In 1950, a baby in Saginaw, Michigan received too much oxygen from an incubator immediately after his birth and became blind as a result. Despite his handicap, Steveland Judkins mastered piano playing at seven years old. Four years later, he was asked to audition at Motown Records and was signed on the spot under the name "Little Stevie Wonder." Wonder's first song, "Fingertips," convinced audiences of his prodigy talent, and he became a strong, young voice of Motown.
When his contact expired, Wonder sampled different music techniques. He mastered various instruments that he played for his recordings and was the first to introduce the synthesizer for black music. He pushed his lyrics to the limits, exploring ethical and racial issues. Motown agreed to give him complete recording freedom, even allowing him to form his own company, Black Bull Music.
Wonder flourished in the 1970s with constant hits such as "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life" and "Living For The City." He came close to losing it all, though, in a nearly fatal car accident. But the accident proved serendipitous, as it opened his eyes and inspired him to write more spiritual music that earned accepted recognition.
The 1980s saw Wonder mostly recording for movie soundtracks rather than releasing full, original albums. His number-one selling song, "I Just called To Say I Love You," was written during that time for the movie The Woman In Red.
Wonder was inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and has remained an admired and respected artist since then.
- Photo courtesy of http://www.nwcn.com
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