Stevie Wonder sings in a typical style I‘d like to know the english term. I wonder as I wander through Stevie Wonders style. What is this style called? Just syncopated? And when came this style up? (Year and names?)
By crikey this is broad. You've basically asked "What's the difference between 'white' music & 'black' music?"
Because you could write entire books on the subject & still not arrive at any real definition, especially in this day & age when everybody's borrowed from everybody else to such a degree as it's almost impossible to disentangle any more, let me say just this…
"White music works in the 8ths. Black music works in the 16ths."
So, yes, it's 'syncopated' but it's syncopated by anticipating the beat by 16ths, not by 8ths.
Compare it to, for example, Elton John, from the same period…
"Daniel is traveling tonight on a plane…"
All in the 8ths.
It's syncopated, but really there is so much to this topic. One of the earliest practitioner (that we have recorded) of this was, and the most famous, was Louis Armstrong on his many early recordings. It's really one of the main reasons that he was so revolutionary (and he was - in contrast to his later rather cabaret image, he had a reputation in the 30's comparable to Hendrix in the 60's). Check this out, to hear him taking incredible liberties with time.
Anyway there isn't really a generic term, other than "syncopated", but that doesn't really get to what is going on. The fact that it is rhythmically almost impossible to notate doesn't really help. It's a combination of things - phrasing slightly late of the beat, or early of it, or sometimes a combination of both, or even at times almost going into what sounds a bit like a whole other tempo.
On "Sunshine" it sounds to me like Stevie is mostly holding back, slightly late on the beat. But if you listen carefully there is more to the story. At the start of the tune, it's fairly subtle - very slightly behind, and soft phrasing. Then in the bridge (cleverly with bringing the vocal a bit forward in the mix, and hitting those off beat notes with a bit more attack - are they ahead now?) it gets a bit more accentuated, and then stays like that. But if you really listen - it seems to me that some notes/words are a bit longer than they should be ("you must have known that I waaaaas lonely ..." at 1:47 for example) so actually he is playing with it - getting ahead/behind the beat, and then landing on it again. The more I listen the more I hear this going on.
It's time bending - made more possible by the fairly open and steady bossa-ish groove of the song, which allows him to play freely with phrasing, and accentuate the expressive nature of this lovely song. Just like Louis did with Stardust back in the early 30's (also with a rather strict tempo rhythmic backing). That's partly why jazz and its derivatives turned the world of music upside down.
Isn't this called back phrasing?
A stylistic technique where the singer is either ahead or behind the beat, on purpose. Jazz singers typically use this technique, as do some pop singers.
I think already Brahms wrote this in the piano accompaniment of this song:
and Dvorak did it in section C of the 2nd movement of his Symphony nr. 4 (min 16:57)
or Bach in Prelude Dm WTC:
either ahead or behind the beat!