Stevie Wonder

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Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder was born in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1950, the third of six children to Calvin Judkins and Lula Mae Hardaway. He was born six weeks premature, which, along with the oxygen-rich atmosphere in the hospital incubator, resulted in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a condition in which the growth of the eyes is aborted and causes the retinas to detach; so he became blind.[3][7] When Wonder was four, his mother left his father and moved to Detroit with her children. She changed her name back to Lula Hardaway and later changed her son's surname to Morris, partly because of relatives. Wonder has retained Morris as his legal surname. Wonder began playing instruments at an early age, including piano, harmonica and drums.

In 1961, when aged 11, Wonder sang his own composition, "Lonely Boy", to Ronnie White of the Miracles;[9][10] White then took Wonder and his mother to an audition at Motown, where CEO Berry Gordy signed Wonder to Motown's Tamla label.[1] Before signing, producer Clarence Paul gave him the name Little Stevie Wonder.[3] Because of Wonder's age, the label drew up a rolling five-year contract in which royalties would be held in trust until Wonder was 21. He and his mother would be paid a weekly stipend to cover their expenses: Wonder received $2.50 a week, and a private tutor was provided for when Wonder was on tour.[10]

Early Life

Your text hereIn September 1970, at the age of 20, Wonder married Syreeta Wright, a songwriter and former Motown secretary. Wright and Wonder worked together on the next album, Where I'm Coming From; Wonder writing the music, and Wright helping with the lyrics.[24] They wanted to "touch on the social problems of the world", and for the lyrics "to mean something".[24] The album was released at around the same time as Marvin Gaye's What's Going On. As both albums had similar ambitions and themes, they have been compared; in a contemporary review by Vince Aletti in Rolling Stone, Gaye's album was seen as successful, while Wonder's album was seen as failing due to "self-indulgent and cluttered" production, "undistinguished" and "pretentious" lyrics, and an overall lack of unity and flow.[25] Reaching his 21st birthday on May 13, 1971, he allowed his Motown contract to expire.[26]

The 1980s saw Wonder achieving his biggest hits and highest level of fame; he had increased album sales, charity participation, high-profile collaborations, political impact, and television appearances. The 1979 mainly instrumental soundtrack album Stevie Wonder's Journey Through "The Secret Life of Plants" was composed using an early music sampler, a Computer Music Melodian.[48] Wonder toured briefly in support of the album, and used a Fairlight CMI sampler on stage.[49] In this year Wonder also wrote and produced the dance hit "Let's Get Serious", performed by Jermaine Jackson and (ranked by Billboard as the No. 1 R&B single of 1980).Hotter than July (1980) became Wonder's first platinum-selling single album, and its single "Happy Birthday" was a successful vehicle for his campaign to establish Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday as a national holiday. The album also included "Master Blaster (Jammin')", "I Ain't Gonna Stand for It", and the sentimental ballad, "Lately".In 1982, Wonder released a retrospective of his 1970s work with Stevie Wonder's Original Musiquarium, which included four new songs: the ten-minute funk classic "Do I Do" (which featured Dizzy Gillespie), "That Girl" (one of the year's biggest singles to chart on the R&B side), "Front Line", a narrative about a soldier in the Vietnam War that Wonder wrote and sang in the first person, and "Ribbon in the Sky", one of his many classic compositions. He also gained a No. 1 hit that year in collaboration with Paul McCartney in their paean to racial harmony, "Ebony and Ivory".

In 2000, Wonder contributed two new songs to the soundtrack for Spike Lee's Bamboozled album ("Misrepresented People" and "Some Years Ago").[68] In June 2006, Wonder made a guest appearance on Busta Rhymes' album, The Big Bang on the track "Been through the Storm". He sings the refrain and plays the piano on the Dr. Dre and Sha Money XL-produced track. He appeared again on the last track of Snoop Dogg's album Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, "Conversations". The song is a remake of "Have a Talk with God" from Songs in the Key of Life. In 2006, Wonder staged a duet with Andrea Bocelli on the latter's album Amore, offering harmonica and additional vocals on "Canzoni Stonate". Wonder also performed at Washington, D.C.'s 2006 "A Capitol Fourth" celebration. Wonder appeared on singer Celine Dion's studio album Loved Me Back to Life performing a cover of his 1985 song "Overjoyed".[69] The album was released in October 2013.On February 23, 2009, Wonder became the second recipient of the Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for pop music, honored by president Barack Obama at the White House.[70] On March 6, 2010, Wonder was appointed a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by French Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand. Wonder had been due to be invested with this honor in 1981, but scheduling problems prevented this from happening. A lifetime achievement award was also given to Wonder on the same day, at France's biggest music awards.[71] In June 2011, the Apollo Theater inducted Wonder into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame.[72][73]

1962-1969

1970-1979

1980-1990

1991-2015

STEVIE WONDER


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