Addressing conference at Salvador, Brazil 12 July 2006, photo via Agencia Brasil
Born: 13 May 1950, Saginaw, Michigan
Born six weeks premature, he was named Stevland Hardaway Judkins. Blood vessels in his eyes had not developed sufficiently and his retinas were detached, the medical term is retinopathy of prematurity. At age four his mother left his father, taking her children to Detroit and soon changed her children's surname to Morris. The blind child took to music, learning to play the piano at age four and becoming proficient with harmonica, drums, and bass as well. At eleven he was introduced to Berry Gordy, CEO of Motown Records, who signed him to the Tamla label as "Little Stevie Wonder". His first major hit came two years later, "Fingertips (Pt. 2)", the year after that he appeared in two films. By mid decade he had dropped "Little" from his name and was charting regularly as well as writing songs performed by other Motown artists. When he turned 21 he let his Motown contract lapse and recorded his next two albums independently, giving him the bargaining power to demand full artistic control and the rights to his own songs when he came back to Tamla, both elements that had never before been in a Motown contract. It also got him a higher royalty rate, the contract pleased him enough that he still records on the Tamla label today. He was in an automobile accident in 1973 which left him in a coma for four days and left him with a permanent loss of some of his sense of smell and taste, but recovered and was performing again in six months. In 1980 he campaigned to make Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday a national holiday. He continues to perform, including the pre-game show for the 2006 Super Bowl and the closing ceremonies of the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He has had over 30 singles in the top ten, has won 22 Grammy Awards (the most by a male solo artist), and was named a UN Messenger of Peace.
Additional quotes from Wikiquote. Wikiquote entries are "sourced" and may include items longer than those included here, particularly for poets, lyricists, and dramatists.
Stevie Wonder quotes:
Click here to find books by Stevie Wonder at Amazon.com
- Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there. permalink
- Among all the wonderful things we have, we don't seem to have a time to love. And to me that's the fuel, that's the fuel we need to make the engine go. permalink
- Eyes lie if you ever look into them for the character of the person. permalink
- I really do seek to create music that is timeless.... Each project takes on its own life, and the songs from A Time To Love are the most appropriate for the statement I wanted to make. permalink
- I think that to a great degree, reggae companies have become very corporate and so maybe some don't have that freedom to say whatever they want to say. permalink
- If you don't ask, you don't get. permalink
- It's my new single — please buy it so we can get Christmas gifts for the kids this year. permalink
- Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn't mean he lacks vision. permalink
- Let us come together before we're annihilated. permalink
- Life has meaning only in the struggle. Triumph or defeat is in the hands of the gods. So let us celebrate the struggle! permalink
- Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love. permalink
- Many years ago, but not so long ago, there were those who said, 'Well, you have three strikes against you: You're Black, you're blind and you're poor.' But God said to me, 'I will make you rich in the spirit of inspiration, to inspire others as well as create music to encourage the world to a place of oneness and hope and positivity.' I believed Him and not them. permalink
Accepting honorary Doctor of Music degree at University of Alabama at Birmingham (1996)
- Minds ripen at very different ages. permalink
- My mother would cry about my blindness and the hopelessness of my ever seeing, but I told her I wasn't sad. I believed God had something for me to do. permalink
- Of all the needs that we have right now, more than anything we need a time for love. permalink
Please report any problems on this page! If you see any typos, incorrect attributions, deformed characters, or any other problem with this page, we want to fix it as soon
as possible. Please click here to report errors.
Note: Do not use titles in author searches, we don't use them, including president, senator, prime minister, king, queen, saint, or doctor, or abbreviations thereof. See explanation here.