Stevie Wonder, who is regarded as a child prodigy and has 22 Grammy awards to his credit, is one of the most influential musicians currently performing, and his legacy is nothing short of legendary.
The employment of synthesizers by Wonder, a musical innovator, had a significant impact on R&B as a genre.
He has since been a source of inspiration for musicians of various genres. Despite being born blind, Wonder never allowed that to stop him from finding solace and expression in music.
Is Stevie Wonder Blind?
Stevie Wonder was born prematurely and kept in an incubator with too much oxygen, which led to his blindness, which he has had since he was six weeks old.
Retinopathy of Prematurity, a condition that affects infants that weigh 2.75 pounds or less and are born before 31 weeks of gestation, is the result of this.
The condition prevents eye growth, which leads to the detachment of a baby’s retinas. In severe situations, like Wonder’s disease, the eyes are rendered blind because they are not connected to the retinas.
Only eight years before Stevie Wonder was born, in 1942, the condition known as retinopathy of prematurity was first identified. On May 13th, in Saginaw, Michigan, he was born six weeks early.
Retinopathy of Prematurity is not usually associated with blindness in young children. Retinopathy of Prematurity affects 400 to 600 infants in the United States each year, with just 10% of cases requiring medical attention. These infants are legally blind.
Many people were astounded by Stevie Wonder’s ability to play the piano and harmonica despite being blind. Despite Wonder being legally blind, his musical talent has given rise to theories regarding how functional his eyes actually are.
Some people frequently start to wonder about blind people’s disability when they are capable of performing tasks with high skill. Many blind individuals, however, find it insulting when sighted people minimize their entire life experiences simply because they have worked hard to become experts in a particular field.
Stevie Wonder has been demonstrating for generations what the power of music and a love of music can do, even many who doubt if he is “truly” blind.
How Did Stevie Wonder Lose His Eyesight?
Lula Mae Hardaway and Calvin Judkins welcomed Stevland Hardaway Judkins into the world on May 13, 1950 in Saginaw, Michigan. Wonder had to be placed in an incubator because she was born six weeks early. Because of the elevated oxygen levels, Wonder developed retinopathy of prematurity, which is a condition.
Retinopathy of Prematurity, also known as ROP, is a condition in which the retinas become detached and the eyes’ growth halt, leading to blindness. When aberrant blood vessels penetrate the retina, this occurs.
Because the aberrant blood vessels are weak and prone to leaking, the retina may become displaced as a result. Wonder discussed his illness in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. “I was too soon.
My doctor gave me too much oxygen since he didn’t know what is now known about the ideal dosage, which caused damage to part of my eyes. In fact, a girl who was born a minute before me passed away. That much oxygen was too much for her “He clarified.
Wonder acknowledged the error was made in good faith and denied feeling resentful of the doctor. When questioned if he was angry, he responded, “No.
“When I once visited the hospital where I was born in Saginaw, Michigan, there was a large celebration and they awarded me a special honor. People might have been afraid that I would sue that doctor. He didn’t mean to hurt me though.” Wonder threw in.
Additionally, he described how much his mother meant to him, noting that we once urged her not to be concerned about his blindness because he was happy. “The fact that my mother was constantly crying upset me. She believed that God might be punishing her “He explained why he gave her comfort by saying.
“She lived at a time when conditions for women in her situation were exceptionally challenging. I used to say that I wanted to pass away alongside my mother if something happened to her. Because I adored her so much, that is. I want to live so that I can embody the kindness and goodness mom has taught me “Added he.
- How Many Frames Per Second Can the Human Eye See?
- Does Hobby Lobby Take Apple Pay?
- Top 5 Tips for Finding a Job You Will Love
- Is Carol Burnett Still Alive?
- What’s the Difference Between Google and Google Chrome?
How Does He Play Music?
Despite being blind, Wonder’s love of music grew from a young age. According to Smooth Radio, Wonder started learning how to play the harmonica at the age of five. He first picked up the drums at age eight. He achieved this by turning on the radio, then imitating the beat on any available surface.
He mastered the piano, harp, and drums by the time he was ten years old. Wonder started his musical career when he was still fairly young, as evidenced by the fact that he wrote and sang “Lonely Boy” for Ronnie White of the Miracles.
Berry Gordy, the CEO of Motown, spotted the 11-year-promise old’s and requested an audition from White. Gordy then signed the boy to Motown’s Tamla label. Little Stevie Wonder is the moniker given to him by producer Clarence Paul.
Under Paul, Wonder released two albums: “Tribute to Uncle Ray,” which featured Ray Charles covers, and “The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie,” which featured Paul’s instrumental compositions as well as two more songs Wonder and he co-wrote, “Wondering” and “Session Number 112.”
Changing the World Around Him
Stevie Wonder has been aware of the obligations associated with the platform he has been given since he was a young adult. He aspires to have a constructive influence on the world since he is aware of the profound change he can bring about.
Stevie Wonder started organizing and performing for charitable singles in the 1980s, including We Are the World and That’s What Friends Are For. All kinds of musicians would collaborate on charity singles to write songs that would generate money and awareness for various causes.
Famine relief efforts were supported by We Are the World, while AIDS awareness was promoted by That’s What Friends Are For. Wonder has also used his music to promote many social causes, as as the time he dedicated the Oscar-winning song The Woman in Red to Nelson Mandela.
At the TransAfrican Forum in 1995, Stevie Wonder received the Nelson Mandela Courage Award. President Barack Obama also presented Wonder with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest distinction a citizen of the United States can receive, and the Gershwin Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Stevie Wonder, at his advanced age, still works to improve the lives of those with disabilities and those who are told they cannot accomplish something because of a condition.
Making His Name as a Songwriter
Stevie Wonder quickly demonstrated during his career that he was equally adept at writing music as he was at performing. Wonder started working on his own songs and tunes that he would later provide to other musicians to perform early in his career.
Smokey Robinson’s The Tears of a Clown was one of the first songs Stevie Wonder composed for another artist that went viral. While Stevie Wonder, then 16 years old, wrote the song’s instrumental portion, Robinson came up with the song’s words.
Different renditions of songs that Wonder had kept for himself were among the songs he gave to other musicians. The best examples of this are the popular songs It’s a Shame by The Spinners and Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours) by Wonder.
Although the melodies of the two songs are similar, they have different focal points. Wonder concentrates on his voice and the bass line while also having a more upbeat rhythm for Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours). The rhythm of It’s a Shame is mellower and concentrates more on the guitar.
The vocals on the song were altered by The Spinners in their own unique way. Both songs keep the prominent bass line that powers them both. Together with Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder co-wrote the 1967 song Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do).
The actual release of this song never happened, though. For the band Rufus, he would subsequently pen the song Tell Me Something Good. Stevie Wonder tried out Funk music with this tune.
His love song Lovin’ You, sung by Minnie Riperton, reached the top of the pop and R&B music charts. Wonder’s career as a songwriter would begin in the 1980s by penning songs for Michael Jackson and Jermaine.