Stevie Wonder life and biography

Stevie Wonder picture, image, poster

Stevie Wonder biography

Date of birth : 1950-05-13
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-05-04
Credited as : Jazz-soul singer and songwriter, Multi-instrumentalist, For Wonce in My Life

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Stevie Wonder (born Stevland Hardaway Judkins on May 13, 1950; name later changed to Stevland Hardaway Morris) is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. Blind from birth, Wonder signed with Tamla Records at the age of eleven and continues to perform and record for the label. He has recorded more than thirty U.S. top ten hits and won twenty-two Grammy Awards, the most ever won by a male solo artist. On December 1, 2009, he was named a UN Messenger of Peace.

Blind from birth and raised in inner-city Detroit, he was a skilled musician by age eight. Renamed Little Stevie Wonder by Berry Gordy, Jr., the president of Motown Records—to whom he was introduced by Ronnie White, a member of the Miracles—Wonder made his recording debut at age 12. The soulful quality of his high-pitched singing and the frantic harmonica playing that characterized his early recordings were evident in his first hit single, “Fingertips (Part 2),” recorded during a show at Chicago's Regal Theatre in 1963. But Wonder was much more than a freakish prepubescent imitation of Ray Charles, as audiences discovered when he demonstrated his prowess with piano, organ, harmonica, and drums. By 1964 he was no longer described as “Little,” and two years later his fervent delivery of the pounding soul of “Uptight (Everything's Alright),” which he also had written, suggested the emergence of both an unusually compelling performer and a composer to rival Motown's stable of skilled songwriters. (He had already cowritten, with Smokey Robinson, “The Tears of a Clown.”)

Over the next five years Wonder had hits with “I Was Made to Love Her,” “My Cherie Amour” (both cowritten with producer Henry Cosby), and “For Once in My Life,” songs that suited dancers as well as lovers. Where I'm Coming From, an album released in 1971, hinted not merely at an expanded musical range but, in its lyrics and its mood, at a new introspection. Music of My Mind (1972) made his concerns even more plain. In the interim he had been strongly influenced by Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, the album in which his Motown stablemate moved away from the label's “hit factory” approach to confront the divisive social issues of the day. Any anxieties Gordy may have felt about his protégé's declaration of independence were amply calmed by the run of recordings with which Wonder obliterated the competition in the mid-1970s. Those albums produced a steady stream of classic hit songs, among them “Superstition,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” “Higher Ground,” “Living for the City,” “Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing,” “Boogie On Reggae Woman,” “I Wish,” and “Sir Duke.”

Although still only in his mid-20s, Wonder appeared to have mastered virtually every idiom of African-American popular music and to have synthesized them all into a language of his own. His command of the new generation of electronic keyboard instruments made him a pioneer and an inspiration to rock musicians, the inventiveness of his vocal phrasing was reminiscent of the greatest jazz singers, and the depth and honesty of his emotional projection came straight from the black church music of his childhood. Such a fertile period was unlikely to last forever, and it came to an end in 1979 with a fey and overambitious extended work called Stevie Wonder's Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants. Thereafter his recordings became sporadic and often lacked focus, although his concerts were never less than rousing. The best of his work formed a vital link between the classic rhythm-and-blues and soul performers of the 1950s and '60s and their less commercially constrained successors. Yet, however sophisticated his music became, he was never too proud to write something as apparently slight as the romantic gem “I Just Called to Say I Love You” (1984). He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 2005. In 2008 the Library of Congress announced that Wonder was the recipient of its Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

ALBUMS
- 1962 Tribute to Uncle Ray
- 1962 The Jazz Soul Of Little Stevie
- 1963 The 12-Year Old Genius Recorded Live
- 1963 With A Song In My Heart
- 1964 Stevie At The Beach
- 1966 Up-Tight (Everything's Alright)
- 1966 Down To Earth
- 1967 I Was Made To Love Her
- 1967 Someday At Christmas
- 1968 For Once In My Life
- 1969 My Cherie Amour
- 1970 Stevie Wonder Live
- 1970 Stevie Wonder Live At The Talk Of The Town
- 1970 Signed, Sealed and Delivered
- 1971 Where I'm Coming From
- 1972 Music Of My Mind
- 1972 Talking Book
- 1973 Innervisions
- 1974 Fulfillingness' First Finale
- 1976 Songs In The Key Of Life
- 1979 Stevie Wonder's Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants
- 1980 Hotter Than July
- 1984 The Woman In Red (soundtrack)
- 1985 In Square Circle
- 1987 Characters
- 1995 Conversation Peace
- 1995 Natural Wonder
- 2005 A Time To Love

COMPILATIONS
- 1968 Greatest Hits
- 1971 Greatest Hits, Volume 2
- 1977 Anthology aka Looking Back
- 1982 Stevie Wonder's Original Musiquarium I
- 1996 Song Review

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