Biography

Stevie Wonder Biography, Age, Eraly Life, Education, Family, Career, Album, Grammy Awards, Honors, Personal Life, Music, Net Worth & more

Stevie Wonder Biography

American singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer Stevie Wonder was born Stevland Hardaway Morris (born Judkins; May 13, 1950). Musicians from a variety of genres, such as R&B, pop, soul, gospel, funk, and jazz, give him credit as a pioneer and influence. Wonder’s usage of synthesizers and other electronic musical instruments during the 1970s changed the rules of modern R&B, making him practically a one-man band.

Incorporating socially conscious remarks into his LPs’ intricate compositions, he also contributed to bringing such genres into the album era. Wonder, a child prodigy who had been blind since shortly after his birth, signed with Motown’s Tamla label at the age of 11 and was given the stage name Little Stevie Wonder.

Wonder, just 13 years old, became the youngest musician to ever reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with his single “Fingertips” in 1963. In the 1970s, Wonder’s critical acclaim reached its pinnacle. With the release of Music of My Mind and Talking Book in 1972, which included “Superstition,” one of the most recognizable and well-known instances of the sound of the Hohner Clavinet piano, his “classic period” officially began. He shares the record for the most Album of the Year victories with three, for his compositions Innervisions (1973), Fulfillingness’ First Finale (1974), and Songs in the Key of Life (1976).

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He is the only musician to have received the honor while releasing three albums in a row. The 1980s marked the start of Wonder’s “commercial period”; during this time, he had his biggest singles and rose to the heights of fame, had increased record sales, charitable involvement, high-profile collaborations (with artists like Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson), political effect, and television appearances. Wonder has continued to support political and musical causes.

With over 100 million records sold globally, Wonder is one of the best-selling musicians of all time. He has one Academy Award (Best Original Song, for the 1984 movie The Woman in Red) and 25 Grammy Awards, the most of any solo musician. Wonder has been honored with induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame. He is renowned for his work as a political activist, particularly for his 1980 drive to have Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday declared a federal holiday in the United States. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014 after being appointed a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2009.

Stevie Wonder Quick Facts

  • Name: Stevie Wonder
  • Birth Year: 1950
  • Birth date: May 13, 1950
  • Birth State: Michigan
  • Birth City: Saginaw
  • Birth Country: United States
  • Gender: Male
  • Best Known For: Stevie Wonder is an American musician and a former child prodigy who became one of the most creative musical figures of the 20th century with hits like “My Cherie Amour,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and “Superstition.”
  • Industries
    • Film
    • Jazz
    • Music
    • Pop
  • Astrological Sign: Taurus

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Stevie Wonder Early life

Stevland Hardaway Judkins, the second of Lula Mae Hardaway’s two children with Calvin Judkins, was born Wonder on May 13, 1950, in Saginaw, Michigan. Hardaway was the third of five children to be born to the couple.[8] He was born six weeks early, which combined with the oxygen-rich environment of the hospital incubator to induce retinopathy of prematurity, a condition in which the development of the eyes is stunted and results in the retinas detaching, rendering him blind.

When Wonder was four years old, his mother filed for divorce from his father and relocated to Detroit, Michigan, where Wonder participated in the Whitestone Baptist Church choir as a young child. Later, after rekindling her connection with the father of her first child, who also happened to have the last name of Hardaway, she changed her name back to Lula Hardaway and had two more children.

According to Lula Mae Hardaway’s authorized biography, Stevie’s surname was legally changed to Morris when he signed with Motown in 1961. This was an old family name. Berry Gordy was in charge of giving Little Stevie Wonder his stage moniker.

He started learning to play the piano, harmonica, and drums at a young age. Together with a buddy, he started the singing duo Stevie and John. They periodically performed at events like dances and parties as well as on street corners.

Wonder went to Fitzgerald Elementary School in Detroit when he was younger. Following the publication of his debut record, The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie (1962), he enrolled at Lansing, Michigan’s Michigan School for the Blind.

Stevie Wonder Motown Discovery

When Wonder was found by Ronnie White of the Motown group The Miracles, he was just 11 years old. Berry Gordy Jr., the father of Motown, invited the young artist for an audition and immediately offered him a record deal.

