PROFILE: Stevie Wonder is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. He is considered to be one of the most critically and commercially successful musical performers of the late 20th century.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Stevie Wonder signed with Motwn’s Tamla label in 1961 at the age of 11. He sand 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.
- He has been blind since shortly after birth. He was born 6 weeks prematurely which. along with the oxygen-rich atmosphere in the hospital incubator, resulted in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a condition in which growth of the eyes is aborted and caused the retinas to detach.
- At the end of 1962, when Wonder was 12 years old, he joined the Motortown Revue, touring the “chitlin’ circuit” of theaters across America that accepted black artists.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
- 1983: inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
- 1984: received an Academy Award for Best Song for “I Just Called to Say I Love You” from the movie The Woman in Red.
- 1989: inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- 1999: received the Polar Music Prize and Kennedy Center Honors.
- 2000: received a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song for “Wild Wild West” from the movie Wild Wild West.
- 2002: received the George and Ira Gershwin lifetime Achievement Award at UCLA’s Spring Sing. The same year, Wonder received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award for the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
- 2004: received the Billboard Century Award. Also in 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him No. 15 on their list of the 100 Greatest Rock and Roll Artists of All Time.
- 2006: was inducted, as one of the first inductees, into the Michigan Walk of Fame. The same year, Wonder received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.
- 2008: Ranked at number five on “The Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists”, making him as the third most successful male artist in the history of Billboard Hot 100 chart.
- February 23, 2009: Recipient of the Library of Congress’s second Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, honored by US President Barack Obama at the White House.
- 2009: Recipient of the Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award. This special award underlines a popular artist’s extraordinary contribution to the musical world. The Montreal Jazz Festival Spirit Award is in bronze.
- 2009: Named a Messenger of Peace by the United Nations.
- March 6, 2010: Wonder was appointed a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand. Wonder had been due to be invested with this honor in 1981, but scheduling problems prevented this from happening. A lifetime achievement award was also given to Wonder on the same day, at France’s biggest music awards.
- 2012: Inducted into The Soul Music Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award.
- June 2011: the Apollo Theater inducted Wonder into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame.
- 2013: received the Music Makes One Global Ambassador Award from the outstanding music award ceremony of Asia and the World, Mnet Asian Music Awards.
- 2014: Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- 1973: Best Rhythm & Blues Song – “Superstition”
- 1973: Best R&B Male Vocal Performance – “Superstition”
- 1973: Best Male Pop Vocal Performance – “You are the Sunshine of My Life”
- 1973: Album of the Year – Innervisions
- 1974: Best Rhythm & Blues Song – “Living for the City”
- 1974: Best Male R&B Vocal Performance – “Boogie on Reggae Woman”
- 1974: Best Male Pop Vocal Performance – “Fulfillingness’ First Finale”
- 1974: Album of the Year – “Fulfillingness’ First Finale”
- 1976: Best Male R&B Vocal Performance – In Square Circle
- 1986 – Best Pop Performance by a Duo Or Group With Vocal (awarded to Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder) – “That’s What Friends Are For”
- “The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie” (1962)
- “Tribute to Uncle Ray” (1962)
- “With a Song in My Heart” (1963)
- “Stevie at the Beach” (1964)
- “Up-Tight” (1966)
- “Down to Earth” (1966)
- “I Was Made to Love Her” (1967)
- “Someday at Christmas” (1967)
- “Eivets Rednow” (1968)
- “For Once in My Life” (1968)
- “My Cherie Amour” (1969)
- “Signed, Sealed & Delivered” (1970)
- “Where I’m Coming From” (1971)
- “Music of My Mind” (1972)
- “Talking Book” (1972)
- “Innervisions (1973)
- “Fulfillingness’ First Finale” (1974)
- “Songs in the Key of Life” (1976)
- “Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through ‘The Secret Life of Plants'” (1979)
- “Hotter Than July” (1980)
- “The Woman in Red” (1984)
- “In Square Circle” (1985)
- “Characters (1987)
- “Jungle Fever” (1991)
- “Conversation Peace” (1995)
- “A Time to Love” (2005)