Questlove, D-Nice and more to celebrate Stevie Wonder’s 70th birthday with Instagram Live marathon
For lovers of American music, Wednesday will be a day to cherish. On that day in 1950, Stevland Hardaway Morris was born in Saginaw, Mich. Six weeks premature, the baby was afflicted with retrolental fibroplasia, which rendered him blind.
A mere 13 years later, the boy renamed Little Stevie Wonder had his first No. 1 hit. The former child prodigy will celebrate his 70th birthday on May 13, and a host of DJs led by Roots drummer Questlove will team to honor Wonder on Instagram Live with 24 hours of non-stop Wonder music.
For the record:
9:13 a.m. May 13, 2020The original version of this post indicated that Stevie Wonder’s 70th birthday is on Thursday. It is on Wednesday, May 13. Also, Questlove’s Instagram post said that the streaming event would occur on Stevie Wonder’s Instagram account. That was incorrect. “Questlove misspoke when he suggested that Stevie Wonder himself now has a social media presence,” wrote a representative for the event.
California is slowly reopening, providing hope that you might soon see your favorite artist in concert. But from an arena stage? A computer screen? A drive-in?
Called #24HoursOfStevie, the celebration will feature tastemaking mixers Questlove, Gilles Peterson, DJ Tara, D-Nice, Natasha Diggs and DJ Spinna each doing four-hour sets. The event will occur on Instagram Live.
The 24-hour marathon is the latest in a string of quarantine-driven musical events and deep dives. D-Nice, who relocated from New York to Los Angeles about a year ago, has been a breakout star of event-driven social-media parties.
“I haven’t spent this much time at home since moving to L.A.,” he told The Times last month of his sets. “I was just sitting here in quarantine, missing my family and friends. Obviously, the virus is stressful for everyone, so I was feeling that. I didn’t really know what to do with myself.” So he started playing music.
In addition to serving as the music director for the “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” the typically busy Questlove has been spending his time playing records on Instagram Live. Drawing on his vast collection and deep knowledge, Questlove has been spinning sets that focus on individual artists. Most recently, he’s devoted three sets to James Brown’s music. Hash-tagged #QuestosWreckaStow, the shows are archived on YouTube.
How deep is Wonder’s catalog? Starting with “The Jazz Soul of Stevie Wonder,” released a month prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the artist has released 23 studio albums including “Up-Tight,” “I Was Made to Love Her,” “For Once in My Life,” “Signed, Sealed & Delivered,” “Talking Book,” “Innervisions,” “Songs in the Key of Life” and “Hotter Than July.” (And that only takes us to 1980.)
Questlove is slated to run the first leg of the journey starting at 9 p.m. (Pacific). The below times are all Pacific:
Questlove: 9 p.m.-1 a.m.
Gilles Peterson: 1 a.m.-5 a.m.
DJ Tara: 5 a.m.-9 a.m.
Natasha Diggs: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
D-Nice: 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
DJ Spinna: 5 p.m.-?
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