The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie Wonder, a first instrumental album that showcased the youngster’s exceptional musicianship, was released in 1962 by the newly renamed Little Stevie Wonder, who collaborated with Motown songwriter Clarence Paul and other artists.

In the same year, he also released Tribute to Uncle Ray, an album of Wonder’s interpretations of Ray Charles’ classic soul tunes. The album Little Stevie Wonder the 12 Year Old Genius, which was recorded live, helped Wonder gain a significant following.

The trimmed version of the set’s first single, “Fingertips, Pt. 2,” became Wonder’s first No. 1 single, topping the R&B and pop charts.

Stevie Wonder Songs and Albums

“Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”

The diligent Wonder, who would later pursue a degree in classical piano, refused to sit back and take it easy, instead pushing himself to develop his musicianship and songwriting skills.

Midway through the 1960s, he dropped the word “Little” from his stage name and went on to produce the top 5 pop single “Uptight (Everything’s Alright),” which peaked at No. 1 on the R&B charts.

‘For Once In My Life

With a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and the joyous “I Was Made to Love Her,” which later peaked at No. 2 on the pop charts, Wonder scored two more No. 1 R&B successes.

The title tune, “Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day,” and “You Met Your Match,” all of which Wonder co-wrote, were released as singles from the 1968 album For Once in My Life.

‘Signed Sealed Delivered’

My Cherie Amour was released the next year, featuring the top 5 pop/R&B title ballad and the top 5 R&B song “Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday.” Over the following two decades, Wonder would continue to produce successful singles. Wonder co-produced the 1970 album Signed, Sealed, Delivered, which featured the No. 1 R&B title tune and a top 5 R&B cover of the Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out.”

The ’70s: An Acclaimed Decade

Wonder struggled to remain relevant as a musician as he grew from a boy to a man and his voice developed into a sparkling tenor, in part due to intrinsic talent but also because of his intense devotion to his work.

Wonder and Motown came to an agreement in 1971 that granted him nearly complete control over his recordings and significantly raised his royalty percentage. Gordy made a hitherto unheard-of concession, but Wonder required it from an aesthetic standpoint.

The musician experienced an unequaled period of productivity as the 1970s came to a close. It wasn’t until Wonder’s 1971 album Where I’m Coming From, which had the catchy top 10 single “If You Really Love Me,” that he was given composition or co-writing credits for every song.

The top 20 R&B/top 40 pop single “Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You),” from the 1972 album Music of My Mind, showcased Stevie Wonder’s groundbreaking work with synthesized and electronic sounds.

“Superstition” and “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”

Two No. 1 singles were included on Stevie Wonder’s 1972 album Talking Book: the upbeat funk jam “Superstition” and the heartwarming love song “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” which demonstrated Wonder’s romanticism skills.

‘Innervisions’

Innervisions, a contemplative concept album that was at once introspective, political, critical, and witty, came next. “Higher Ground” and “Living for the City,” two socially aware No. 1 R&B songs, were featured on the album, along with the lighthearted “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” which peaked at No. 2 on the R&B chart. On the pop charts, each of the three singles performed well.

‘Fulfillingness’ First Finale’

The First Finale from Fulfillingness featured Wonder’s signature odes to romance and beauty as well as direct examinations of spirituality and mortality. It was published after Wonder had recovered from a serious vehicle accident that had put him in a coma. “You Haven’t Done Nothin’,” a song by Wonder that criticized President Richard Nixon and featured The Jackson 5 at the top of the pop and R&B charts, was written as a protest against him.

The album tracks “Creepin'” and “They Won’t Go When I Go” were ultimately performed by Luther Vandross and George Michael, respectively. The sensual “Boogie on Reggae Woman” also reached No. 1 on the pop chart.

‘Songs in the Key of Life’

Even with this impressive list of achievements, Songs in the Key of Life has been recognized by many as Wonder’s most illustrious work and one of the all-time great albums. Songs explored a wide range of topics, from ethnic diversity in the United States and wonderful utopian towns to spiteful relationships and sublime love.

