This Day in Black History: May 13, 1950

Stevie Wonder

This Day in Black History: May 13, 1950

Legendary singer, songwriter and composer Stevie Wonder was born in Saginaw, Michigan.

Published May 13, 2014

Legendary performer Stevie Wonder was born Stevland Hardaway Judkins on May 13, 1950, in Saginaw, Michigan. Although he lost his eyesight shortly after birth, Wonder went on to become one of the most celebrated African-American musical performers to date. He has won 22 Grammy Awards over the span of his career — more than any male solo artist.

Wonder gained his stage name from the extraordinary talent he displayed at such a young age. His family moved to Detroit, when he was four years old and Wonder began to sing in the church choir. At the ripe age of 11, Wonder signed to Motown and by the age of 13 he had his first hit with the 1963 tune "Fingertips (Pt. 2)."

During the 1970s, he struggled with transitioning from child prodigy to an adult male solo artist. But a newly negotiated contract with Motown — allowing him more artistic control — paved the way for him to shine as an adult star. In that decade alone, Wonder won an outstanding 15 Grammy Awards.

Some of his biggest hits include the songs "My Cherie Amour," "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" and "I Just Called to Say I Love You.” In 1989, Wonder was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2009, President Barack Obama awarded Wonder with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Wonder is also expected to release two new albums, When the World Began and Ten Billion Hearts, this year.

Follow Dominique Zonyeé on Twitter: @DominiqueZonyee

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(Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Written by Naeesa Aziz and Dominique Zonyeé


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