Stevie Wonder

May 13th Celebrates Stevie Wonder

Stevland Hardaway Morris was born on May 13, 1950, and is known as his stage name, “Stevie Wonder,” who is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist.

A child prodigy, he became one of the most creative and loved musical performers of the late 20th century.

Wonder signed up with Motown Records, at the age of 11, and has continued to performing with for Motown Records.

How did Stevie Wonder become blind?

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 which is how became blind.

When Wonder was about four years old, his parents divorced moving back to Detroit with her children, and 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. He formed a singing partnership with a friend; calling themselves Stevie and John, they played on street corners, and occasionally at parties and dances.

In 1961, when aged 11, Wonder sang his own composition, “Lonely Boy”, to Ronnie White of the Miracles; White then took Wonder and his mother to an audition at Motown, where CEO Berry Gordy signed Wonder to Motown’s Tamla label.

Before signing, producer Clarence Paul gave him the name Little Stevie Wonder. 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.

In today’s YouTube video Diana Ross is singing a duet with very young Stevie Wonder singing the song, “I’m Gonna Make you Love Me,” the young Stevie marked music history starting in his incomparable career.

Some interesting trivia about Stevie Wonder that you’re probably don’t know about is, when Steve was seventeen years old he performed with Jimi Hendrix Experience playing the drums in the background.

“Little Stevie” Wonder grew up to not very little at all, as he stands over six feet tall.

In 1988, he announced his interest in running for mayor of Detroit in the 1992 election. However, he never followed through with a campaign.

Stevie Wonder has won over twenty one Grammy Awards, a record breaking hit for one the most talented performers to receive the most Grammy awards.

Shortly after reaching his 21st birthday in the spring of 1971, he became the first Motown Recording artist to gain complete artistic control of his records.

His 1976 song “Isn`t She Lovely” (from album “Songs in the Key of Life”) was dedicated to then newborn daughter Aisha whose name and “baby sounds” can be heard on the track.

Stevie Wonder became the very first blind recipient of an Academy Award when his composition “I Just Called to Say I Love You” won Best Original Song from The Woman in Red (1984) soundtrack.

In lieu of today’s story, find a song that resonates with you, and play it loudly, in remembrance of Stevie’s Wonders’ Birthday.

Written and Designed by JD Mitchell

J.D Mitchell Design Studio

jdmitchelldesigns@gmail.com

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