Since news broke of Prince’s death Thursday, an overwhelming number of tributes have amassed to honor the late icon. Stevie Wonder, one of the music legend’s well-documented role models, opened up about their mutual awe for one another in an interview with CNN.
While on Anderson Cooper 360, a clearly emotional Wonder paid his respects to the prolific idol. “It’s a heartbreak to lose a member of that army of love,” said Wonder, who performed with Prince at a secret White House show just last year. “It’s rare for me that I can feel, with every single breath, how he just passionately loved music.”
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At the start of the talk, CNN played a clip of a 1999 interview with Larry King, in which Prince expressed the impact Wonder had on his own career. “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.”
Wonder then returned the sentiment, citing Prince’s widely applauded mastery of many instruments and genres. “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 artist, adding, “And [he was] very cognizant of what his responsibility was as a musician and a human being.”
Watch a clip on the interview below and view the full exchange on CNN.