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Stevie Wonder Biography Essay

1628 words - 7 pages

Stevie Wonder is a world renowned American icon and an indisputable genius not only of R&B but popular music in general. Blind virtually since birth, Wonder's heightened awareness of sound helped him create vibrant, colorful music filled with life and excitement. At a young age, Wonder demonstrated amazing talent on any instrument put in front of him. Stevie Wonder is an indisputable music phenomenon that has influenced many contemporary for generatrions.Steveland Morris Judkins was born at St. Mary's Hospital on May 13, 1950, in Saginaw Michigan, to parents Calvin and Lula Mae Judkins. Steveland was born four months premature and was placed in an incubator where he received oxygen. At that time, no one knew that high doses of oxygen could potentially ruin a newborn baby's eyes. By the time Wonder was allowed to leave the hospital, he was totally blind.Stevie had a great childhood. Thanks to his five brothers, Stevie was taught to run, climb trees and ride a bike if someone else steered. "I always have loved my mother for giving me that independence," he recalled in the book Stevie Wonder, by John Swenson. "She let me feel the breeze of riding a bicycle" (page 13).Stevie had a true gift for music but due to financial circumstances, his family could not afford instruments so he started out on pots and pans at the age of two. When he was four, a neighbor gave him a piano which he immediately started learning how to play. He also enjoyed playing the drums and beat several toy drum sets to their end, until the local Lions Club gave him a real drum set for Christmas one year. Even though he was seen as a talented young boy, it wasn't until his uncle gave him a harmonica that Stevie showed his true potential as a musician. Wonder mastered the harmonica almost overnight!At the age of seven Stevie and the other children went to live with their mother in Detroit, Michigan. Lula saw it a necessary move due to the fact that Wonder's father Calvin, was physically and verbally abusive to them. In Detroit, Stevie attended Michigan's School for the Blind. He went to school at a time when the country was divided on civil rights in the late fifties and sixties. Aside from learning required material and learning how to cope with his blindness, Stevie also learned about racial and economic differences. To the people at the time, it must've seemed unimaginable that a poor, blind and black young boy would ever amount to anything, much less become a music legend. "People at school told me I couldn't make it, that I'd end up making potholders or at best be a piano tuner" said Stevie. "But after I thought I wanted to be a musician, I became determined simply to prove those people wrong" (Elsner, page 26).While in Detroit, Stevie sang in a local church choir and soon after became the church soloist when he was nine. After being caught singing rock and roll, Stevie was expelled from the choir. This however, did not stop Stevie from singing and playing his instruments....

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