Stevie Wonder’s career has spanned over six decades, during which time he has released dozens of albums and written hundreds of songs. His immense catalogue of work includes hit singles such as “Superstition”, “Isn’t She Lovely”, and “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”.
As a musician, Stevie Wonder is renowned for his innovative approach to songwriting, and his influence on the music industry has been profound.
One of the most remarkable aspects of Stevie Wonder’s success is that he achieved it despite being legally blind since birth. He was born prematurely with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a condition where the blood vessels in the eyes fail to grow properly. This led to him developing glaucoma and cataracts, which caused irreparable damage to his vision.
However, despite his disability, Stevie Wonder has become an American music icon for seven key reasons:
1. His incredibly expansive discography:
Stevie Wonder has released over 30 studio albums, selling more than 100 million records worldwide. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time and is widely regarded as an innovator in the genres of soul, funk, jazz, and pop.
2. His pioneering use of technology:
As a blind artist, Wonder was particularly adept at using synthesizers and other musical technology to create unique sounds and textures. He often incorporated the latest innovations into his music, pushing boundaries and inspiring countless future musicians in the process.
3. His remarkable vocal range:
Despite his blindness, Wonder had perfect pitch, allowing him to easily transition between high notes and deep bass lines with ease. This allowed him to demonstrate his vocal range and create memorable musical hooks that resonated with listeners.
4. His ability to write chart-topping hits:
From the mid-1970s onwards, Stevie Wonder wrote a string of chart-topping singles, including “Superstition”, “Sir Duke” and “I Just Called To Say I Love You”. His compositions were often uplifting, inspiring multiple generations of music fans with their hopeful messages.
5. His political activism:
As well as writing catchy pop songs, Wonder used his platform to comment on social issues and champion civil rights causes. He often performed benefit concerts for charities and collaborated with singers from different backgrounds to promote peace and understanding.
6. His ability to collaborate with other musicians:
Throughout his career, Wonder has worked with a variety of different artists, from jazz musician Herbie Hancock to rock icon Paul McCartney. He shared the stage with some of the most influential singers in the world and often encouraged them to push their own creative boundaries.
7. His charismatic live performances:
Despite his visual impairment, Stevie Wonder was able to deliver incredible live performances that captivated audiences all over the globe. His on-stage charisma and enthusiasm for music won him legions of fans and helped elevate him to iconic status.
In short, Stevie Wonder’s extraordinary success is due in part to his hard work, musical talent, and sheer determination. He overcame all the obstacles of blindness to become an American music icon, inspiring countless musicians with his innovative approach to writing and performing. His legacy will no doubt continue to resonate with generations to come.