Who is Stevie Wonder?
Stevland Hardaway Judkins – later Morris, now his legal name – was born on 13 May 1950, in Saginaw, Michigan USA, and performing under the stage name Stevie Wonder, is a singer, record producer, musician, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. He is considered one of the most critically and commercially successful music performers of the late 20th century, having begun his career at 11 years old with Motown. Some of his most popular singles include “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours”, “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”, and “Sir Duke”.
The Net Worth of Stevie Wonder
How rich is Stevie Wonder? As of early-2019, sources inform us of a net worth that is at $110 million, earned through a successful career in the music industry. He’s sold over 100 million albums worldwide, and has received 25 Grammy Awards during his career. As he continues his endeavors, it is expected that his wealth will also continue to increase.
Early Life and Career Beginnings
Stevie was born the third of six children to his mother, songwriter Lula Mae Hardaway, and Calvin Judkins. He was born six months premature and while he was in an incubator, he got the condition ROP or retinopathy of prematurity which caused his retinas to detach and the growth of his eyes to abort, and became blind as a result. At four years of age, his parents divorced, leading him to move with his mother to Detroit.
As a child he sang in a choir and began playing instruments at an early age too, quickly learning how to play the piano, drums, and harmonica, then forming a singing duo with a friend. They performed during parties as well as street corners. In 1961, he sang his own composition to Ronnie White and this led to an audition at Motown, and he was quickly signed to Motown’s Tamia label, and given the name Little Stevie Wonder due to his age and apparent disability.
Rise in the Music Industry
Wonder had a contract which had him gaining royalties, and which due to his age were held in a trust fund until he was 21 – he was only paid a weekly stipend to cover expenses and a private tutor with him while he was on tour. He worked on two albums with songwriter Clarence Paul including “Tribute to Uncle Ray” which was mainly covers of Ray Charles Songs., and then released “The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie” which met with little success.
In 1962, he began touring across America with the Motortown Revue, in locations that accepted black artists. His single “Fingertips” – released as a part of “Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius” – was a hit, making the top of the Billboard Hot 100 the following year, the youngest artist to ever top the charts. However, his next recordings wasn’t successful, and his attempt at film work also met with little success. At this time ‘Little’ was removed from his name.
“This ain’t no joke! You gotta get out and vote!” pic.twitter.com/4a6rro7XrB
— Stevie Wonder (@StevieWonder) November 5, 2018
Stevie subsequently had various hits during the 1960s, including a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin in the Wind”. He also started composing his own songs, and songs for his label mates. Some of his successful singles of this period include “I Was Made to Love Her’, and “For Once In My Life”. He then worked with Syreeta Wright for his album “Where I’m Coming From” in 1970, but it failed, being compared unfavourably with Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”.
His next contract with Motown records allowed him a much higher royalty rate, and he released the album “Talking Book” which contained the number one hit “Superstition” along with “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”. He toured with The Rolling Stones, and the collaboration was also a factor in determining the success of his singles. His releases continued throughout much of the 1970s, including “Innervisions”, and in 1975 he won two consecutive Grammy Awards at the age of 25. His album “Songs in the Key of Life” reached the top of the Billboard charts and is considered his crowning achievement.
"Stevie has set new benchmarks of artistry throughout his career: the youngest to have a No. 1 album, the first American…
In the 1980s, Stevie gained the highest level of fame, and was enjoying increased album sales for most of his work. He released his first platinum selling album “Hotter than July”, and also continued to release singles over this period of time, including the hit “Part-Time Lover”. He did a duet with Bruce Springsteen for African Famine Relief entitled “We Are the World” and also collaborated on Michael Jackson’s album called “Bad”. He became a significant personality in the fight against racism too
In the 1990s, he continued to release material though at a slower pace, and to perform live during various events such as the 1996 Summer Olympics closing ceremony in Atlanta. Into the 21st century, he continues to perform and record. He’s made numerous guest performances and released the album “A Time to Love” in 2005. He also performed at the pre-game show for Super Bowl XL, and for the Obama Inaugural Celebration. His latest album only received lukewarm reviews, as it only copied most of his musical style from his period of success. While he continues to be featured in the albums of other artists, as of 2019 it has been reported that he is working on material for two new albums.
Wonder has married three times, firstly to collaborator Syreeta Wright whom he worked with frequently at the time, from 1970 up to 1972. His next marriage was in 2001 to fashion designer Kai Millard and the two stayed together for 11 years until their divorce; according to reports, the two already separated in 2009. Since 2017, he has been married to Tomeeka Bracy. He has nine children by five different women.