Stevie Wonder is without doubt one of the world's greatest and most loved pop icons. From his days as a child prodigy to his transformation into a soul giant, here's all the big info you need about the great man. The stunted growth of blood vessels in the back of his eyes caused his retinas to detach, and the oxygen pumped into his incubator made the condition worse, leaving him permanently blind. A member of his local church choir, Stevie mastered piano, harmonica, drums and bass before his teenage years. He auditioned for Motown Records at the age of 11, and founder Berry Gordy later said he was "speechless".
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Blind virtually since birth, Wonder 's heightened awareness of sound helped him create vibrant, colorful music teeming with life and ambition. Nearly everything he recorded bore the stamp of his sunny, joyous positivity; even when he addressed serious racial, social, and spiritual issues which he did quite often in his prime , or sang about heartbreak and romantic uncertainty, an underlying sense of optimism and hope always seemed to emerge. Much like his inspiration, Ray Charles , Wonder had a voracious appetite for many different kinds of music, and refused to confine himself to any one sound or style.
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For the Record …. Wonder was a genuine child prodigy by virtue of his musical ability and his sheer desire to succeed. Since then, he has literally never been out of the limelight, and his fame is such that he is asked to lend his name to a variety of social causes. Being black, blind, and up from poverty entitles him, of course, to say that he has been there and back. Wonder was born Stevland Judkins in Saginaw, Michigan.
Stevie Wonder gained prominence in the early s as a musical prodigy, and his dance hits and love songs have segued over the years into thoughtful commentaries on the joy and injustice in our world. Born in Saginaw, Michigan in , Wonder became blind shortly after birth. He learned to play the harmonica, piano and drums by age 9. By the time he was 10, his singing and other musical skills were known throughout his neighborhood, and when the family moved to Detroit, impressed adults made his talents known to the owners of Motown Records, who gave him a recording contract when he was age Over the years Wonder has delivered 32 No. In , Wonder became the youngest honoree of the Kennedy Center Honors. In addition to his musical accomplishments, in Stevie spearheaded the realization of Martin Luther King, Jr.