Wonder to Michael Jackson’s Ear

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If you are not aware of the sincere adoration and brotherhood that existed between Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, you have missed out on one of the most fascinating bonds in modern music history.  Jackson often spoke about Wonder, specifically how watching his fellow Motown label mate inspired him to produce and write his own music.

As a member of the Jackson 5 Michael covered Wonder’s hits, and as a solo artist he collaborated with him.  Their friendship helped to empower Jackson as he propelled into the biggest star the world has ever seen.

Radio and TV personality Donnie Simpson, who was a friend of Jackson’s, told me that what made Jackson great was his natural talent; but what made him extraordinary was that he was a natural talent who intensely practiced and studied his craft as if he had no gift.  It was this strive for perfection that led him to study the musicianship of Stevie Wonder.

Witnessing Wonder take the lead of his musical direction while at Motown showed Michael that he could do it too.  Jackson had known Wonder for some time and was introduced to him shortly after being signed to Motown.  Their  kinship would grow into a kind of exclusive fraternity of musical genius.

The impact of Jackson’s death on Wonder was clearly seen when he performed just a few months after Michael’s memorial at the 25th Anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  During a tribute to Jackson, Wonder broke down while singing The Way You Make Me Feel. He was barely able to regain his composure and continue singing the song.

It was a moment so emotional that it almost seemed as if the band should have stopped playing and given Wonder a moment to collect himself.  Surely to some in the audience it must have been a little off putting to see this man cry in the midst of a celebration.  To me, it was clear… I believe that as he sang those words, Wonder reflected on how Michael made him feel, from the moment he first entered Stevie’s recording session as a curious child until his death.  Wonder watched and helped Jackson develop from a lead singer in a teen group to the King of Pop.

These two icons found one another and understood each other in a real way.  There are some things that are rare in life, musical child proteges is one of them so it is understandable that these two legends leaned one another.  Both performed their entire lives and lived under extreme public scrutiny.  Both were labeled geniuses at an early age.  But what Michael achieved was greater than anything before him and for Wonder to know that he played a major part in inspiring this megastar must have made him feel a kind of pride and humility that only a very few of us will ever have the chance to experience.  How many of us have participated in the creation of genius?

That explains why Wonder sang I Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer at Jackson’s memorial service; these pictures tell the story. It seems the sun was always shining on these two men when they were side by side.

Their bond is the inspiration behind my first documix, Wonder to Michael Jackson’s Ear. It’s a quote taken from Jackson as he described why music should be without boundaries and labels. He said, “It’s music, it’s wonder to the ear and that’s what counts.”

When I began working on this piece several months ago I had 6 hours of music and about an hour of interviews from both Jackson and Wonder; somehow I got it down to less than an hour and 20 minutes.  This piece features Michael Jackson covering some Wonder hits and also the song Buttercup, written by Wonder for the Jackson 5; it was released after Michael’s death.  You will also hear Wonder’s heartbreaking dedication to MJ sang at his memorial service.

This documix takes you on a journey that begins with two young artists who love to sing and entertain and ends with two men who found a deep love and respect for one another.

I would like to thank one of my sister-girl’s, Lula, for requesting a Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson mix.  What had begun as a simple mixtape for a friend became a fantastic musical journey for me that I hope you too will enjoy.  May it be wonder to your ear.  Love!

Download the 192 kbps version (98.4 MB) here!

2 Responses to “Wonder to Michael Jackson’s Ear”

  1. Isabelle Says:

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  2. DJBeTray Says:

    Thank you so much for your support!

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