing a place

for the heart to follow.

♪ Pretty little angel

♪ Pretty little angel

I think also, I think the voice

has a lot to do with your spirit.

If your spirit feels right,

then the voice will stay pretty consistently the same

from that point of maturity.

(sings melismatically)

Ya'll gotta be quiet or don't talk that loud.

- [Barney] This sort of fun you have,

is it the same way that you behave

when you like little Stevie,

when you were like 12 years old?

- [Stevie] Yes.

- [Barney] Yes.

- [Stevie] Oh yeah, I mean, I'm gonna always feel that way.

- [Barney] Were you like that on the bus

during the kind of Motown revues?

- [Stevie] I'm probably worse now.

You know, in America, for African Americans

we say for our hair, if your hair is real coarse,

so you call it nappy, nappy hair.

So I remember once I woke up

I was asleep on the bus

and The Temptations were there.

I don't know, I was half asleep,

I said, oh my hair hurts me! (laughs)

He says, "What?"

I think it was Paul Williams said,

"You're hair is so nappy,

"it hurts your head, it hurts you.

"Your hair is hurting you."

So, they used to call me Nappy Wonder.

(Barney laughs)

♪ Looking back on when I

♪ Was a little nappy headed boy

- [Barney] Looking back on when

you were a little nappy headed boy,

what were the things that

got you through the hardships of your childhood?

- [Stevie] I think that I really

didn't understand the severity of the situation

or the circumstances.

It think I was so in love with my mother,

and my brothers, my sister, my friends.

Just in love with the discovery of life itself

that my focus was not on those things.

I think I discovered a whole thing of color

when I went down south

once when my grandmother passed away.

There were some kids, some white kids,

that lived nearby or whatever.

They kids said, "Hey, nigger!"

Whatever they said.

- [Barney] You heard that word before?

- [Stevie] I think I may have hear it, but I said,

"What, I'm from Detroit?"

(drums play)

I started throwing rocks over.

"Oh, you better not do that, you'll get in trouble,"

I said, "I don't care."

I hit the kid and I kept throwing stuff.

I just, I have never accepted stupidity

and ignorance as making me then determine

how good I was or how less I was.

(funky music plays)

Since I can best remember,

I've had a great relationship with God.

For me, God was like a father.

It was always someone I could touch

and that he had me in his arms.

I always felt that way.

I always felt that God was about good,

but for instance, when I was in church,

I was in a Pentecostal church as a little boy

and back then it was a little different than now.

They said, "You're singing that worldly music."

They were criticizing what I was doing.

Listen, we live in a society

where black music one time was called race music.

Where jazz was considered something nasty, you know?

I don't know, I felt that if God didn't want me to sing it,

he wouldn't have given me the talent to do it.

(funky music plays)

- [Barney] What is your final deadline for this record?

Are you days away from finishing?

- [Stevie] We are hopefully days away, yes.

Hopefully days away, but creativity overrules punctuality.

It's like, if you have an article you have to do,

you'll try your best to do it.

When it's not happening, you turn it in,

you're not happy with the article that you've written.

- [Barney] That's right.

- [Stevie] Then you spend the rest of your life

kicking yourself in the ass.

As they say in England, kicking yourself in your arse.

- [Barney] Behind.

- [Stevie] Oh, so they say behind?

(Barney laughs) Okay, I'm sorry.

(funky music plays)


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