The Voice: Tom Jones surprised by Stevie Wonder message

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The 71-year-old is highly regarded as one of the world’s greatest musicians, and has been stunning audiences across the globe since landing his first number one hit at the age of just 13. Since then, he has racked up millions in album and singles sales, while earning critical acclaim, including a remarkable 22 Grammy Awards. Such is Mr Wonder’s legacy, he has been enlisted to help front this weekend’s Global Citizen Live: Music Festival for the Planet, which aims to “try and mobilise the world”.

It’s hoped the event, which is set to take place at locations across the world like Lagos, in Nigeria, South Korea’s capital Seoul and in New York’s Central Park, will help tackle poverty as well as raise awareness of the importance of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Among the other stars performing are Jennifer Lopez, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Duran Duran and The Weeknd.

Other special guests, such as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, will also appear, to make speeches, urging viewers to get on to social media to spread their message.

Mr Wonder will no doubt be among the standout stars, but the Superstition hitmaker once admitted he was no longer able to live in the US, particularly as tension over who would be the next US President raged.

Speaking on Apple TV+ show The Oprah Conversation in November last year, Mr Wonder argued he didn’t want the next generations of his family to have to ask to be respected by fellow citizens.

His comments to the show’s host Oprah Winfrey came within days of the US election polls closing, when it was still unclear whether then-President Donald Trump or his rival Joe Biden would be the next leader.

Mr Wonder wanted the US to “do the right thing” by ensuring Mr Trump didn’t get in, and told Americans that if they do “I will give you a song”.

He candidly said: “I want to see this nation smile again.

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“And I want to see it before I leave to travel to move to Ghana because I’m going to do that.”

Ms Winfrey then asked if that move was a permanent one, to which Mr Wonder said it would be.

He explained his decision, noting: “‘I don’t want to see my children’s children’s children have to say, ‘Oh please like me, please respect me, please know that I am important, please value me.’ What is that?”

The legendary piano player, who was born six week premature which resulted in a condition that caused him to become blind, noted at that point the US had become “more dangerous than ever before”.

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He added that the nation had “allowed love to go out and negativity to come in”.

Mr Wonder has spoken previously about his desire to move to Ghana, including in 1994, when being interviewed by the International Association of African American Music.

He claimed that there was “more of a sense of community” in the African country when compared to the US.

Today, highlights of Mr Wonder’s performance in Los Angeles will be screened on BBC One, from 4.30pm.

In the build-up to the event, organisers hailed the concerts as a way to spread the global campaign called a Recovery Plan for the World.

It reportedly focuses itself on five objectives, “ending COVID-19 for all, ending the hunger crisis, resuming learning for all, protecting the planet, and advancing equity for all”.

Organiser and philanthropist Hugh Evans said he hoped the concerts could show a moment of unity, tackling three major issues.

He said: “Firstly, with the global COVID-19 pandemic, secondly, with the fact that wildfires are raging all around the world as a result of climate change, and thirdly, with so many people out of work due to COVID-19.

“There are now 41 million people on the Horn of Africa who are facing the devastating effects of starvation.”

Global Citizen Live: Music Festival for the Planet airs today at 4.30pm on BBC One.

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