Stevie Wonder – American soul singer
Stevie Wonder is an American soul singer, songwriter, pianist, drummer, harper, music producer and activist, who has had a huge impact on development of music of the XX century. He is 25-time Grammy Award winner. Stevie is one of the founders of classic soul and R’n’B. The singer became blind shortly after birth. At the age of eleven he signed his first recording contract with Motown Records Corporation. Along with Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder is the most famous and popular blind musician in the world.
Some of his most famous songs are My Cherie Amour, For Once in My Life, Pastime Paradise, Superstition, Living For The City, Skeletons, All In Love Is Fair, Sir Duke, I Wish, Is not She Lovely. The most famous song in Russia is I Just Called to Say I Love You. Wonder has written more than 2,000 songs and recorded more than 30 albums. He is also known for his work as a political activist, defender of the rights of African Americans. In 2008, Billboard magazine published a list of 100 best artists of all time, in which Wonder took the fifth place.
In 1989 he was inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 1983 into Composers Hall of Fame.
Stevland Hardaway Judkins (his real name) was born on May 13, 1950 in Saginaw, Michigan. He was blinded due to an overabundance of oxygen in his incubator shortly after his premature birth. His father left the family early on. He and his five siblings were raised by their mother. She moved the family to Detroit, where they struggled to survive.
The boy studied in an ordinary school. He had many friends, sang in the church choir, played basketball and even went to the cinema.
At the age of 11 Wonder recorded the first single I Call It Pretty Music, But the Old People Call It the Blues. A year later two albums with instrumentals were released. In 1963, the single Fingertips became a hit.
In 1964, Stevie played in the musical about teenagers Muscle Beach Party. Six months later, he starred in the sequel Bikini Beach. In the mid-60s he recorded several hits and tried his hand as a composer. The song Tears of a Clown by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles became a hit.
In 1969, Wonder met President Richard Nixon at the White House, where he received a Distinguished Service Award from the President’s Committee on Employment of Handicapped People.
In 1970, Stevie received his first Grammy award for the soul album Signed, Sealed And Delivered.
Meeting with Martin Luther King changed his mind. Wonder became interested in politics, lobbying for gun control, against drunk driving, against the apartheid system enforced by South Africa’s white minority, and on behalf of a national holiday in recognition of civil rights martyr Martin Luther King, Jr.
Released in late 1972 album Talking Book was a huge success. Thanks to the ballad You Arethe Sunshine of My Life he won three Grammy awards. The album Innervisions released a year later received three more awards. In 1972, the musician gave a concert with the Rolling Stones and received European recognition.
He won praise for his work on the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s 1991 film Jungle Fever.
In 1996, Wonder won a Lifetime Achievement Award and two Grammies for the new album Conversation Peace.
Stevie had a lot of love affairs. At the age of 20 he married singer Syreeta Wright. The marriage did not last long, but the couple remained friends. Wonder produced ex-wife’s albums.
He had a long-term relationship with Yolanda Simmons. Yolanda gave birth to two children. Tender and lyrical song Isn’t She Lovely is devoted to his daughter Aisha.
In adulthood, the musician married Karen Millard who gave birth to two children. But even before the official divorce Stevie met model Tomiko Robin Brace. They have a son and a daughter born in 2014.
The musician has nine children.
– Wonder received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his achievements and contributions to the field of music.
– In 1999, American actor and hip-hop artist Will Smith recorded the song Wild Wild West and filmed a video (Stevie Wonder starred in it). In the original, it is a song by Wonder I Wish from the album Songs in the Key of Life 1976.
– His daughter Aisha Morris became a singer.
– US President Barack Obama is a longtime fan of the music of Stevie Wonder.
– Wonder is known as a playboy.