Stevie Wonder (born May 13, 1950) is an American soul singer originally from Saginaw, Michigan. At eleven years old, he began recording (under the name Little Stevie Wonder) and quickly became known as one of the most influential and innovative singer/songwriters of his time.
Stevie Wonder was also one of the most critically successful artists with the powerful Motown label. Over time, Wonder, like an increasing number of soul and R&B artists, began singing with a new social consciousness, perhaps best reflected by his hit version of "Blowin' in the Wind" (Bob Dylan). He also became known as a songwriter, writing for The Spinners and Smokey Robinson, among other Motown artists.
Wonder left Motown in 1971 and recorded two albums which he used as a bargaining
tool while negotiating with Motown. Eventually, the label agreed to his demands
for full creative control and the rights to his own songs. The two albums, Where
I'm Coming From and Music of My Mind, are classics of the era. This is
especially true of Music of My Mind, which was more than the typical collection
of singles and was an actual LP, full-length artistic statement. Talking Book
and Innervisions continued Wonder's critical and popular acclaim, addressing
more and more political issues as his music progressed. This continued on
Fulfillingness' First Finale (1974) and his magnum opus, Songs in the Key of
Stevie Wonder's next album was the confusing and progressive Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants. The album was panned at the time of its release but has come to be regarded as a classic album, though generally considered inferior to most of his other work. Hotter Than July (1980) was simpler, and well received, becoming Wonder's first platinum selling album. Since 1980, Wonder has continued to release singles and albums, however, he has not sustained the level of critical acclaim and mass popularity he once had. Wonder received Kennedy Center Honors in 1999.
Stevie Wonder's track Superstition is one of the most distinctive examples of the sound of the Clavinet.
In March 2006, Stevie Wonder received new national exposure on the top-rated American Idol television program. Each of 12 contestants were required to sing one of his songs, after having met and received guidance from him. (Some of the contestants idolized Wonder, while others showed little familiarity with his work.) Wonder also performed "My Love Is On Fire" live on the show itself.
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