Biography of Stevie Wonder
In the small American town of Saginau, Michigan, a boy appeared in a poor family on May 13, 1950, who was destined for hard trials and great glory. Steveland Judkins was born premature. As a result of supplying a large dose of oxygen to the incubator, the baby suffered damage to the retina, which led to an irreversible loss of visual functions.
Childhood and the family of Stevie Wonder
Lula Mae Judkins, Stevie Wonder’s mother, went to great lengths to restore his sight. When she realized that official medicine would not help, she began to take the child to healers. But the grown-up Steve convinced her that blindness is not an obstacle to the fulfillment of his dream and he is quite happy.
Lula Mae Judkins had to work hard, there was no hope for her husband. But she always found time to communicate with Steve. The boy spent time at home. Lula was afraid that children might offend him on the street, she tried to fence him off from all troubles. She taught her son to read, to do without outside help.
Stevie Wonder in his youth
When the boy was four years old, Lula Judkins divorced her husband and moved to Detroit. There she married a second time. The child has a new dad, half-brothers, sister and surname – Morris. Lula insisted that Stivled go to a regular school. Thanks to the sharpness of reactions and good hearing, the boy led a full life. He had many friends with whom he sang in the church choir, played basketball and even went to the movies. From the noise and sounds, Steve determined what was happening on the screen. He also liked to listen to the soul music of Ray Charles and Sam Cooke on the radio, and tap the rhythm on the pots. The family lived in poverty, there was not enough money even for clothes.
There was no question of buying musical instruments and learning. The boy had only a harmonica, which he played on the street. All the inhabitants of the surrounding houses gathered for the performances of the restless and talented boy. But Steve was lucky. A neighbor left him a piano, and the association of local entrepreneurs, seeing the talent of the child, gave him a drum kit. Steve gathered more and more people for his courtyard concerts, and luck smiled at him again. Brian Holland was looking for young talent in Detroit. He appreciated the genius abilities of a ten-year-old boy. After listening to Motown Records, Steve was signed to a contract. Producer Clarence Paul was amazed by the amazing voice of the young singer. With his filing, Stevland Morris became Stevie Wonder. Wonder is translated from English – amazing, miracle.
The first songs and albums of Stevie Wonder
Stevie got money and a lot of good instruments: piano, drums, banjo, guitar. Touring and recording took a lot
time, but the producer insisted that the singer study at an elite boarding school for blind children. 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 instrumental compositions were released. These records did not make a special sensation. But in 1963, the Fingertips single became a hit. For some time, Steve had to postpone his career due to a voice mutation. During this period, he took a course in classical piano.
In 1964, the musical Muscles on the Beach about teenagers was released, where Stevie played himself. Six months later, he starred in the sequel to Bikini Beach. The films feature songs performed by Wonder.
In the mid-60s, he released several hits and tried himself as a composer. The song Tears of a Clown performed by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles became a hit.
Stevie Wonder with his second wife and son
A handsome young man, enjoyed success with the girls. He often fell in love.
He began to get involved in drugs. But this did not distract him from creativity. Thanks to romantic feelings, gentle songs Angie Girl and My Cherie Amour appeared.
Work and talent appreciated. Stevie won his first Grammy in 1970 for his soul album Signed, Sealed And Delivered.
Stevie Wonder Career Turning Point – Greatest Hits
Meeting with Martin Luther King changed his worldview. Wonder took part in events for the civil rights of the black population, became interested in politics.
During this period, he had many of his own ideas that could not be carried out at Motown Records.
In 1971, the singer refused to continue the contract, took the money and opened his own companies Taurus Production and Black Bull Publishing.
Many were surprised by his performance. He produced and wrote music, mastered the synthesizer, worked with different styles. Released in late 1972, Talking Book was a huge success. Thanks to the ballad You Arethe Sunshine of My Life, he became a three-time Grammy winner. The album Innervisions, released the following year, won three more awards.
Stevie Wonder received the highest awards, including from the hands of the President
In 1972, the musician performed at a concert with the Rolling Stones and received European recognition.
In 1976, he again signed a contract with Motown for a then huge amount of $ 13 million. His albums became deeper and topped the charts, but appeared less frequently.
In 1998, the musician’s talent was recognized in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York.
In 2005, the last album, A Time to Love, was released.
In 2008, Wonder’s European tour took place.
At the Glastonbury Festival in the UK in 2010, he performed twenty songs that were listened to by 140,000 people.
Stevie Wonder at present
Stevie has retained the strength and incredible range of his voice, just like in his youth, he masterfully owns musical instruments and turns the song into a theatrical show. Now the singer takes part in charitable activities and music festivals, was awarded the honorary title of UN Messenger of Peace, was awarded the American National Museum of Civil Liberties Award for his contribution to the fight for human rights. Wonder has won the prestigious Grammy award 25 times. Included in the top ten most popular performers of the Billboard charts, including Elvis Presley, Beatles, Whitney Houston, Madonna.
Stevie Wonder’s personal life
Stevie liked women. He had many novels. For the first time, he married at the age of 20 to singer Cyrite Wright. The marriage did not last long, but the couple remained friends. Wonder produced the ex-wife’s albums.
He was in a long-term relationship with Yolanda Simmons, but never married. Yolanda gave birth to two children. The tender and lyrical song Isn’t She Lovely is dedicated to her daughter Aisha.
In adulthood, the musician married Karen Millard. To this union two children were born.
But even before the official divorce, Stevie met model Tomika Robin Bracey. The couple has a son and a daughter, who was born in 2014. In total, the musician has nine children.
Throughout his life, Wonder was faithful to one woman – his mother, Lula Mae Judkins. He perfectly understood that only she did not put an end to the blind child, developed his hearing and reaction, became his eyes, encouraged his passion for music and supported him until his last days. Lula died in 2006. In memory of her, the musician arranged a tour of America and donated the profits from the concerts to charitable foundations.