The Library of Congress just called to say it loves Stevie Wonder.
The Washington, D.C., instutition has tapped the 26-time Grammy winner to receive the second-ever Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, which was established to honor the career achievements of singers, songwriters and composers whose work has helped champion popular music as an art form while serving as a cultural touchstone that unites disparate groups around the world.
Wonder, fresh from a main-stage performance at the Democratic National Convention in Denver last week, is due to receive the award Feb. 23, 2009 at a ceremony held in the Library's Great Hall. A concert is in the works for the following night.
As part of the prize, the 58-year-old artist, whose 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life was added to the National Recording Registry in 2005, will also receive a musical commission from the Library of Congress, a gig offered in the past to composers such as Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein.
"It’s an immense privilege to join such a remarkable roster of musicians and composers," Wonder said in a statement. "I am touched to receive this honor, and look forward to creating music for the celebration."
Paul Simon was awarded the inaugural Gershwin Prize in 2007 and served on this year's advisory committee.