Stevie Wonder is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer born May 13, 1950. His original name was Stevland Hardaway Judkins, but later he changed name to Stevland Hardaway Morris.
He was a salient figure in popular music during the last half of the 20th century, and he has recorded more than thirty top ten hits in US. Besides the top ten hits he has also won twenty-two Grammy Awards and, an Academy Award for Best Song. He has also been awarded the Polar Music Prize.
And last but not least; he has been recruited by both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters halls of fame.
For the Academy Award for Best Original Song he is also the first Motown artist, and second African American musician to win it. He won it with his hit single ‘I Just Called to Say I Love You’ from 1984.
Stevie Wonder was blind from birth, and still he managed to sign with Motown Records at the age of eleven; and still he continues to perform and record for the label.
He has at the time ten US #1 hits on the pop-soul charts and 20 #1 hits on the R&B charts, and just to make it even better; his album sales are totaling more than 100 million units.
Stevie Wonder plays the piano, synthesizer, congas, harmonica, drums, bass guitar, organ, bongos, melodica, and clarinet.
In his childhood, he was best known for his harmonica work, but today he is better known for his keyboard skills and vocal ability.
By the age of thirteen, Stevie had a huge hit, called ‘Fingertips’. It was a single taken from a live recording of a Motor Town Revue performance in 1963. It was featured on the album, ‘The 12 Year Old Genius’.
The song, features Stevie Wonder on vocals, bongos, and harmonica, and Marvin Gaye on drums. It was a #1 hit on the U.S. pop and R&B charts and it launched Stevie into the public knowledge.
When he reached his twenty-first birthday on May 21, 1971, he allowed his Motown contract to expire and while he was negotiating with Motown he released two new albums.
After a Short time Motown agreed to his demands for full creative control and the rights to his own songs, and Stevie returned to the company at March 1972 with the album ‘Music of My Mind’.
‘Music of My Mind’ also altered the beginning of a long collaboration with the band
‘Tonto’s Expanding Head Band’ which featured Malcolm and Cecil Robert Margouleff.
In the fall 1972, the album ‘Talking Book’ was released. ‘Talking Book’ featured among others the #1 hit ‘Superstition’, which is one of the most well known and famous songs he has ever made. This is my personal favorite too, because it has a certain ‘go’ in it and I like the mix of instruments
Even though Stevie is a pretty old artist there’s still a lot of people who listens to his music and therefore he still tours.
For an example: in March 2002, Stevie Wonder performed at the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City, and on July 2, 2005, Wonder performed in the USA part of the ‘Live 8’ shows in Philadelphia.
Stevie also performed at the pre-game show for Super Bowl XL in Detroit in 2006. He was singing various hit singles, with his only four year old son playing the drums.
For ten years Stevie Wonder hadn’t released any albums, but then on October 18, 2005, he released his, pretty good, album ‘A Time to Love’. Originally the album was meant to be released in May but it got pushed a little and then it was meant to be released in June; but as it happened, it was first published in October.
On the other hands, the album was released electronically on September 27, 2005 Apple’s iTunes Music Store so that it was able to download.
Stevie Wonder performed for President Obama at the White House and Wonder also received the ‘Gershwin Award for Lifetime Achievement’ by United States president Barack Obama.
I personally find that Stevie Wonder makes some very good songs, and I find especially ‘Superstition’ to be good. I must admit that he has made some tracks where I have been disappointed, but that mostly happens, when the songs are very slow. Still I think that he succeeds being a incredible songwriter and performer. Most of the time, he even succeeds making very silent songs, which can be a big challenge.