Throughout Thursday, Prince‘s countless fans, friends and peers were still trying to make sense of the icon’s untimely death, taking to media, social and otherwise, to pay homage. That evening, Stevie Wonder opened up about his friend during an interview from his home via satellite with CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360.
The clip opens with Prince reflecting on Stevie Wonder’s influence on his work in an earlier interview with Larry King. “I use Stevie Wonder as an inspiration, whom I look up to a great deal just for the way that he crafted music and his connection to the spirit,” Prince said. “And boy, back then I used him as a role model in trying to play all the instruments and be very self-contained and keep my vision clear.”
After those moving words played out, Cooper asked Wonder if the influence was mutual. “He was a great musician. He loved music. He loved playing his instrument,” Wonder responded, the emotion heard clear in his voice. “The times that we did jam together were amazing with all of the various people that he would bring together, and most of all he brought all the various cultures together.
“He could play classical music if he wanted to. He could play jazz if he wanted to, he could play country if he wanted to. He played rock, you know, he played blues. He played pop. He played everything,” Wonder said of the prolific artist, adding, “And [he was] very cognizant of what his responsibility was as a musician and a human being.”
During the heartfelt interview, Wonder, who performed with Prince at a secret show at the White House last year, also shared his initial reaction to the news. “It’s a heartbreak and I was shocked. I didn’t believe it as I find it so hard to believe,” Wonder said, echoing the thoughts of fans across the globe. “You know, in this journey of music, we as artists that create the reflection of society and reflect, really the people that really want to see a better world, a better people, a unity of people, all those things – as did his music do and will continue to do for those of us who will continue to listen to it – it’s a heartbreak to lose a member of that army of love.”
Watch the full interview from CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 here.
Prince died on April 21st, 2016. Watch his remembrance here.