Stevland Hardaway Morris (born May 13, 1950 as Stevland Hardaway Judkins), known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American musician, singer-songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. A child prodigy, he has become one of the most creative and loved musical performers of the late 20th century. Wonder signed with Motown’s Tamla label at the age of eleven and continues to perform and record for Motown as of the early 2010s. He has been blind since shortly after birth.
Among Wonder’s works are singles such as “Superstition”, “Sir Duke”, “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You”; and albums such as Talking Book, Innervisions and Songs in the Key of Life. He has recorded more than thirty U.S. top ten hits and received twenty-two 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. Wonder is also noted for his work as an activist for political causes, including his 1980 campaign to make Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a holiday in the United States. In 2009, Wonder was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart’s fiftieth anniversary, with Wonder at number five.
Stevie Wonder was born in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1950, the third of six children to Calvin Judkins and Lula Mae Hardaway. He 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. When Stevie Wonder was four, his mother left his father and moved to Detroit with her children. She changed her name back to Lula Hardaway and later changed her son’s surname to Morris, partly because of relatives. Wonder has retained Morris as his legal surname. Wonder began playing instruments at an early age, including piano, harmonica, drums and bass. He formed a singing partnership with a friend; calling themselves Stevie and John, they played on street corners, and occasionally at parties and dances.