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Stevie Wonder Receives Icon Award, Sings With Alicia Keys at 2012 Billboard Music Awards

Stevie Wonder
Pool, Getty Images

One talented pianist honored another when Alicia Keys presented Stevie Wonder with the Icon Award at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards. She also joined the legendary singer for a performance of his classic hits ‘Higher Ground’ and ‘Overjoyed.’

Keys introduced Wonder with a heartfelt speech in which she spoke about the influence Wonder had on her when she was learning to play the piano as a child. Keys said, “I’m here tonight to say, ‘Thank you, Stevie. Thank you for bringing our world so much wonder. Thank you for bringing us so much joy. Thank you for bringing us all so much soul.’”

After a video package showing some of the Motown legend’s career highlights, Keys joined Wonder for a performance of the funky ‘Higher Ground,’ a song the two have performed together in the past. They followed by trading verses on Wonder’s hit 1985 ballad ‘Overjoyed.’

As Wonder received the Icon Award, he requested that Keys sing an a cappella verse of ‘Empire State of Mind,’ which she did to thunderous applause.

Then he got serious during his speech, saying, “We are in a place in life where we have to commit ourselves to one thing. And that is to love. And I truly believe that love ultimately will always rule over hate, and peace over war. We have approximately seven billion people in the world. I would like for us today, and all of you, to commit yourselves to using your heart and joining with me to putting your best love forward. Not only that, committing yourselves to bring our hearts together for unity. We can change the world by being as one.”

Wonder followed by singing a track that emphasized the unity and compassion theme. Apparently called ‘Join Our Love,’ the song featured a gospel choir and a harmonica solo and closed out the Billboard Awards broadcast.

Watch Stevie Wonder + Alicia Keys Duet at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards

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