Songs has two uptempo pop/R&B No. 1 singles: the Duke Ellington tribute “Sir Duke” and the “I Wish” ode to bygone days. “Another Star” and “As,” two more top 40 successes for Wonder, while the harmonica-heavy “Isn’t She Lovely,” which didn’t chart but quickly became a radio staple as it announced the joyous arrival of a daughter.

During this time, Wonder also collaborated with other musicians, such as Minnie Riperton (Maya Rudolph’s mother) and the band Rufus. Chaka Khan’s vocals can be heard on the top 5 tune “Tell Me Something Good,” which Wonder wrote.

Other musicians have had success with Wonder remakes over the years, as evidenced by Aretha Franklin’s No. 1 R&B rendition of “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do).” Wonder won 15 Grammy Awards over the course of the ten years, with Innervisions, Fulfillingness’ First Finale, and Songs in the Key of Life all being named album of the year.

‘Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants’

By such incredibly high standards, Wonder’s 1980s weren’t even close to being as successful. He nevertheless remained a powerful musical force. The avant-garde soundtrack for an unrealized botanical documentary, Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants, which he released at the end of the 1970s, including the top 5 pop/R&B song “Send One Your Love.”

‘Hotter Than July’

1980’s Hotter Than July was a more condensed, commercial affair, with the disco song “All I Do” as well as the No. 1 R&B smash “Master Blaster (Jammin’),” a reggae-influenced ode to Bob Marley, and the top 5 R&B, country-influenced song “I Ain’t Gonna Stand for It.”

“Ebony and Ivory”

In 1982, Wonder and ex-Beatle Paul McCartney collaborated on the racial harmony-promoting song “Ebony and Ivory,” which peaked at No. 1 in the United States and the United Kingdom. The song was included on the McCartney album Tug of War.

‘Original Musiquarium I’

The No. 1 R&B/top 5 pop single “That Girl,” as well as further singles “Ribbon in the Sky” and “Do I Do,” which featured Dizzy Gillespie, were all included on Wonder’s greatest hits collection Original Musiquarium I, which was also published in the same year.

“I Just Called to Say I Love You

Dionne Warwick contributed to the 1984 Wonder soundtrack for the Gene Wilder movie The Woman in Red, which also included the No. 1 pop single “I Just Called to Say I Love You” and the top 5 R&B smash “Love Light in Flight.” The song, like so much of Wonder’s music, had a broad appeal, which helped it become Motown’s largest ever foreign hit. Wonder received an Academy Award for best original song for the song’s success.

“Part-Time Lover”

The historical track “Part-Time Lover,” the first song to ever achieve No. 1 on the pop, R&B, adult contemporary, and dance charts, was featured on Wonder’s subsequent album Square Circle, which was released in 1985.

‘Characters’

Two years later, the album Characters was made available, and it included the No. 1 R&B singles “You Will Know” and “Skeletons.” Wonder was admitted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

‘Jungle Fever’

With his work for the 1991 Spike Lee picture Jungle Fever, starring Wesley Snipes and Annabella Sciorra, Wonder continued his soundtrack contributions. Wonder produced three further top 10 R&B hits for the Jungle Fever album: “Gotta Have You,” “Fun Day,” and “These Three Words.”

‘Conversation Peace’

A few years later, Wonder put out Conversation Peace; its upbeat lead single, “For Your Love,” hit the top 20 R&B charts and won two Grammy Awards in 1996, the same year he was given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Stevie Wonder Advocacy Work

Along with his acknowledged artistic abilities, Wonder frequently addresses social issues in his music and public appearances.

He led the successful effort to have Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday recognized as a national holiday, which he sang about in the song “Happy Birthday” from Hotter Than July. (“Happy Birthday” went on to become a No. 2 hit in the U.K.)

Wonder performed on the No. 1 charity singles “That’s What Friends Are For,” with Warwick, Elton John, and Gladys Knight, benefitting the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), and “We Are the World,” to raise money for famine relief in Africa. Wonder had dedicated his Oscar victory to anti-apartheid activist and future president Nelson Mandela.

