“Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn’t mean he lacks vision.”
Good morning peeps, meditation done.
Quote for the day:
“Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn’t mean he lacks vision.”
Stevie Wonder was a blind child prodigy, who went on to become one of the most creative and loved musical performers of the late 20th century.
Stevie has recorded more than 30 U.S. top ten hits and received 25 Grammy Awards, the most ever awarded to a male solo artist, and has sold over 100 million albums and singles, making him one of the top 60 best-selling music artists.
He is also noted for his work as an activist for political causes, including when in 1980 he used the single “Happy Birthday” from his first platinum-selling album “Hotter than July” as a successful vehicle for his campaign to establish Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday as a national holiday in the United States.
In 2009, Wonder was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace.
In 2013, Billboard magazine released a list of the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart’s 55th anniversary, with Stevie at number six.
Stevie Wonder was born six weeks premature, which, along with the oxygen-rich atmosphere in the hospital incubator, resulted in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a condition in which the growth of the eyes is aborted and causes the retinas to detach; so he became blind shortly after birth.
Stevie began playing instruments at an early age, including piano, harmonica and drums. He formed a singing partnership with a friend; calling themselves Stevie and John, they played on street corners, and occasionally at parties and dances.
In 1961, when aged 11, Wonder sang his own composition, “Lonely Boy”, to Ronnie White of the Miracles;White then took Stevie 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.
Because of Stevie’s age, the label drew up a rolling five-year contract in which royalties would be held in trust until Wonder was 21. He and his mother would be paid a weekly stipend to cover their expenses: Wonder received $2.50 a week, and a private tutor was provided for when Stevie was on tour.
He recorded two albums at the age of 11, “’Tribute to Uncle Ray”, which was mainly covers of Ray Charles’s songs and “The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie”, which was recorded as an instrumental album. A Berry Gordy song “I Call It Pretty Music, But the Old People Call It the Blues” was released as Lottle Stevie Wonder’s début single in the summer of 1962 it almost broke into the Billboard 100, spending one week of August at 101 before dropping out of sight. A follow-up single, “Little Water Boy”, had no success, and the two albums, released in reverse order of recording — “The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie” in September 1962 and “Tribute to Uncle Ray” in October 1962 — also met with little success.
At the end of 1962, when Wonder was 12 years old, he joined the Motortown Revue, touring the “chitlin’ circuit” of theatres across America that accepted black artists. At the Regal Theater, Chicago, his 20-minute performance was recorded and released in May 1963 as the album Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius. A single, “Fingertips”, from the album was also released in May, and became a major hit.
The song, featuring a confident and enthusiastic Wonder returning for a spontaneous encore that catches out the replacement bass player, who is heard to call out “What key? What key?”, was a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 when Wonder was aged 13, making him the youngest artist ever to top the chart. The single was simultaneously No. 1 on the R&B chart, the first time that had occurred.
His next few recordings, however, were not successful; his voice was changing as he got older, and some Motown executives were considering cancelling his recording contract.
Sylvia Moy persuaded label owner Berry Gordy to give Wonder another chance. Dropping the “Little” from his name, Moy and Wonder worked together to create the hit “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”, and Wonder went on to have a number of other hits during the mid-1960s.
He also began to work in the Motown songwriting department, composing songs both for himself and his label mates, including “Tears of a Clown”, a number one hit for Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (it was first released in 1967, mostly unnoticed as the last track of their “Make It Happen” LP, but eventually became a major success when re-released as a single in 1970, which prompted Robinson to reconsider his intention of leaving the band).
Stevie managed to score several hits between 1968 and 1970 such as “I Was Made to Love Her”, “For Once in My Life” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours”.
Stevie Wonder’s “classic period” is generally agreed to be between 1972 and 1977. Some observers see in 1971’s “Where I’m Coming From” certain indications of the beginning of the classic period, such as its new funky keyboard style which Wonder used throughout the classic period. Some determine Wonder’s first “classic” album to be 1972’s “Music of My Mind”, on which he attained personal control of production, and on which he programmed a series of songs integrated with one another to make a concept album. Others skip over early 1972 and determine the beginning of the classic period to be “Talking Book” in late 1972, the album in which Wonder “hit his stride”.
His classic 1970s albums were very influential on the music world: the 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide said they, “pioneered stylistic approaches that helped to determine the shape of pop music for the next decade”; Rolling Stone’s 2003 list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time included four of the five albums, with three in the top 90; and in 2005, good old Kanye West said of his own work, “I’m not trying to compete with what’s out there now. I’m really trying to compete with “Innervisions” and “Songs in the Key of Life”. It sounds musically blasphemous to say something like that, but why not set that as your bar?”
“Innervision” is ranked No. 23 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. A prominent figure in popular music during the latter half of the 20th century, Stevie Wonder has recorded more than 30 U.S. top ten hits and won 25 Grammy Awards (the most ever won by a solo artist) as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also won an Academy Award for Best Song, and been inducted into both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters halls of fame. He has also been awarded the Polar Music Prize. American music magazine Rolling Stone named him the ninth greatest singer of all time.
In all he has had ten U.S. number-one hits on the pop charts as well as 20 R&B number one hits, and has sold over 100 million records, 19.5 million of which are albums; he is one of the top 60 best-selling music artists with combined sales of singles and albums. Stevie Wonder plays the piano, synthesizer, harmonica, congas, drums, bongos, organ, melodica and Clavinet. In his childhood, he was best known for his harmonica work, but today he is better known for his keyboard skills and vocal ability. Wonder was the first Motown artist and second African-American musician to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song, which he won for his 1984 hit single “I Just Called to Say I Love You” from the movie “The Woman in Red”.
I believe Stevie Wonder is a musical genius and one of the greatest musical talents of all time, which is why I was so proud to meet him at the World Music Awards in Monte Carlo in 1994 when I was performing as a dancer with 2Unlimited. We were having dinner after the Awards ceremony in Prince Albert’s Palace dining room when someone from Stevie’s table came over to the 2unlimited table and said Stevie would like to meet us. We were all gob-smacked.
Stevie Wonder was the entire table’s hero and he wanted to meet us. Apparently because he is blind and couldn’t look around the room Stevie liked people to come to his table so he could feel their faces and speak to him, so he could capture the vibe of everybody who was in the room. I am telling you there have not been many more surreal moments in my life than Stevie Wonder touching my face at a dinner full of stars in Prince Albert of Monaco’s palace dining room!
Stevie Wonder’s vision and everything has become is far greater than most people who have full sight. He was introduced to Transcendental Meditation through his marriage to Syreeta Wright. Consiostent with that spiritual vision, Wonder became vegetarain then vegan and still practices veganism enthusiastically, and sang about it on The Late Late Show with James Corden during the show’s very popular and funny “Carpool Karaoke” segment. The moment when he used James Corden’s phone to call Jame’s wife and sing “I Just Called To Say I Love You” is classic.
Have a super Saturday peeps and a wonderful weekend
I am off to Notting Hill take my BarreToned teaching exam.
Breathe, Believe and Achieve
Be Happy, Healthy and Wise
Keep on Winning, Smiling and Living the Dream
Founder of Beyond Lifestyle Secrets
Author of Celebrity Training Secrets