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'Tonight Show' Bandleader Rickey Minor Launches Festival With Stevie Wonder

Global Soul Festival to pay tribute to Marvin Gaye with Grace Potter, Sharon Jones and more

July 19, 2011 2:00 PM ET
Stevie Wonder Global Soul Festival
Stevie Wonder
Jemal Countess/WireImage

This Sunday, the inaugural Global Soul Festival will take place at Los Angeles's Hollywood Bowl, with Wonder, Potter, Sharon Jones, Janelle Monae, Charles Bradley and many more performing their own songs, as well as a tribute to Marvin Gaye's seminal What's Going On album on its 40th anniversary.

The concert was the brainchild of Tonight Show bandleader Rickey Minor. After watching a meeting between Gwen Stefani and the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), Minor had an idea for a soul music celebration that would benefit music education. "[So] I called Stevie Wonder after seeing the kids and said, 'Listen, I’m thinking about getting a music festival, would you do it with me?,'" Minor tells Rolling Stone.  "He said yes and from then on everything else just kind of fell into place."

Minor says the response to the idea has been phenomenal — in fact, almost too strong. "What happened with this show is there are far too many artists that want to be on this show that didn’t get a chance to be on it," Minor says. "So we have a lot of artists who are interested, a few that may come up anyway that just want to do something."

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Who might some of those guests be? "A lot of artists will be in the house; there’s talk of Jennifer Hudson, Jaime Foxx, Anthony Hamilton – who knows may end up on stage."

But there's always next year. Minor wants to make this an annual festival, always tied into music education. In the meantime, Minor, Potter, Jones, Bradley and YOLA will preview the show by doing the title cut to What's Going On on the Tonight Show Thursday night.

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