June 20, 2008 / 8:35 PM / 11 years ago

Stevie Wonder embarks on "magical" summer tour

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Grammy-winning pop star Stevie Wonder is on the road again, embarking on what he called a concert tour in the “magical” summer and spreading a message of unity among all religions and races.

Stevie Wonder performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana May 2, 2008. REUTERS/Lee Celano

The Motown icon, whose hits include “Superstition” and “My Cherie Amour,” played the first date of his 14-city North American tour Wednesday in Long Island, New York, and on a conference call with reporters on Friday, he said it was “nice” to be playing again.

“Performing in the summer is always fun, there’s something magical about the summer,” he said.

The brief tour ends July 12 in Canada, and comes on the heels of his successful road show in 2007 that was his first series of concerts in more than a decade. Other stops on the current tour include Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles.

As he goes back on the road, the 58-year-old Wonder said his message is unity.

“I think that we have to really come together for the common ground and be about the perpetuation of life,” Wonder said. “No matter what religion or color or ethnicity that we are, we have to be about the perpetuation of life.”

He also plans to tour Australia in spring 2009, and after that Europe in late summer into early fall.

Wonder has won 25 Grammy Awards and sold more than 100 million records. An inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Wonder released his first album at age 12.

He has been politically active over the years, advocating in 1983 for Martin Luther King Day to become a national U.S. holiday, and in recent months supporting Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Wonder, who has been blind since infancy, said the 2006 death of his mother, Lula Mae Hardaway, was a painful loss, and he is working on an album called “Gospel Inspired by Lula.” The album will stray from traditional gospel music with a song in Arabic or Hebrew and could be completed in 2009, he said.

He said enjoys being at home with family and added that his adult daughter, singer Aisha Morris, will perform on the current tour. He said that all of his children have shown an interest in music of one form or another.

Wonder’s 2005 album “A Time to Love” was his first in 10 years, and it debuted at No. 5 on the U.S. pop charts.


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