Stevie Wonder the Blind Genius
Stevie Wonder, Born Steveland Judkins (Changed to Steveland Morris, his mothers maiden name.) is an African American singer,song writer, and producer known all around the world. He is fluent with a wide range of instruments, Including the drums, guitar, bass guitar, synthesizers, congas, clavinet, the melodica,(most famously) the piano, harmonica and keyboard. Also a producer Stevie composed for several artists including Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, The Spinners, Micheal Jackson and other artists. As one of the most successful artists on the Motown label, Its no surprise why he is thought of as a musical genius. Wonder has recorded more than 30 top ten hits, has won nearly two dozen Grammys, Including one for lifetime achievement, and been inducted into both the Rock and Roll hall of fame and the Songwriters hall of fame. Some of his greatest hits include “Isn't she lovely”, “I just called to say I love you”, “Superstition”, “Ebony and Ivory”, “Uptight”, “I was made to love her”, “For once in my life”, and so on.
Steveland Judkins wasborn in Sagina, Michigan on May 13, 1950 as the third of six children born to Calvin Judkins and Lula Mae Hardaway Morris. Born premature, the blood vessels at the back of his eyes had not yet reached the front, and their aborted growth caused the retinas to detach. The medical term for this is called rethinopathy of prematurity. It is also thought that it way have been exacerbated by the oxygen pumped into his incubator, But the treatment was not the primary cause of his blindness.
When wonder was four, his mother left his father and moved herself and her children to Detroit, Michigan. His mother changed her legal name back to Lula Hardaway Morris. At age seven Steveland started to play piano and mastered it by the time he was nine years old. In his early childhood he sang in his churches choir. Wonder started to teach himself how to play the harmonica and the drums, and he mastered both by the age of ten. He even taught himself how to play the bass guitar. In 1961, at the age of eleven, Wonder was discovered singing outside a street corner by a relative of Ronnie White of 'The Miracles', who wonder was later introduced to. White brought Wonder and his mother to Motown records, where he impressed Motown CEO Berry Gordy who immediately signed him to Motown's Tamla label under the name 'Little Stevie Wonder' . Wonder released his first two albums, The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie and Tribute to Uncle Ray, in 1962, to little success. By age 13 Stevie finally had his first major hit,”Fingertips (Pt.2)”, Which was a 1963 single taken from a live recording of a Motor Town Revenue performance, issued on the album, 'Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius'. Wonder was featured on vocals, bongos, and harmonica, and a young Marvin Gaye on the drums. The song hit number one on the U.S. Pop an R&B charts, launching him int the public's consciousness. In 1964, Stevie Wonder made his film debut in Muscle Beach Party as himself. He returned to the big screen to the sequel Bikini Beach, released five months later. He performed on-screen in both films, singing “Happy Street” and “Happy Feelin”
During the mid 1960s wonder dropped the “Little” from his name, Officially making him Stevie Wonder. Wonder went on to have a number of other hits during the mid-1960s, including “Uptight”, “With a Child's Heart” and “Blowin' in the wind”, a Bob Dylan cover which was one of the first songs to really reflect Wonder's social consciousness. Wonder also begin working as a songwriter in the Motown songwriting department, Composing songs for both himself and his label mates, including “Tears of a Clown”, a number one hit performed by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
In the 80's wonder scored his biggest hits reaching very high level of fame brought on by increased album sales, Charity participation, high-profile collaborations, impact on politics, and appearances on television. The soundtrack album for the movie The Secret Life of Plants titled Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants, Mostly instrumental, the album had been regarded as an unusual classic. That very same year wonder wrote and produced the song “Lets Get Serious”, A song performed by Jermain Jackson. Hotter Than July became Wonder's first Platinum-selling single album, its single “Happy Birthday” was succesful in making Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday.
