Chris Stapleton Joins Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson For Show-Stopping GRAMMYs Performance

Their performance was one of the most buzzed-about moments of the night.

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Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

February 5, 2023

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Chris Stapleton and Stevie Wonder; Photo by Francis Specker/CBS ©2023 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

Stevie Wonder, Chris Stapleton and Smokey Robinson teamed up for a show-stopping performance during the 2023 GRAMMY Awards. 

On Sunday (Feb. 5), during “Music’s Biggest Night,” Wonder performed a collection of Motown hits with Robinson, including The Temptations’ “The Way You Do the Things You Do” and Smokey Robinson and The Miracles’ “The Tears Of A Clown.”

Chris Stapleton then joined Wonder onstage for “Higher Ground” from Wonder’s classic 1973 album, Innervisions.

Chris Stapleton; Francis Specker/CBS ©2023 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
Chris Stapleton; Francis Specker/CBS ©2023 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

“Chris, do it!” Wonder shouted before Stapleton took to the mic.  

The pair of superstars then traded verses before blending their vocals together during the tune’s chorus. Wonder and Stapleton concluded their performance as they rocked out on guitar and keyboards, respectively. 

The performance was well-received by viewers and many took to social media to applaud the three music icons. 

Now THAT was a #Grammys performance!  Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder, with an assist from Chris Stapleton. Amazing,” wrote one Twitter user, while another shared, “Stevie Wonder with Smokey Robinson and Chris Stapleton was out of this world.”

The collaborative performance was in honor of MusiCares Persons Of The Year: Robinson and Motown founder Berry Gordy.

Ahead of the 65th Annual GRAMMY Awards, Stapleton recalled the moment he got the call to perform. 

“I was just like, ‘man, okay, let’s do it because what are you going to say to that? Can’t say no to that!,” he shared. 

Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Chris Stapleton perform at THE 65TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS, broadcasting live Sunday, February 5, 2023 (8:00-11:30 PM, LIVE ET/5:00-8:30 PM, LIVE PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*. — Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2023 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

He went on to praise Wonder and express his gratitude for the opportunity to work alongside him. 

To get to be up there and feel Stevie kicking that one off, that’s something else. What do I remember about Stevie?…Stevie Wonder is one of those people that’s almost, it’s not like a person. It’s like this entity to me like that. It’s almost feels like you’re meeting… I don’t know what the comparison even is. It’s another worldly kind of person that exists and has so much influence over what music is, and it has been, and you can feel threads of him through everything. I can’t tell you how many times people would say, let’s do something like Stevie Wonder would do, and none of us can do it, but we would try to do it.” 

He added, “And if I think about it too much, I’m going to be real nervous, so I’m not going to maybe think about it too much. But yeah, it’s an incredible experience for me.”

Atmosphere at THE 65TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS; Stewart Cook/CBS ©2023 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Atmosphere at THE 65TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS; Stewart Cook/CBS ©2023 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The 65th Annual GRAMMY Awards featured performances from Bad Bunny, Mary J. Blige, Brandi Carlile, Luke Combs, Steve Lacy, Lizzo, Kim Petras, Sam Smith, Harry Styles, Chris Stapleton, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and more. 

“Music’s Biggest Night” also included an all-star 50th Anniversary celebration of hip hop, which included performances by Big Boi, Busta Rhymes with Spliff Star, De La Soul, DJ Drama, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Missy Elliott, Future, GloRilla, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Mele Mel & Scorpio/Ethiopian King, Ice-T, Lil Baby, Lil Wayne, The Lox, Method Man, Nelly, Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, Rahiem, Rakim, RUN-DMC, Salt-N-Pepa and Spinderella, Scarface, Swizz Beatz, and Too $hort. LL COOL J will be on hand to introduce the segment and give a dedication to hip hop.

Several tributes also took place during the In Memoriam segment at the all-genre ceremony. Kacey Musgraves took to the stage to honor the late Loretta Lynn with a cover of Lynn’s signature hit “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” while Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood and Bonnie Raitt paid homage to late Fleetwood Mac member, Christine McVie, with a performance of McVie’s “Songbird.”

Kacey Musgraves, Loretta Lynn Tribute; hoto: Francis Specker/CBS ©2023 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
Kacey Musgraves, Loretta Lynn Tribute; hoto: Francis Specker/CBS ©2023 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

Maverick City Music and Quavo also remembered the late Migos rapper, Takeoff, with a special tribute performance of “Without You,” a song that Quavo wrote after his passing.

First Lady Jill Biden, Cardi B, James Corden, Billy Crystal, Viola Davis, Dwayne Johnson, Olivia Rodrigo, and Shania Twain, and more were on hand to present during the ceremony.

Beyoncé led the pack with nine nominations, including the prestigious Album Of The Year (Renaissance). Following behind Beyoncé are Kendrick Lamar with eight nods, Adele and Brandi Carlile with seven nominations as well as Mary J. Blige, DJ Khaled, Harry Styles, Future, The Dream and Randy Merrill have six. For a full list of 2023 GRAMMY nominees click HERE.

Prior to the GRAMMY Awards, several winners were revealed during the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony at the Microsoft Theater in the City Of Angels. For a full list of winners, visit live.GRAMMY.com.

Co-hosted by GRAMMY-nominated comedian Trevor Noah, the 2023 GRAMMYs broadcasted live from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 5 at 8/7c on CBS. The coveted awards ceremony also streamed live and on-demand via Paramount+.

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.