Obamas praise Stevie Wonder at White House concert

Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:43pm EST
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By Jasmin Melvin

WASHINGTON (Reuters Life!) - President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle honored Stevie Wonder with an award and a White House concert on Wednesday, crediting the Motown legend's music for helping to bring them together.

The multi-Grammy winning soul singer was presented the Library of Congress' second annual Gershwin Prize for Popular Song at the White House event in recognition of his music's effect on culture and its ability to unite people.

He was named the prize's recipient in September, 2008.

"We honor a man whose music and lyrics I fell in love with when I was a litte girl," Michelle Obama said. "The first album I ever bought was Stevie Wonder's 'Talking Book.'"

"Years later when I discovered what Stevie meant when he sang about love, Barack and I chose the song 'You and I' as our wedding song," she added.

The president also noted Wonder's influence on his own life, praising his music's universal appeal.

"I think it's fair to say that had I not been a Stevie Wonder fan, Michelle might not have dated me," Obama said.

"And I'm not alone," he added. "Millions of people around the world have found similar comfort and joy in Stevie's music and its unique capacity to find hope in struggle and humanity in our common hardships."   Continued...

<p>President Barack Obama awards musician Stevie Wonder the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize at the White House in Washington February 25, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young</p>