In 1983, Stevie Collaborated with The Beatles Paul McCartney to try to make peace among races with “Ebony and Ivory”. Later that year Wonder performed the song “Stay Gold”, The theme to Francis Ford Coppola's film adaptation of S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders. Wonders song “I Just Called to Say I Love You”, was a # 1 pop and R&B hit of the soundtrack album for The Women in Red. That following year's In Square Circle featured the # 1 pop hit “Part Time Lover”
By 1985 Wonder was an American icon known all over the country. He even was impersonated by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live. Wonder sometimes joined in jokes about himself; in the Motown Revenue Smokey Robinson presented Wonder with an award plaque, which he pretended to read out loud and notice a spelling mistake.
In 1987, Wonder appeared on Micheal Jackson's Bad album on the duet “Just Good Friends”
Wonder continued to write and record music but lost popularity in the next decade, although he still remained an American icon. In 2009 wonder was the first person ever to receive the Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award.
Wonder has been married twice once to Motown singer Syreeta Wright from 1972 until their divorce in 1972, only two years after their engagement. Since 2001 he has been married to Kai Milla Morris a fashion designer. He has seven children from his two marriages and several relationships. His daughter, Aisha Morris, was the inspiration for his hit single “Isn't She Lovely”. In may 2006, Wonders mother died in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 76. at a concert in Birmingham he spoke about the decision to tour again following his loss.
My opinion on the song “Isn't She Lovely” is as follows. From the start of the song I like the the bass line and melody of the song. The drum beat is swingish and is not to simple, I hear synth in the back ground which gives it a nice feel. The harmonica solo is perfect I wouldn't expect someone to be able to play like that. It sounds soulful yet still pop. If I saw him on the street I would not expect him to sing so good. This song could be re released 20 years from now and still be a hit.
Wonder is a prominent figure in popular music during the latter half of the century.
He is a very influential and inspirational person, to have never been able to see but to still be so ingenious to have mastered the art of songwriting and composing is amazing. Wonder's success as a musical performer influenced popular music and also to the public.He has influenced Stevie Ray Vaughan, Barack obama, The Neptunes, Tupac Shakur, Will Smith, Snoop Dogg, Kirk Franklin, Mariah Carey, N'Sync, Whitney Houston, Beyonce Knowles, And many more artists. The lyrics to some of his songs aren't really that complex but he sings like a master of song. The way he layers different rhythms and sounds makes him a very prominent producer with a large amount of skill for his craft. He is a proud black man that does not let anything slow his step.
I think that a lot of credit for his musical genius was derived from his lack of sight, He could not hear so his main sense was his ears. His appreciation for sounds are all he has, This makes him a superpower because he has nothing to focus on but music. If he could see he would be interested in his appearance, and normal every day things. He also would be more intimidated because he wouldn't have a special trait like blindness, and then he would be just an average joe with talent which he would have had to work much harder to obtain a recording contract.
My opinion's on the son “I Just Called to Say I Love You” are as follows. The lyrics to this song are very upbeat. It sounds like a modeled love song. Right off the bat I Enjoy the repetitive synth in the background along with a rhythmic synth. The bass line is kind of funky it makes you want to dance with somebody. Wonder sings this song wonderfully he sounds as if he's singing straight to a person not even on a song. I think it is a great compilation of rhythms that make a perfect song. I also like the digital feel of the high hat and how the drums still sound live.
My opinion's on the song “satisfaction” are as follows. The drums and bass line go great together and that guitar riff is amazing. It sounds like liquid funk. I also like how the brass in the background comes later on in the song and really blazes this track. He's talking about how people who are superstitious end up falling victim to they're superstitions because they believe in them so much that its bound to come true. One line is “superstition ain't the way” Pretty much saying don't believe in it or its going happen.
My opinion's on the song “Sir Duke” are as follows. The brass in the introduction and the drums make my head nod. After the break the guitar sounds pretty complex but the drums don't sound as complex but are still appealing. If you listen carefully you can hear wonder playing keyboard to the rhythm. This son is about how some music sounds good but you can't dance to it, and how when a song has a groove to it you can feel it all over and it jolts your body and makes you want to move.