Stevie Wonder is a musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer who is widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Working in the R&B, funk, soul and pop genres Wonder has had both commercial and critical success, selling over 100 million records world wide while winning over 25 Grammy Awards. After beginning his professional career in Motown at the young age of 11, Wonder grew into an innovative artist in the 1970s. His albums pioneered the use of synthesizers in R&B and created a string of hits including "Superstition,", "You are the Sunshine of My Life," and "Higher Ground." Wonder continued his success in the 1980s with songs like "Part-time Lover" and collaborations with Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and others. He continues to record and perform, often working with other artists. In addition to his successful music career, Wonder is also known for his activism and philanthropy, including his efforts to promote education, civil rights, and other social causes. In 2009, he was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace, and in 2014, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Stevie Wonder Wonder has been inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame. Stevie Wonder's 1980 song "Happy Birthday" was a part of the campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national holiday. Stevie Wonder's 1976 song "Pastime Paradise" is the basis for Coolio's hit "Gansta's Paradise."
Stevie Wonder was born Stevland Hardaway Judkins in 1950 in Saginaw, Michigan, the third of five siblings. He was born 6 weeks premature and complications likely resulted in his blindness. At age 4 Stevie moved with his family to Detroit. He began singing in the church and soon revealed himself to be a musical prodigy, mastering the piano, harmonica and drums by age 9. In 1961 he auditioned with Berry Gordy at Motown Records who immediately signed him, renaming him Little Stevie Wonder. Working with Gordy, Wonder released two albums in 1962 and then, in 1963, had a hit with the album "The 12 Year Old Genius", making him the youngest person to achieve a number 1 album on the Billboard chart. When his voice began to change Wonder took a break and studied classical piano at the Michigan School for the Blind. When he returned to recording he dropped the "Little" and emerged as the more mature artist, Stevie Wonder.