|Full Name||Stevland Hardaway Morris|
|Born||May 13, 1950 in Saginaw, Michigan|
|Genres||R&B, soul, funk, pop, jazz, blues|
|First Album||The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie (1962)|
|Breakthrough Hit||"Fingertips Pt. 2" (1963)|
|Total Awards||25 Grammy Awards + Oscar, Golden Globe, etc.|
|Social Media||Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube|
The Early Life That Shaped a Music Icon
Stevie Wonder was born Stevland Hardaway Judkins on May 13, 1950 in Saginaw, Michigan. Being born six weeks premature left him blind from birth. But young Stevie was overflowing with musical gift – he taught himself piano, drums, and harmonica all before age 9!
“Music is a world within itself, it’s a language we all understand.” – Stevie Wonder
Adopted and renamed Stevland Hardaway Morris by his mother‘s cousin, he released his first two albums as Little Stevie Wonder in 1962-63 on Motown‘s Tamla label. Singles like "Fingertips Pt. 2" showcased his prodigious talents and charmed audiences.
Hitmaking Heyday at Motown
Throughout the 1960s, Stevie cranked out hit after hit for Motown Records. He transitioned from his "Little" stage name and stepped into his own as an artist. Some of my favorite songs from this era include the irresistibly upbeat "Uptight (Everything‘s Alright)," the swoon-worthy "I Was Made to Love Her," and the silky smooth "My Cherie Amour."
"Music is like a great massage – it relieves stress and sets people at ease." – Stevie Wonder
As he entered his 20s in the early 1970s, Stevie fought for (and won) full creative freedom from Motown. His classic albums Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Innervisions, and Fulfillingness‘ First Finale revealed his evolution as a musician and lyricist. Songs tackled racism, poverty, drug abuse, political corruption – no longer was he just Motown‘s hit machine.
Soaring to Greater Heights
Unchained from Motown‘s grip, Stevie Wonder continuously broke new ground and soared to greater creative heights. He changed music forever with the sprawling, masterful 1976 double album Songs in the Key of Life.
“Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn‘t mean he lacks vision.” ― Stevie Wonder
The 1980s saw Stevie score iconic hits like "Happy Birthday" and "I Just Called to Say I Love You." He collaborated with other legends like Paul McCartney, Elton John, Michael Jackson. Decade after decade, the songs kept flowing – as did the accolades.
The Man Beyond the Music
Stevie Wonder‘s activism and humanitarian work may be even more impressive than his music catalog. He championed making Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national holiday, campaigned for disability rights, raised millions to fight AIDS, and so much more.
"Change is right in any direction. Happiness lies in the direction you choose to go." – Stevie Wonder
Now in his 70s, Stevie Wonder continues to inspire me and fans worldwide through his music, message, and indomitable spirit. Seeing him perform live is on my bucket list. But beyond the concert stage, his legacy will live on for generations through the sheer power of songs like "Superstition," "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," "Higher Ground," and "Overjoyed."
Stevie Wonder, thank you for the decades of joy you‘ve brought to our lives. Here‘s to many more!