Within just a few years of its establishment, Motown, a Detroit-based music company, forever changed the history of American music culture. It had more hits than any other record label of that time, a true testament to its wide-spread impact on the pop culture scene of the era. With its soulful sounds and heartfelt vocals, Motown music continues to garner the admiration of millions of fans, including Tunde Folawiyo and countless others. Among the most famed of Motown artists is the revered Stevie Wonder, who over the years overcame physical disabilities to become one of the most distinguished musical talents in the world.
Born in Saginaw, Michigan, on May 13, 1950, Stevie Wonder moved to Detroit at an early age. Blind from birth, Stevie refused to let his disability hinder him, enjoying normal childhood activities before eventually being discovered for his outstanding musical talents. Bonnie White of Smokey Robinson’s musical group The Miracles is among the first to witness Stevie’s gift for sound. He introduced Stevie to Berry Gordy at Motown Records, who signed him to the growing label in 1961.
“Fingertips, Part 2,” released in 1963, was Stevie’s first number one record and the first of a string of hits that dominated the charts of the 1960s. It was after this decade that Little Stevie Wonder transitioned from a young star to a mature, renowned artist demonstrating tremendous musical ability beyond his years.
Once Stevie reached the age of 21, a newfound freedom was thrust upon him, allowing him much control over his musical direction. He recorded several albums throughout the 1970′s, with many, particularly Talking Book, Innervisions, Fulfillingness First Finale and Songs in the Key of Life garnering outstanding success, leading to 15 Grammy Awards for the young songwriter, skyrocketing him to world-wide fame and admiration.
Throughout his long-standing career, Stevie Wonder has achieved many successes solidifying his place as one of the most influential African American artists on the planet. During the 1980s, his production of the Hotter Than July album was used to launch his campaign to have Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s January 15 birthday declared a U.S. national holiday. In 1984, this goal came to fruition as President Ronald Reagan announced that every third Monday of each January be nationally recognised as Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Many professional successes for Stevie Wonder followed, further validating his immense impact on the world of music. With his phenomenal talent at the forefront of his life story, Stevie Wonder continues to inspire millions of fans of Motown music, including Tunde Folawiyo and countless others throughout the world.