Additionally, Wonder has long been a champion for bettering services for the disabled and the blind. He was designated a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2009 in recognition of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Wonder continued his advocacy work in June 2013 when he declared he would fulfill a promise to give a concert in Marrakech for World Intellectual Property Organization negotiators when they reached an agreement on a global treaty expanding access to books for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Stevie Wonder Honors

After a ten-year break, Wonder returned in 2005 with the well-received A Time to Love, which featured Indian guests.Among others, Arie, Doug E. Fresh, McCartney, Bonnie Raitt, and Prince. In 2009, Wonder released the concert DVD Live At Last: A Wonder’s Summer Night.

President Barack Obama awarded Wonder the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014. The next year, on the telecast Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life—An All-Star Grammy Salute, the singer, composer, and guitarist was honored in honor of his seminal 1976 album.

Stevie Wonder Later Music

As he got into his late 60s, Wonder would periodically come out with new music. In 2016, he recorded the Golden Globe-nominated single “Faith” with Ariana Grande, as well as the song “Future Sunny Days,” which was created especially for the Scandal season finale in 2018.

Stevie Wonder Personal Life

In 1970, Wonder wed Syreeta Wright, a fellow Motown musician; they divorced two years later. She collaborated with Wonder on songs like “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” and “If You Really Love Me,” while he collaborated with Wright on her albums Syreeta (1972) and Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta (1974). Wonder and Wright were both accomplished lyricists. In 2004, Wright succumbed to cancer.

In 1975, Wonder and Yolanda Simmons gave birth to their first child, Aisha. “Isn’t She Lovely” was inspired by his daughter. Keita, the son of the couple, was born in 1977. He had Mumtaz, a son, in 1983 with Melody McCulley. Wonder had a son, Kwame, and a daughter, Sophia, with a woman whose name has not been made public.

In 2001, Wonder wed Karen Millard Morris. Kailand and Mandla were the couple’s two sons before divorcing amicably in 2015. While everything was going on, Wonder started dating Tomeeka Robyn Bracy. The two eventually got married in 2017.

Stevie Wonder Musical Production

  • Tribute To Uncle Ray: 1962.
  • The 12-Year-Old Genius: 1963.
  • With A Song In My Heart: 1963.
  • The Jazz Soul Of Little Stevie: 1963
  • Stevie At The Beach: 1964.
  • Down to Earth: 1966.
  • Uptight (everything’s alright): 1966.
  • Someday At Christmas: 1967.
  • I Was Made To Love Her: 1967.
  • Eivets Rednow: 1968.
  • For Once In My Life: 1968.
  • Greatest Hits: 1968
  • My Cherie Amour: 1969
  • Live at the Talk of The Town: 1970
  • Signed, Sealed & Delivered: 1970.
  • Live In Person: 1970.
  • Where I’m Coming From 1971.
  • Stevie Wonder’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 1971.
  • Music of My Mind: 1972.
  • Talking Book: 1972.
  • Innervisions: 1973.
  • Fulfillingness’ First Finale: 1974.
  • Songs in the Key of Life: 1976.
  • Looking Back: 1977.
  • Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants: 1979.
  • Hotter Than July: 1980.
  • Original Musiquarium I: 1982.
  • The Woman In Network: 1984.
  • I Just Called to Say I Love You: 1984.
  • In Square Circle: 1985.
  • We are the world: 1985.
  • Characters: 1987.
  • Jungle Fever: 1991.
  • Conversation Peace: 1995.
  • Natural Wonder: 1995.
  • Song Review: 1996.
  • Ballad Collection: 1999.
  • At The Close Of a Century: 1999.
  • Bamboozled: 2000.
  • Stevie Wonder: The Definitive Collection: 2002.
  • Conception: An Interpretation of Stevie Wonder’s Songs: 2003.
  • A Time To Love: 2005.
  • The Complete Stevie Wonder: 2005.
  • Number Ones: 2007.

