As you may already know, since the project has been making all sorts of headlines, Beyonce recently dropped a country album, Cowboy Carter.  That’s pretty amazing because first of all, going back to the late-1990s, she has rather established herself as a R&B singer.  Secondly, the project has been met with incredible chart and streaming success, such as debuting atop the Billboard 200 and UK Albums Chart.  My homey Seriez Premiere, whose critiques I respect, even recommended Cowboy Carter to me a week ago.  But more recently he stated that after giving it a few spins, it kinda lost its luster.

That said, the purpose of this post is not to harp on that album.  Rather, it’s to point out that Stevie played his signature instrument, the harmonica, on one of its tracks, Jolene.  Seriez told me that Stevie’s contribution is negligible, to the point where he had to strain to try to hear it.  So I decided to give the song a spin myself:

I’ll admit that it’s pretty difficult to hear an instrument that sounds like a harmonica, especially the outstanding way that Stevie tends to play it.  Another observation I have, after listening to the track, is that Cowboy Carter isn’t straight country, as Jolene has a strong hip-hop flavor to it.


The recent interaction between Knowles and Wonder didn’t end there.  On 1 April 2024, just a couple days after Cowboy Carter was dropped, this year’s edition of the iHeartRadio Music Awards was held in Los Angeles.  Beyonce was nominated for quite a few conventional awards but didn’t win any.  However, she did take home the prestigious iHeartRadio Innovator trophy and was presented that accolade by none other than Stevie himself.

It was there that the Queen B revealed to the world that Wonder did in fact play on Jolene.  I figure she was at least partially compelled to do so because otherwise, there’s no way a listener would come to that conclusion on their own.

More notable though is how Wonder gushed over Knowles at the event.  He went as far as to make statements such as:

Whenever anyone asks me if there’s anyone I could listen to for the rest of my life, it’s always you.

Beyoncé is once again changing music and culture, climbing in the saddle as a bona fide country music sensation with her latest masterpiece ‘Cowboy Carter,’ which may end up being the most talked about album this century.

When she’s not changing music she’s changing the world, fighting the good fight.

I would think that she would rather be compelled to say those kinds of things about Stevie.  But you know, it was her moment, not his.  And it appears that Beyonce did pay a number of tributes to Wonder in the past.

At the iHeartMusic Music Awards, she did recognize Wonder as “making a way for all of us”.  I presume that statement not only alludes to him being one of the earliest Black musicians to experience music industry success but also his dedication to civil rights.  It’s pretty amazing when you think about how long Stevie has been in the game.  For instance when he first appeared on the Billboard Hot 100, with 1963’s Fingertips – Part 2, the list had only been around for five years.


Here’s another interesting fact.  Stevie Wonder and Beyonce dropped a collaborative track almost 20 years ago, back in 2005.  They recorded a cover of So Amazing for the Luther Vandross tribute album of the same name.  That cover went on to win a Grammy Award in 2006, in the category Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.  To date, Beyonce has won 32 Grammys, and Stevie has 25.  Knowles is one of only eight musicians to have earned more Grammys than Wonder has.  But few people know that they actually share one in common.


I’ve been studying the music industry for years.  I’ve come across a few instances where a contemporary artist would credit a classic musician as a songwriter, but no matter how much research I did, I could not discover how the latter contributed to the song.  So I wouldn’t be surprised if Stevie didn’t play on Jolene at all, but rather Beyonce gave him that credit as a show of love.


Nika Shakhnazarova.  Beyoncé reveals Stevie Wonder played harmonica on ‘Jolene’ cover as she wins at iHeartRadio Music AwardsNew York Post.  2 April 2024.

Caché McClay.  Beyoncé thanks Stevie Wonder, reveals he plays harmonica on ‘Jolene’ at iHeartRadio Music AwardsYahoo! Finance.  Last updated on 3 April 2024.

Melissa Minton.  Beyoncé goes full ‘Cowboy Carter’ in Versace leather at iHeartRadio Music Awards 2024Page Six.  1 April 2024.

Beyoncé.  JOLENE (Official Lyric Video)YouTube.  29 March 2024.

Cowboy CarterWikipedia.  Last edited on 13 April 2024.

Stevie Wonder discographyWikipedia.  Last edited on 2 April 2024.

So Amazing (song)Wikipedia.  Last edited on 15 April 2023.

Last revised on 6 June 2024.

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