photo credit: Harper Smith


Over the course of four albums, live performances around the globe, and collaborations with notable and beloved artists, Rita Wilson has proven to be a powerful musical force.

With her ambitious new album Rita Wilson Now & Forever: Duets, Rita solidifies her place in today’s musical landscape. Co-produced by Rita and GRAMMY Award-winning producer Matt Rollings, Rita WIlson Now & Forever: Duets sees Wilson return to exploring her gift as an interpretive singer, as she revisits the songs that made her fall in love with music.  A collection of classic, timeless songs from the Seventies, arranged as duets featuring Rita’s crystalline vocals alongside some of the greatest male singers of our time. 

The selections are a set of true modern standards, including masterpieces like “Without You,” “Where is the Love,” “Let It Be Me” and “If.” Her partners on the project—including giants Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Josh Groban, Tim McGraw, Smokey Robinson, Elvis Costello, Keith Urban, Leslie Odom Jr, Vince Gill and Jimmie Allen, —illustrate the high regard in which Wilson is held by her peers.

“This album is really a continuation of sharing who I am musically, and what it is that I want to say,” says Wilson. “Songwriting and performing has made me feel more connected to who I am creatively than I’ve ever felt.”

For Wilson and her all-star colleagues, this collection is a tribute to the songs that made them discover music, and the melodies and stories that defined a generation. “I wanted to honor where I came from with songs from the Seventies,” she says. “It was really about showing enormous appreciation for the songwriting of that period—how these songs are still relevant even though they’re fifty years old.” For Wilson’s fans, meanwhile, Rita Wilson Now & Forever: Duets may serve as an introduction to some of the finest songs ever written, a master class in the narrative power and meticulous craft that allow these compositions to sound so fresh decades after they were written.

It’s an idea that Wilson had been considering for several years but trying to get enough collaborators to commit during their regular touring and recording lives always proved difficult. When the pandemic shut down the world, she reached out to producer Matt Rollings, thinking that musicians who were stuck at home would be longing to make music. “And that’s exactly what happened,” she says. “It all fell together incredibly smoothly.”

Starting with long lists of potential songs, they began feeling out possibilities and narrowing down assignments. The first person to jump on board was no less than Willie Nelson, for a version of Paul Simon’s “Slip Slidin’ Away.” Others followed, including Smokey Robinson, with an impassioned rendition of Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway’s “Where is the Love,” a blistering vocal from Elvis Costello on Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire” (popularized by the Pointer Sisters), and a majestic performance on “Massachusetts” by Leslie Odom, Jr.  

Additional inspired interpretations include the stirring Van Morrison track “Crazy Love” with Keith Urban, the moving ballad “If” with Tim McGraw (originally performed by Bread), Fleetwood Mac’s classic “Songbird” with Josh Groban and the Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There” with Jimmie Allen. 

As music has come front and center in Rita’s life, she recalls a conversation with an icon that shaped her sense of possibility. “Years ago, I was talking to Bruce Springsteen, and I said to him, ‘You’ve been writing music all your life, so what makes me think that I can start writing now?’ And he said, ‘Because, Reets, creativity is time independent.’ That was a license for me to just keep going, that there are no limits—we limit ourselves by our own ways of thinking and by our fears and our failures.  It’s never too late to pursue your passion and explore whatever creative outlet you might be drawn to.  For me it was always music.” 

“I still think about what Bruce said,” she continues, “because who defines when you’re supposed to be a creative person? Do you only have a window in your 20s and 30s and then it stops? There is no time frame here – there are no rules – so I guess, I have just turned off all the clocks.”