Beyoncé Reveals Stevie Wonder Played Harmonica On Her Cover Of ‘Jolene’

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 01: (FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) (L-R) Beyoncé accepts the Innovator Award from Stevie Wonder onstage during the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California on April 01, 2024. Broadcasted live on FOX. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartRadio)

Beyoncé’s latest album, Cowboy Carter, dropped with a splash, and the surprises keep coming. The production and songwriter credits were revealed recently, but Beyoncé had more to share about the musicians who contributed to the record. At the iHeartRadio Music Awards, where she received the Innovator Award, Beyoncé disclosed a special collaboration.

She announced that Stevie Wonder played harmonica on her cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” a reimagining of the 1973 classic. Wonder, who presented the award to Beyoncé, was lauded by the singer for inspiring her. Beyoncé expressed her admiration, saying, “Thank you so much Stevie, I love you. I love you and I honor you. I want to thank you for making a way for all of us.”

During her acceptance speech, Beyoncé reflected on the essence of innovation. She emphasized the importance of dreaming big and persevering through challenges.

“Innovation starts with a dream. But then you have to execute that dream, and that road can be very bumpy,” she said. The singer also highlighted the resilience required in the face of criticism, stating, “Being an innovator often means being criticized, which often will test your mental strength.”

Beyoncé’s Artistic Transformations

The revamped version of “Jolene” on Cowboy Carter features rewritten lyrics and an altered song structure. Parton’s original was a plea to a woman not to take her man, while Beyoncé’s rendition serves as a warning to a suitor eyeing her husband. Despite mixed reviews, the track showcases Beyoncé’s artistic innovation.

Acknowledging the pioneers who blazed trails before her, she thanked artists like Rosetta Tharpe, Tracy Chapman, and Prince, among others, for defying labels. She also thanked her husband, Jay-Z, and their children for their support.

Act II: Cowboy Carter includes collaborations with Miley Cyrus, Post Malone, Willie Nelson, Shaboozey, and others. The album, which arrived less than two months after the surprise release of its first singles, showcases Beyoncé’s musical versatility and dedication to innovation.