Stevie Wonder Grammy Awards

  • Grammy Award for Best Song R & B, for the song Superstition: 1973.
  • Grammy award for best male R & B vocal performance, for Superstition: 1973.
  • Best male pop vocal performance, for You are the sunshine of my life: 1973.
  • Best producer of the year: 1973.
  • Best album of the year, by Innervisions: 1973. Best song R & B, by Living for the city: 1974.
  • Grammy award for best male R & B vocal performance, by Boogie on reggae woman: 1974.
  • Best Male R & B Vocal Performance, by Fulfillingness ‘first finale: 1974.
  • Grammy Award Best Producer of the Year: 1974.
  • Grammy Award Best Album of the Year, by Fulfillingness’ first finale: 1974.
  • Best male R & B vocal performance, for I wish: 1976.
  • Best male pop vocal performance, for Songs in the key of life: 1974.
  • Best album of the year: 1976.
  • Grammy award for best male R & B vocal performance, by In square circle: 1985.
  • Grammy Award best pop or duo vocal performance (Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight, S. Wonder), by That’s what friends are for: 1986.
  • Grammy Award Best Song R & B, by For Your Love: 1995.
  • Grammy Award a lifetime: 1996.
  • Grammy Award for best arrangement and vocal / instrumental accompaniment (Herbie Hancock, Robert Sadin and S. Wonder), for St. Louis Blues: 1998.
  • Grammy Award for best male R & B vocal performance, for St. Louis Blues: 1998.
  • Grammy award for best vocal performance R & B to duo or group (Take 6 and S. Wonder), for Love’s in need of love today: 2002. Grammy Award for best male pop vocal performance, by From the bottom of my heart: 2005.
  • Better vocal performance R & B to duo or group (Beyoncé Knowles and S. Wonder), for So amazing: 2005.
  • Best vocal pop collaboration (Tony Bennett and S. Wonder), for For eleven in my life: 2006.

Stevie Wonder Other Prize And Recognition:

  • 1969: US Distinguished Service Award.
  • 1974: NARM Presidential Award.
  • 1984: ASCAP Founders Award.
  • 1985: NARM Artist of the Decade.
  • 1985: Oscar – Best Original Song (for the film The woman in red) 1996: NARAS Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • 1998: United in Recovery’s Ambassador of Peace Award.
  • 1999: MusiCares Person of the Year
  • 2002: Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.
  • 2004: Billboard Century Award.
  • 2005: Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • 2006: Lifetime Achievement Freedom Award.
  • 2006: National Artistic Achievement Award.
  • 2008: Hall of Fame Award.
  • 2008: Hall of Fame Award.
  • 2010: Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres.
  • 2011: Induced at the Apollo Hall of Fame in New York.
  • 2012: BET honor award.
  • 2012: Billboard Icon.
  • 2013: MAMA awards “music makes one global ambassador award.”

Signature Of Stevie Wonder

Who Is Stevie Wonder?

At the age of 11, Stevie Wonder made his recording debut. Through the success of songs like “Fingertips, Pt. 2,” “I Was Made to Love Her,” and “My Cherie Amour,” he established himself as a major force in the 1960s. Wonder had other No. 1 songs on the mainstream and R&B charts throughout the following ten years, including “Superstition,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” and “Higher Ground.” He continued to release successful songs into the 1980s, such as “Part-Time Lover” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You.”

Why Stevie Wonder is famous?

He has written, produced, or sung songs for organizations that promote causes for both children and adults, including domestic abuse, starvation, AIDS, cancer, and diabetes. He is a Grammy Award winner. His advocacy played a crucial role in U.S. and global events.

How many Grammy Awards did Stevie Wonder?

Stevie Wonder has won 25 Grammy Awards over the years, in addition to the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. For the 1984 song “I Just Called to Say I Love You” from the movie The Woman in Red, he won an Academy Award. He received his Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1989.

When did Stevie Wonder lose his vision?

Contrary to what people think Stevie wasn’t actually born blind; he only developed blindness at the age of six weeks as a result of Retinopathy of Prematurity, which was brought on by the incubator he was kept in after birth.

What makes Stevie Wonder a genius?

His tunes were recognizable thanks to his distinctive drumming and rubbery basslines (listen for the hi-hat to know when it’s Stevie himself behind the kit), and those songs became well-known thanks to his natural talent for melody and lyrics. The legacy of Stevie Wonder can be heard in modern music.

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